Archive for the 'teaching learning' Category

craft and design experience in Canberra for Vicki Halper

Below you can find a list of craft & design organisations and individuals relating to the Canberra part of the visit to Australia by Vicki Halper a USA based Smithsonian Senior Fellow.

Robert Foster, Vicki Halper, Gilbert Riedelbauch and Catrina Vignando at GAD

Robert Foster, Vicki Halper, Gilbert Riedelbauch and Catrina Vignando at the Gallery of Australian Design

Her visit was made possible through funding from the Australia Council. Her dense Canberra itinerary reflects the surprisingly active and rich design scene in this city, however one has to know where to look or whom to contact to get a true sense of it.

Her visit coincided with a symposium about Design education at the Australian National University and the ‘City of Design’ talkfest at CraftACT. Vicki’s contribution to both events were very well received and stimulated informed discussions about important contemporary issues in the craft/design field. I am particularly grateful for the time she spend with our design arts students.

Craft Australia, Host organisation

School of Art, Australian National University

The following speakers presented at the ‘DesignPlan ACT‘ a discussion about design education:

National Gallery of Australia

CraftACT – craft and design centre

The following presented at the ‘City of Design’ talkfest at CraftACT:

Canberra Glassworks

  • Ann Jackle, Executive Director,
  • Clare Belfrage, Artistic Director

Gallery of Australian Design

Gallery and Workshop Bilk contemporary jewelery and glass & metal objects

Here are a few links to makers who were mentioned frequently:

and Gallery Metalab, Sydney

I tried my best to put this list together for Vicki. If you think I have forgotten someone she has met or should know, please let me know.

It was a great pleasure to meet and get to know Vicki during her stay in Canberra.


A post about a post

What goes round, comes round. I was surprised to find my post ‘True digital art on iPad by David Hockney‘ almost word for word as well as image for image re-posted and littered with advertising by ‘theproductjudge’. As this post was intended as a thank-you to David Hockney’s for his generosity, I am frustrated by this syndication, code for rip-off. Frustratingly they even ripped-off my title and achieved swiftly a much higher Google ranking.

David Hockney iPad drawings

David Hockney iPad drawings

However, my blog stats  suddenly increased as one of my images showing David Hockney’s drawings on iPads has gone up in Google’s ranking – number 4 if one searched ‘David Hockney iPad’ – due to this appropriation.

David Hockney iPad google hit 4th image

4th image on Google for David Hockney iPad

Similar to this but legit: Martyn Gayford wrote online about Hockney’s current exhibition of iPad drawings in Paris, days later this text was printed – ink on paper – in the ‘Canberra Times’ including the image of me with the iPads taken at an earlier event at ANU School of Art.

So, what ever is available can reappear in many forms. I just would have liked to been asked before someone uses my words and images (intellectual property) and tries to make a commercial gain.

Prezi, or no more powerpoint for me!

Recently I came across ‘Prezi’, a non-linear presentation tool. I am totally impressed by this simple and fun-to-use online software.
Its  easy to organise and present text, images and video’s in a fluent way that can convey complex topics.

'Home' view of Hockney 'Prezi'

One can ‘zoom’ to any point of the presentation and back without  a sense of breaking the presentation. I enjoyed its smooth moves and flexibility for this presentation about iPad drawings by David Hockney (link to post about these iPad drawings).

The only improvement I would like to suggest is better text editing eg more font options.

Best to check out Prezi for yourself here.

True digital art on iPad by David Hockney

This post is to thank David Hockney for making available two of his recent iPad drawings to my teaching program at the School of Art at the Australian National University.

David Hockney iPad drawings

David Hockney iPad drawings

We celebrated these impressive drawings, which are in every sense true digital art works, as part of Core Computer Studies lecture to our 1st year students and guests. I decided to display these works on two Apple iPads, the very platform/media they were created on.

