During the past school year at Hewitt School, a K-12 girls private school located in New York, I was given the chance to combine my two teaching backgrounds: technology and visual arts. The interdisciplinary curriculum was a natural transition for me to combine my prior arts education background, new digital fabrication techniques, and ceramics. The focus would be to merge technology and hands-on three dimensional design and fabrication. The Art Department’s middle school curriculum for 7th and 8th grade worked on a rotation of Studio Art, 3D Art, Digital Art, and a 8th grade spring semester intermediate level course. The intermediate level course was picked by the students to further explore a visual arts topic of their choice. I led the students through a two-part project incorporating 1) web-based tools, 3D modeling, 3D printing; 2) slab built geometric clay boxes, surface decoration, and glazing. I’d like to share some of the main procedures (see 3D Printed Pattern Stamp & Ceramic Box lesson) and reflections on the project.
The middle school students are assigned a Chromebook for use in school and at home, so all the digital tools needed to be web-based. Tinkercad would be the main tool for designing the pattern stamp, but I needed other tools to create the pattern image and file convertor. The procedures for saving, retrieving, and converting the files needed to be specific for the Chrome OS because the “File Browser” is an infrequently used feature on the Chromebooks. There was some confusion on how and where files were saved, but the students were able to help each other out. The majority of the students were confident in creating 3D models of a stamp handle and body. The challenging part was modifying the imported SVG file, especially proportionally scaling down and raising the pattern object onto the surface of the stamp. A technical challenge I faced while 3D printing the stamps was losing the pattern lines on the stamps. We were able to resolve this issue by duplicating and shifting the pattern lines in the 3D model. Overall, all the students successfully created unique stamps to use with their clay boxes.