3D printing might be seen as a “young” technology but actually it has been around for 30 years now. So it’s no surprise to see potter Jonathan Keep (1958) incorporate it in his process. It is thanks to his masterly skills with clay and his curiosity for innovation and passion for natural systems, patterns, and codes, that attracted me to focus this month’s designer pick on Keep.
This first time I have heard of Keep was via the project of Claire Warnier and Dries Verbruggen of Unfold. For the Jerusalem Design Week 2019 -themed EAST-, the duo tapped into the online network of ceramic 3D printers to create a line of makers around the world traveling from East to West. For their project, named Via Binarii, the teapot was the starting point. Like a chain letter, seven creative participants received the digital design from the person who lives East from them, and after appropriating it sent the design to the next maker West of them. Keep was one of the participating designers. He 3D printed a rather classical teapot (also top image), yet instead of adding the spout and handle to the vessel when ready, he 3D printed all the separate elements in one go and removed the unnecessary parts.
The inspiration for his 3D printed ceramic shapes comes from nature. In this Ant Series, Keep was inspired by swarm behavior and emergent properties. The forms are computer-generated, using the Perlin noise function or algorithm. These works are unglazed and the coloration is due to mixing the clay types in the printing process.
What you see here is a detail of the 3D printed Iceberg Series. In this series Keep was interested in how similar computer code could mimic natural structures, so a different and original object is created each time the code is run. The use of white porcelain is a deliberate choice, referring to the translucency of ice.
In the last 3D printed series, the Curve Series, Keep looked at the beauty of mathematics or the mechanics behind curves. In this series Keep selected well-known curve functions such as Rose curves, Lissajous curves and those used in Spirographs, coding them in Processing to get 3D forms and 3D printed them in clay.
Each of Tessa’s designer pick is a curated group of 3D printed designs or projects from one designer or design studio. If you would like to offer a designer or design studio for Tessa, or if you have your own 3D printed designs or projects you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest picks every week in your mailbox.