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Digital Coiling is a part of a continuous exploration for ceramicist Hilda Nilsson to map the possibilities of using a 3D-printer to create unique crafts objects. During her stay at Statens Værksteder Hilda has experimented with fluxing ceramic materials and computer generated textures exploring the controlled and uncontrolled.

Sep. 2019

The 3D-printing process contains of first carefully preparing the material, adding water to the raw clay to make it the right consistency for the 3D-printer and removing any inconsistencies or air bubbles. A tank is filled with the material and connected to the printer.

The 3D-drawing is prepared and converted to Gcode, a type of code the 3D-printer can read and added to a memory card in the printer. Air pressure is then connected to push the material through the nozzle and the machine builds the object layer by layer using a type of coiling technique. Speed and extrusion rate can be controlled depending on the consistency of the material. It is therefore a favourable tool to use for exploring and developing new material compounds. The technique also makes it possible to print three dimensional objects using a material that usually cannot be shaped by hand.

3D-printing with ceramic materials

Hilda worked with adding fluxing materials and experimenting with consistencies to map out the possibilities of 3D-printing with other ceramic materials than raw clay. Depending on how the material reacts to heat the objects will change shape and texture. It is a contrast between the strict machine-made geometrical shape and the will of the material. The project is reflecting on questions about traditional production methods, making things by hand, what 3D-printing contributes to the design and crafts field, and if there is such a thing as digital crafts at all.

Parts of the works produced at Statens Værksteder will be exhibited in a group exhibition at NCECA’s (The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) annual conference in Richmond, Virginia (US) in March 2020.