Collaborative Making in Craft and Virtual Reality

Authors: Nithikul Nimkulrat, Aaron Oussoren, Keith Doyle, Hélène Day Fraser

peer-reviewed conference paper, 2018

This paper examines a collaborative practice of an analogue and a digital craft practitioner developed at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Canada. Its aim is to illuminate ways in which craft making and hand-crafted objects can be translated using 3D modeling technology and addresses the following questions: (a) What forms of knowing and meaning making are evolving through collaborative practice? How does this inform research creation at an Art + Design University?; (b) What does it mean to manipulate material in Computer Aided Design (CAD) through Virtual Reality (VR)? What are the explicit implications of doing so and how does this inform analogue material practice and experimentation?; and (c) What are the pedagogical implications of this mixed analogue/digital workflow and practice? Originating with a hand-knotted object, the study began with the transformation of this analogue form into digital form using a range of techniques. These activities act as both a survey of digital fabrication capabilities and a way of exploring new thinking mechanisms offered by this emerging form of practice. The study seeks to broaden our understanding of the maker's role within the capabilities and limitations of digital interface and fabrication. Throughout this collaborative practice, each iteration of digitally-fabricated objects was documented and reflection was made on both the outcomes and the ways in which the analogue and the digital craft practitioners work together. This emerging collaborative practice acts as a catalyst for established disciplines within art and design to collide and interact. Outcomes of this study include mapping new workflows within digital/analogue material practice, and reflection on how the materials and methods used in digital fabrication have the potential to expand the meanings connected to the things that are produced. The study also reveals a few provocations impacting the uptake of CAD and 3D modeling skills in the classroom, through collaborative, interdisciplinary practice.

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Suggested Citation: Nimkulrat, N., Oussoren, A., Doyle, K., & Day Fraser, H. (2018). Collaborative Making in Craft and Virtual Reality. In Cumulus Conference Proceedings Paris 2018 – To get there: designing together (pp. 1030–1055). Helsinki: Cumulus.