posts tagged with the keyword ‘art’



I stopped by the Bay View Printing Co recently to get some advice from Ashley Town about a project I’m working on. She was kind enough to give me a tour and show me some of the presses and other equipment, and I got to check out some of the type they have, including some of the wood type. which is just… beautiful.


They’re about half way to their goal with an Indiegogo campaign to raise some funds. Here’s the pitch from Ashley:

I’m raising funds to be able to offer classes, workshops and open studio time focused on the art of letterpress printing and to transform a portion of the current space into a community gallery. The vision is to transform this Bay View institution into a creative hub for artists, designers, writers and letterpress novices and enthusiasts.

I personally think this place is a great addition to Milwaukee’s creative community, and would love to see it get fully funded.


And hey, who else uses the hashtag #drinkandink? Check out the rest of the photos and their campaign video below.





Wood & Lead Type!


What is Digital Fabrication and Design?

The first artist we had visit UWM for this year’s Artist Now! talks was Charles Beneke. His work tends to be in the areas of print-making and multi-media, but he did mention that he’s used laser cutters for some of his work.

Here’s part of his talk where he mentions using laser cut pieces:

Charles seemed to indicate that the laser cutter was just a way for him to speed up production. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this from an artist. Many artists seem to look for ways to make their current process easier, or faster, or both. Instead of cutting things by hand, they want a machine to cut them. Most of these artists don’t seem to view the laser cutter as a unique and primary tool to create work, but just a more advanced method of what they’d do anyway, with their own hands and a sharp blade.

Charles Beneke

In most cases though, these artists (and designers) are digitally designing things, and then using CNC machines to do at least a part of the production process, though I’m not sure any would say that they are working in the area of Digital Fabrication and Design.

(Previously: Part II, Part I)


Havey Moon's Drawing Machine 1

Harvey Moon‘s been at this longer than I have, and he’s been an influence for years. This video is excellent, and says much of what I’ve been thinking about recently.

One of things I’ve said about my own drawing robots is that the “performance” they create while functioning is a part of the art.

From Harvey:

“When I show this machine it’s a performance. It’s the machine performing and generating the work, and that to me is the art.

Are the drawings the art, or a by-product of the performance, or documentation of the performance?

I’m also focusing on the design of the robots. This is the ‘Digital Fabrication and Design’ side of things. The robots are objects. I create them by using software to designing them, and then using CNC machines to create the various pieces, and then assembling them.

There’s sort of a lot going on, I just need to organize it all.



While researching art robots, I stumbled upon Laura Lippincott‘s Neko, a painting bot.

Laura describes herself as such: “I’m an artist that teaches robots to paint. And the robots teach me to paint, it’s symbiotic.” (Well said!)

There’s some background info on Neko, and she’s also got a blog at That’s actually how I found out about Laura and Neko, as she had a link to my Arc-O-Matic project in a post.


Many of the old photos look similar to my early revisions of my rolling drawbots. There’s an element of being made by hand, and sort of hacked together with hot glue and zip ties. People have actually responded to this aesthetic in my own work quite positively, even now as I’m headed more towards refining a design that moves away from that look. (I can’t help it, I also love designing objects, and creating digital files that can be shared.)


I’ve been (sort of) challenged to introduce paint as a medium to my rolling draw bots. It’s something I’m considering, though it does have its own set of challenges, as a mobile robot doesn’t have the same properties as an arm. Still, I like challenges…


Laura managed to successfully fund a Kickstarter campaign for Neko last year. (I won’t deny I’ve considered doing a campaign to extend the reach of what I’m doing with my drawbots, though I’m also considering other options for expansion.)

While there’s multiple web sites to learn about Neko and the work Laura is doing, there’s also an occasional video on YouTube. Here’s one from summer 2014 showing Neko at work.

This is great stuff, and I’m learning that there’s a lot of information out there on “art robots”, and I’ll do what I can with the little free time I have to read up on other projects and artists. Feel free to drop me a line if there’s something I should see.


What is Digital Fabrication and Design?

In our last post we talked a little bit about what Digital Fabrication and Design is, or might be. This time we’re going to look at a specific example which should make us question what Digital Fabrication and Design should encompass.

I talked to a colleague of mine at UWM, a Grad Student named Broc Toft, about how he used digital tools to design something that he eventually made by hand. He described this as “Digitally Crafting to Manually Making” and provided me with some images and text to describe his process.

Broc's Design
The model was created in Rhino.

Broc's Design
I then used “Unroll Developable Srf” function to get surfaces. (I then printed it out on paper to use as a template.)

Broc's Design
This is the MDF cut using the templates. (Note: The MDF was manually cut. If I had used a CNC machine to cut it I would have had to modeled the chamfer to deal with the angles.)

Broc's Design
I then assembled and polyurethaned the model.

Broc's Design
In coddle form, ready for plaster.

Broc's Design
After the plaster was poured.

Broc's Design
The finished plaster mold.

Broc's Design
The ceramic positive that came out of mold.

Broc's Design
The end result; 21 of them used with projection mapping. (You can also see a video of the installation.)

So there’s a lot of things done by hand, and while “Digital Fabrication” wasn’t used, “Digital Design” was, at least to create the original form, and to assist in creating a template. One of the interesting aspects is that if Broc had been making a number of these forms using MDF or some other easily machinable material, using a CNC machine to create them would make more sense, but with just one needed to used to create a mold, perhaps making it by hand was the right option. Broc also noted that someone much more skilled in Digital Fabrication may have been able to CNC the whole thing and avoided doing things by hand. (My own thought is, do what works to get things done!)

While writing this post I also came across this Instructable titled Digital Fabrication By Hand, which demonstrates the same idea.

(Previously: Part I)

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