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The concept behind this project is to prepare a computer-generated object as a body for URUSHI (Japanese lacquer) work encompassing the sense of nature and fluidity.

In craft, material and tools have always been closely related to each other, even born of one another. In ceramics, the potter's wheel enables one to form clay in a round shape but not a square one. In glass, the size of pieces is limited by the capacity of the kiln. In weaving the fixed width of the loom restricts the weaver. Therefore, in craft the shape of a piece largely depends on the tools that you use. Furthermore, some tools have greater limitations than others, but this can add intrigue where the practitioner must consider how they might conquer these difficulties and where new ideas might develop. As such, the relationship between tools and objects in crafts practice is very important.

The same thing applies to the computer system when considered as a craft tool. Seemingly, it can do anything, but it has in turn its own unique limitations, with many unknown factors. But as with the more conventional tools, the greater these limits, the more one might create the unpredictable. As a traditionally trained craftsperson, this very contemporary problem is fascinating, and one might describe it as COMPUTER CRAFT.

Numerous organic curves can be found in the natural world and it is these elements that I am bringing into my practice. First, selected curves from nature are extracted and put into CG software. This can be used to connect curves, when placed in close distance from each other, thus creating a seamless surface. Results can be surprising as even after careful placement, the outcome is unpredictable. Sometimes it may come out as very plane shape and others very complicated, but inevitably unexpected. By next applying this to the Rapid Prototype system (See next page), it is possible to produce a real piece in this form. These unusual, fluid and smooth shapes have special appeal and I was inspired to apply URUSHI to their surfaces.

While the shapes of the natural world are created by invisible forces, it might be said that these objects are either reconstructions or reincarnations of the invisible latent figures of nature, discovered through the use of unpredictable digital technology. The application of URUSHI onto the resultant object, emphasizes its unique qualities, and shows true organic value in the entirely manmade.

June 2003/Kenji Toki

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