Making It Real

Curatorial Statement by Jesse Jackson and Greg Sims

Making It Real brings together the work of artists and designers from around the world that take maximum advantage – conceptually, procedurally, and materially – of direct digital manufacturing technologies.

3-D printing and other forms of additive manufacturing have captured the public imagination for their potential to generate tangible objects ‘out of thin air’. Wizardry alone, however, is not the focus of this collection. Instead, the emphasis lies on objects that evince creativity and expertise before, during, and after the printing process, and that expand the possibilities these technologies engender. Each maker has engaged with direct digital manufacturing in a way that fully exploits the potential of this transformative set of technologies to generate original – and exemplary – jewellery, products, fine art, and other small objects.

The objects in this collection vary in how they apply 3-D printing technology to best effect. Some of the objects take advantage of the geometric complexity permitted by digital design and manufacturing. Others exploit the material properties of the plastics and new composites these technologies produce most readily. Some of the most intriguing examples make use of the opportunity to create fully assembled interlocking forms in a single operation. In all cases, the makers have generated objects that would not have been created by any other means.

What does it take to be real? As the children’s book the Velveteen Rabbit wisely explains, “Real isn’t how you’re made. It takes a long time.” The objects in this collection are real not because of how they are made. Their realness comes from the investment of time and knowledge:  focused inspiration, iterative improvement, and meticulous craft. They have been loved.

Making It Real is a juried exhibition of digitally fabricated objects curated by Jesse Jackson and Greg Sims. The original exhibition took place May 14-28, 2013 as part of the Toronto International Jewellery Festival and coincided with the Society of North American Goldsmiths' 2013 conference, Meta-Mosaic. Virtual objects were submitted electronically from around the world and “made real” locally using a variety of 3-D printing technologies. Making It Real showcases innovative designs for jewellery, products, fine art, and other small objects that take maximum advantage of direct digital manufacturing.