Future crafts

Traditionally it takes a lot of work to craft things. This is well known by hobbyists who weave quilts, assemble miniature ships or carve figurines.

But we are soon going to be entering an era in which we can simply move our hands in the air to create the objects we want. The object we create will appear fully dimensional.

We will be able to walk around such a creation and look at it from all angles. At the press of a button a 3D printer will be able to then give us that object as something tangible in the physical world.

What effect will this have on crafting? Will the field transform as the number of people who craft things goes up exponentionally, just as the invention of personal cameras transformed photography and turned it into a hobby for the masses?

Will crafting end up splitting into two distinct art forms — one that uses strictly traditional methods and the other embracing new technologies? Or will these various techniques simply be embraced and merge together with older forms of creation?

Time will tell.

3 Responses to “Future crafts”

  1. J. Peterson says:

    CAD and 3D printing have been principle tools of the maker community for over a decade now. Personal access to 3D printing started in the mid 2000’s with the RepRap project, and really took off a few years later when the key patents on FDM expired, opening the market to inexpensive off-the-shelf printers.

    The other major milestone was Autodesk’s decision to make Fusion 360 available at no cost to students and hobbyists.

    Look through the pages of Make: over the past several years and you’ll see many of the projects start with virtual designs.

  2. admin says:

    Yes, agreed. I’ve been using 3D printers for craftwork for many years, and they are awesome (this was one such project I really enjoyed making).

    I was not thinking about crafts that go from computer screens to 3D printing, but rather crafts in which the design process takes place within the physical world. Fusion 360 is great, but it’s still software on a 2D computer screen.

    I am trying to get a sense of the time when mixed reality will be so thoroughly integrated that there will be no screens at all, from initial design through to final 3D printed result. We will simply design a 3D object in place, the way we did before the advent of computers.

    I am sorry I was not clear about that!

  3. J. Peterson says:

    Ah! Now I see what you were describing. You’re probably familiar with the art of Anna Zhilyaeva – she works primarily in VR, and (as far as I can tell) her works only exist there.


    Former Disney animator Glenn Keane has also taken up VR painting:

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