Lelde, Gordon Bull (Head of School) and I

David Hockney drew them during his stay at Glyndebourne, a 700-year old country house and opera house in East Sussex, England. There he recreated the stage-set for the opera ‘The Rake’s Progress’ by Stravinsky . Looking closely at these drawings  one gets a sense of this location.  The drawings titled: ‘iPad 6 8 2010’ & ‘iPad 7 8 2010’ were sent as email attachments on 21 August 2010.

With David Hockney iPad drawings, photo Karleen Minney

With David Hockney iPad drawings, photo Karleen Minney

I like to thank Martin Gayford, critic for Bloomberg News, for kindly forwarding my emails to David Hockney. I also like to thank Tristan Peemoeller from MAC1, Greg Aldridge and Barbara McConchie for their support, to make the presentation of these works possible.

This event was picked up by the news, please read more here.

All you can do with materials

‘One can do only four things with material’, is my current theory I like to test with this post. Four steps apply to the majority of making processes and some aspects of these are shifting from the makers workbench to distributed digital fabrication online.

It is worthwhile to look at these shifts in more detail as the mastery of digital technologies is involved in defining contemporary craft practitioners as ‘Designer Makers’.

The four processes are:

Cutting – Forming – Fusing Finishing

About these categories:

Many materials used by makers are available in flat, like sheet metal, fabric, glass. Traditional cutting tools such as saws, scissors, blades are used on them, while at the same time digitally controlled cutting processes like laser & water-jet cutting or CNC plasma cutting are becoming more and more accessible. Digital processes influence most significantly the first category, cutting. Just about all flat materials can be ‘fashioned’ this way, allowing the maker to achieve repeatable precision parts countless times. These technologies are still very specialised and expensive usually out of reach of the individual maker. However a growing fabber network will bring these tools closer to the workshop of the individual maker.

The forming is still mostly in the hands of the crafts practitioner with digital 3 dimensional processes only on the periphery and used in niche applications. Once cut to size, many materials are traditionally formed through impact like the use of hammers or with the help of heat, steam or formed into and over molds. Rabid prototyping is a representing the digital fabrication for this category. For example in contemporary jewelery very detailed 3D wax or polymer prints are used to achieve –  once cast in metal – very unique results.

The third category, fusing, relies heavily on the skilled work of the maker and no influence of any digital technology in this category is evident. All crafts have developed processes of combining materials either two of the same kind or as a mix of different materials. Some are permanent while others can be separated again. These fusing processes include welding, gluing, riveting, stitching, bolting.

Finishing: the treatment of the works surface is typically one of the last steps in the making process, while adding significant value to the finished object, it is time consuming.  Many of the finishing processes are completed by hand. However an increasing number of digital and computer controlled processes are relevant to this category such as digital printing on fabric, laser engraving. Some of the finishing processes are mechanical or chemical and can include techniques such as engraving, polishing, printing, anodizing, lacquering.

Digital fabrication has without doubt much to offer for contemporary craft practice and over time will get more important for the contemporary designer maker. By becoming more accessible digital fabrication has the potential to contribute significantly across the entire making processes.

To integrate these technologies with traditional tools the maker has to add the required digital skills to the tool set as well. Just about all cutting processes I mentioned are based on the ability to generate vector based drawings. These would require a basic knowledge of a software such as Illustrator.

To address rapid prototyping processes, one has to master a CAD program first. Typically this requires a much steeper learning curve until one is able to create a well-formed 3D computer model. However non of these skills can’t be learned (or taught for that matter).

Together with an increasingly fast, accessible internet and more user friendly web 2 services, digital fabrication is ready to be explored creatively.

I wish I had known about this site earlier. The “Rare Book Room”.

Many of my posts share findings about two particular prints published in Albrecht Dürer’s 2nd edition of the Painters Manual 1538 (Unterweysung der Messung). In order to see these woodcuts in relation to their descriptive texts and their ‘context’ within the book, I had to travel to Melbourne, Nürnberg, Munich and Vienna.

