Artists have always used whatever materials that science and engineering made available. What Keep has accomplished is to use the tools of scientific discovery to capture beauty directly. A genuine art pioneer, Keep has long used computer software to develop new ceramic forms. With an abiding interest in the hidden numerical code that underpins all of Nature, he has developed a working process whereby the shapes of his creations are written in computer code. This digital information is passed through his studio-based DIY 3D printer—no less an engineering achievement—that he adapted to print in clay. Push the button and Eureka! Layer by layer, his pots (I prefer to call them artworks because they are certainly the children of his mind) are printed out. It is a sort of mechanical pottery coil building. After printing, the ceramic object is glazed and fired in the normal manner.
From the elemental forces of earth, fire and water, pottery has traditionally drawn on nature for inspiration. In using computer code to create this work, I aim to add a further layer to include the elemental, natural mathematical patterns and structures that underlie all form. This work illustrates just how much we are connected at a very deep level to the natural world.
Keep built his own 3D printer based upon a robotics model. The “ink” in Keep’s ceramic printer is ejected using a clay extruder made from parts adapted from the adhesives industry. We are seeing the future and it is full of Icebergs. Only Luddite sailing aboard their own little Titanics need fear these seas.