Showing posts with label Ceramics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ceramics. Show all posts

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The local talent - Njalikwa Chongwe

I just thought it worth mentioning that here in Western Australia we have some very capable quiet achievers among us in the ceramic community such as Njalikwa Chongwe at Zinongo Pottery in South Fremantle.  

He makes and fires low fired Raku and high fired Stoneware ceramic pieces. He and his partner Jacqueline Rodrigues, set up the gallery 25 years ago.  He  makes beautiful colourful raku work with his own very distinctive palette and style and an online shop on his website.  He was a popular demonstrator at POTOBER 2013 put on by CAAWA and has a cool channel on YouTube.  
 Not everything happens in Fremantle but many of us are based near there.  Sandra Black and Njaliwke are in South Freo (yes we shorten the name of everything), Fleur Schell is in North Freo - (with some really exciting opportunities about to be announced soon), so is Alana McVeigh and I am just across the Swan River in East Freo.  Are there no ceramists in West Freo I hear you ponder?  Darl, if there are, they'll be pretty wet.  West Freo is THE INDIAN OCEAN and beautiful it is too (sharks aside).  See my new desktop image, by Peter Zuvela.   Image source Peter Zuvela , my fave photographer.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

3D PRINTING IN PERTH CIT, a continuing story.

Left an early trial 3D print in clay (unfired) , right, a plastic 'raft' printed by 3D printer

The blogging mojo has been absent in the past couple of weeks due to plain busyness, and yet, of course, so much has been going on in my world.  For one thing teaching at CIT ceramics department has been a wonderful challenge and I am loving being part of the place.  The students are a great bunch and often surprise themselves when they dredge up a previously unknown resourcefulness or ability to put into their clay work.  I loaded a kiln last week full of their handmade teapots and boxes, we are moving onto Wall Art now and making simple drop moulds to replicate their  forms with. 

Meanwhile Graham Hay continues with his residency at CIT and tweaks and twiddles with the 3D printer CIT recently purchased.  It came in kit form and took a while to build. I imagine a ready made one would have cost a lot more given how many man hours went into building it.  The 3D printer was designed to print with a low temperature meltable plastic, this is fed into the printer from what looks like a roll of cable – but the cable is in fact the plastic consumable it prints with. 

In normal parlance the concept of printing entails the laying down of an ‘ink’ of some kind onto a flat substrate – usually paper.  The ink sits on the substrate and dries whether it is a screen print or an inkjet or laserjet of text or images.  Sometimes an ink or paint is printed where we can see and feel the change in surface where the ink sits upon the surface. 

In the case of 3D we are printing but layer upon layer and building upwards from the horizontal plane into a 3D form instead of across a flat 2D surface. 

There were weeks of calibrating our 3D printer and once that was done the hard part now starts.  Now the development of a suitable clay body is underway, one that will pipe through the printer under gentle hydraulic pressure – there is a large pressurised air pump attached.  So as well as the 3D printer a source of compressed air plus a computer are required to make anything happen.  The printed/extruded/piped clay mustn’t be too liquid or it will flop and flow, but must be soft enough to extrude and sit upon itself to build up layer upon layer to create a 3D form. 

I am assuming that you dear reader are smart enough to ‘get it’ if I threw in some hi tech terminology, I am putting this all into my own ‘laymans terms’ to try to explain it. 

So the printed clay, think of a coil pot but the printer is placing the mini ‘coils’, has to hold itself up and take weight while the printer head moves around the form laying down the clay – as directed by the computer.  Personally I find this whole subject completely fascinating.  I love modern technology and materials and I literally lie in bed at night thinking of what the printer might make and what might make the perfect clay composition to work best.  

Here is a short clip of me asking Graham about the printer.

There have been lots of trials and observations of the result of each tweak and change.  Graham lays out the tangible evidence of each test print in sequence on the long table at his station in the ceramics area to be handled and noted, prompting enthusiastic interest and discussion. 

 More – as it happens! 

Now, although I have missed the Mud Colony deadline – let’s hop over there anyhow and see what the other clay bloggers have been doing.