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New technologies for 3D realization in Art and Design practice

Walters, Peter; Thirkell, Paul


Peter Walters

Paul Thirkell


As digital design technologies become ever more widespread, CAD-CAM, virtual and rapid prototyping techniques are increasingly being exploited by creative practitioners working in areas outside the industrial design and engineering contexts in which these technologies are currently predominantly employed. This review paper aims to critically examine work by artists, craft practitioners, and designer-makers who creatively engage with these new and rapidly emerging technologies and, by doing so, extend their own practice and push at the boundaries of art and design disciplines. Historic precedents for new 3D technologies in the fine and applied arts are identified, and writing by Heidegger, Baudrillard, and Virilio informs the critical review of work by art and design practitioners in sculpture, metalwork, jewellery, and ceramics. The discussion reflects on relationships between art and technology and physical and virtual making, and concludes by pointing to the possibility of new “hybrid” forms of practice which bridge the gap between physical and virtual design worlds. The paper closes by suggesting that the notion of “truth to materials” in the arts and crafts might now be extended to one of “truth to virtual materials”, as practitioners creatively negotiate relationships between digital cause and physical effect.


Walters, P., & Thirkell, P. (2007). New technologies for 3D realization in Art and Design practice. Artifact: Journal of Design Practice, 1(4), 232-245.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2007
Journal Artifact
Print ISSN 1749-3463
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Issue 4
Pages 232-245
Keywords digital; hybrid; physical; prototyping; virtual; 3D scanning
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published in 'Walters, Peter and Thirkell, Dr Paul (2007) New technologies for 3D realization in Art and Design practice. Artifact, 1 (4). pp. 232-245'. Artifact is available online at:


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