3D Printing and Craft: The Future is Here

Doug Bucci’s white neckpiece, part of his Islet series, is made from glass-filled nylon and produced on a 3D printer.


If you were worried that technology might be sucking the life out of craft, don’t.

“It’s the opposite. If the digital age was perceived as dehumanizing and the removal of the hand, the postdigital age is about humanizing technology, and using it for the betterment of people,” says Philadelphia-based artist and educator Doug Bucci.

During the Wednesday, May 6th talk at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bucci and Ron Labaco, the Marcia Docter Curator of the Museum of Arts and Design explored the ways in which computer-assisted technologies might impact craft as we know it. Bucci was pleased to note the talk drew artists and craft connoisseurs as well as a group of scientists in town for an organ transplant conference—a sign, he says of 3D technology’s crossover appeal.

So where exactly is 3D printing going in the world of craft and what can visitors to this year’s Craft Show expect?

“It’s becoming far more ubiquitous than it was—3D printers are really part of the collective consciousness at this point,” he says. “Within the craft world this technology is becoming part of the artist’s studio. Whether it’s laser cutting or extruding thermal plastics or layering resins, we’re going to see more of this kind of work, because now artists can create objects they can’t create by any other means.”

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