The title for this exhibition (and presentation) is a reference to Samuel Smiles book: “Industrial Biography, Iron Workers and Toolmakers” (1863).
In this book Smiles discusses how advances in tool making was the driving force for the first industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th century.
The paper draws parallels with Smiles’ text and the current state of digital fabrication technologies. The contention is that technologies such as CNC Milling and certain 3D Printing methods have now achieved such a widespread level of diffusion that the most interesting use for these technologies is in a tool making role - rather than methods for the direct fabrication of artefacts.
The glass pieces shown in the exhibition are some of the results from an ongoing exploration of digital fabrication technologies in such tool making scenarios.
The focus of this particular project is to create reconfigurable tooling systems that can facilitate the production of a wide range of glass artefacts. The research also aims to explore a close integration of digital fabrication with analogue skills and ‘material knowledge’.