In January 2014, the ceramics team at 3D Systems was contacted by Kate Blacklock from Rhode Island School of Design, and let in on her idea to exhibit a show of 3D printed ceramic sculptures. Her vision was to bring together experienced artists of varying aesthetic approaches, who could each contribute something different and unexpected to the ceramic medium. Kate was intrigued by 3D Systems’ democratic approach to 3D printed ceramics, which enables anyone with an idea to create beautiful, decorative, or functional ceramic objects without any particular skills in ceramics. We have been pushing the boundaries of what defines art in the attempt to discover if art can be made with limited technical knowledge and skill.

Since her first contact, we have worked with Kate and the artists she assembled to create a range of groundbreaking and beautiful ceramic pieces that go beyond what was thought possible in ceramic art. These pieces were technically challenging and represent some of the largest objects we have produced in 3D printed ceramic.

For 3D Systems, this effort provided a great model for how to collaborate with artists and develop a business in fine art production. The collaboration allowed us to document and define the steps for an artist who wants to use 3D printing to expand their creative possibilities. The artists we worked with had no knowledge of CAD, our materials, 3D printing, or the firing and glazing processes.  But with the help of 3D modeling wizard Matthew Paquin, we developed a seamless process to transform the artists’ ideas and sketches into printable 3D models. Matthew’s abilities were a huge asset to the project and to establishing a process that allowed us to introduce these talented artists to the tremendous freedom enabled by 3D printing.

The results can be seen at the Chazan Gallery in HIfire RESolutions: 3D Printing in Clay, a group exhibition with works by Kate Blacklock (curator), Jonathan Bonner, Chris Gustin, Tayo Heuser and Andrew Raftery, from March 19- April 3, 2015, in Providence, Rhode Island.