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Procedural Vessels


Computer-Aided Design, Computational Media, Digital Fabrication, 3D Printing


Glazed Porcelain and Stoneware. 3D Printed, Atmospheric Fired


These Procedural Vessels were not designed by a human, but rather were generated by a human-made algorithm. They weren’t built by hand, but rather were constructed by a machine built from scratch.

This project started with the question: What might an object become if the tool is given full agency to affect the final form? The resulting vessels represent a collaboration between the human and the algorithm - a marriage of traditional craft and computational media.


The algorithm (pictured above) was built in Grasshopper, a visual programming environment within the CAD platform, Rhinoceros.  Guided by a set of constraints, it employs probability tables and decision trees to generate unique and "unpredictable" geometries each time the program runs.  The result is a three-dimensional tool path formatted as g-code (instructions for a 3D printer to build the physical object).


A pattern generator, written in Processing v.3, is used to iterate surface design textures.  These textures are streamed to Grasshopper to modulate the 3D tool paths the algorithm has generated.


The physical objects are digitally fabricated using a custom-designed ceramic 3D printer.  The first prototypes were built on an earlier version of the open source clay 3D printer (learn more about that project here).

The first prototype Procedural Vessels were fired in the kiln yard at North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre. While some were glazed and re-fired by more conventional means, others were fired unglazed in a wood fire kiln. 


Not dissimilar from the generative nature of each objects' design, here the tool - in this case the wood kiln - is given agency to affect the final form and surface of the vessel.


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