3D Printing Collab Produces Art in Four Dimensions

TRANSLUCENCE: Capturing the Sun – Don’t Miss Q&A at WineDown 8/10!


If you’ve been more cooped up this summer than you had hoped, or simply wanting a little extra sparkle, unwind with a glass of wine and some late afternoon sunshine as Grove members Jack Heslin and Kris Tonski discuss their collaboration TRANSLUCENCE: Catching the Sun on Wednesday, August 10 at 4:30pm. This free Q&A will be held on the 2nd floor of 760 Chapel St. It is open to the public.


As any tour through Yale University Art Gallery reminds us, from Vincent Van Gogh to Edward Hopper, artists have long gravitated towards exploring the properties of light as it animates form. In the Grove’s front window, studying the play of light on form at the street-level adds an additional and exciting visual element: the passage of time.


In an informal group discussion, we will learn how a desktop digital 3D printing process was conceived as the building block for a sculptural artwork that subtly changes at different times of day. The natural translucence of polymers currently used in 3D printing plus the elegance of simple forms designed in readily-available 3D design software (CAD) brings the essence of summer right down into the cityscape.



The composition of diamond-shaped elements arranged into larger, connected diamonds is somewhat reminiscent of an abstract stained glass window. Yet the subtle curves of each modular component make for surprising variation as reflections dance across surfaces designed to capture the sun.


As the morning or afternoon rays cut across Chapel Street, the three-dimensional work activates the dimension of time. Mirrored in the community’s constant comings and goings, this kind of dynamism provides more to appreciate for a co-working space than a static work of art might.


According to Heslin, “The shapes were printed on a MakerBot 5th Generation 3D Printer using variously colored translucent material, known as MakerBot PLA, which is largely composed of corn starch. Even the connecting parts are made of PLA and printed in the natural and white-colored filament.”


Tonski continues, “In creating this installation, we had to account for the relatively small scale of the output of the printer. The process is generally used for prototyping, and therefore uses slower output times than full manufacturing processes.”


Undaunted, the collaborators worked through this creative constraint. The tile-like units that make up TRANSLUCENCE have the advantage of being easy to install and to transport, and could be artfully (re)arranged in any number of customized settings.


At the Winedown Q&A, you can hear directly from Heslin, owner of J3D Services, about this process, which took 70 hours of total print time (approximately 2 hours per tile.) Tonski, who owns Fusion Design, will also be present and can speak to the design process, which took many iterations.  In this way, too, the passage of time – the fourth dimension – is embedded in their installation.


Additional photographs, press kit and interviews with these collaborators may be requested by emailing Kris Tonski at kris@fusionprintdesign.com or Jack Heslin at jack@j3dservices.com.  Inquiries about The Grove Gallery and its various programs may be directed to Elinor Slomba at artsinterstices@gmail.com.