I could have had a very good ‘preview’ of this book on the “Rare Book Room” site where a good quality, page by page, reproduction of the Manual is available.

On the intro page of this fantastic site it says: ‘The Rare Book Room site has been constructed as an educational site intended to allow the visitor to examine and read some of the great books of the world.’ And it is a pleasure to turn the pages of these special books.

You can see the two prints by Dürer I referred in some of my posts in the rare bookroom here:

The Draughtsman of the Lute and A draughtsman drawing a reclining woman.

My blogs about the ‘Lute’ print are:
‘Did Albrecht Dürer get it wrong, a surprise discovery in one of his prints’
‘Ist Albrecht Dürer ein Fehler unterlaufen eine überraschende Entdeckung in seinem Holzschnittes der Zeichner der Laute’
‘Further to Albrecht Dürer woodcut The draughtsman of the Lute’

My blogs about the ‘Reclining woman’ are:
‘A page out of Dürer’s own copy of the Painters Manual’
‘Male or Female? One of Dürer’s prints in the context of gender, feminism and other theories.’
‘Dürer lost in translation? German Klartext and English translation of one page of Dürer’s handwritten manuscript of his 2nd edition of the painters manual’

A page out of Albrecht Duerer’s own copy of the Painters Manual

I visited several print-rooms in Europe in April this year in the hope to find evidence in support of my theory of the ‘misaligned perspective’ . (see earlier blogs: ‘Blog 1 English version’ , ‘Blog 1 Deutsche Version’ , ‘Blog 2’). Using funds from the Carrick Award, I saw original versions of the wood cut of ‘Man drawing a lute’ at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (Nürnberg, Germany) and at the Albertina (Vienna, Austria) as well as high quality ‘Ektachrome’ slide at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (München, Germany) this slide held the biggest surprise for me, but more about this slide later.

In Nürnberg I was able to see a copy of the print in question as a single leaf (proof) and several (historic) books holding references to this print. In Vienna I got presented a copy of Dürer’s Manual which was cut at the margins and included also some drawings about medieval defense installations from an other book by Duerer. It was a special moment when these original Renaissance works were brought out of the vault and presented for close inspection.

Man drawing a Lute AD 1525

None of the works I saw at either location could provide me with any further inside about my theory. The senior curator at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Dr. Rainer Schoch, made me aware that the Bayerische Staatsbiliothek in München holds a copy of Dürer’s own copy of the 1525 Manual with handwritten comments and additions, an advice which let to very exciting new insides about this Manual.

My visits to Nürnberg and Vienna were prearranged so I could see the original artworks, however the visit to München was spontaneous with only a few hours to spend allowing not enough time to retrieve Duerer’s own copy of the Manual from the air conditioned vaults but I was able to sight an ‘Ektachrome’ reproduction of the page with ‘Man drawing a lute’. As this Ektachrome shows the book opened, two pages are visible. On the right side is the print of ‘Lute’ but the left page is covered by an inserted loose leaf with a hand written text and sketch by Dürer himself.

On this loose leaf he has described the use of an additional drawing system to achieve a perspective drawing. The published print of this sketch is usually referred to as the ‘(Daughts) Man drawing a reclining woman’ or in German ‘Ein Mann zeichnet eine liegende Frau’. It was printed in the 2nd edition – the 1538 edition of this Manual which was published by his wife, Agnes Dürer, 10 years after his death, it appears in a significantly altered version. Here is a low resolution of digital reproduction of this slide. I will blog a translation of the text and some further thoughts on Dürer’s sketch and its printed version in the near future.

One page out of Dürer's own copy of the Painters Manual

One page out of Dürer

Ektachrome Signatur: 4 L.impr.c.n.mess. 119 ( (I purchased a digital reproduction of this Ektachrome and have permission to publish it as part of my research)

I like to thank Frau Barbara Fellner for her assistance and her skillful navigation to make the findings in Munich possible.

images of work