New art exhibit features student use of 3D printing

Serena Bailey

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Inside Gorgas Library, Maria Beddingfield would work, for a few hours at a time, on a computer with a program she had only ever used once before, SketchUp. Trying to figure out how to do things the way she wanted in the 3D drawing software was sometimes difficult. 

Often she would spend an hour or two doing one thing, only to realize she could have done it in 30 minutes. After over 10 hours of work, her creation, a honeycomb and bees, was complete and ready to be printed on one of the University’s 3D printers. 

Beddingfield’s piece will be displayed alongside the finished creations of other contributors in Creative Campus’s newest exhibit, Dimensions.

The exhibit was originally conceived as a workshop by senior Creative Campus intern Carissa Clay, who is also one of the exhibit’s organizers, but grew into a way to link artists on campus with the university’s 3D printing resources.

Beddingfield, a senior Journalism major, became involved when Brandon Izor, a senior Creative Campus intern and one of the organizers of the exhibit, told her about the idea during a Mallet Assembly meeting.

She and the other contributors had never used 3D printing before, and for Izor that was one of the most exciting parts of the process.

”They all came into this with a fresh start on it so we’re seeing basically their first explorations into this particular medium,” he said.

He also said he was very proud of and thankful for all of the exhibit’s artists, many of whom surprised him with their ideas and inventive ways of creating their pieces.

Many of the artists are from non-artistic backgrounds, like Beddingfield, a fact which she finds exciting. She said the experience expanded her ability and understanding of how to create objects. She also hopes the exhibit shows others that they can do more than they think they can.

“I think so many people as they’re growing up can get pigeonholed into thinking they can’t do something because they’re a certain type of way especially in the arts fields,” she said. “I think this is a good representation of the fact that it doesn’t really matter what you’re majoring in, doesn’t really matter what you’re doing at all, if you have in interest in it, If you mess around with it and you have an idea, you can make something happen.”

Izor thinks that idea and this exhibit speak to the very core of what Creative Campus is about. The organization, he said, seeks to connect students to art, especially students who may not have any involvement otherwise.

“I think artistic expression is of vital importance to everyone,” he said. “Whether you’re an engineer, whether you’re an artist, whether you’ve never done art before or whether you’ve had a lot of experience, its always important to constantly be creating and challenging yourself. With this project, it’s brand new and it’s really cool. I think a lot of people have benefited from the experience. I know certainly I have.”

All the pieces in the Dimensions exhibit will be on display in the Ferguson Center art gallery from March 7-25. The grand opening of the gallery will be March 7 at 8 p.m.