via tct : An artist from the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand is bringing together 3D printing technology with traditional Maori designs to create new ‘digital treasures’.
The resulting creations are currently on display to the Bay of Plenty public at the Art of Technology exhibition in Tauranga until November 5th. Joe Te Wharau’s exhibition features a series of artistic pendants, entitled ‘Matihiko Taonga V1.0’, and saw him deliver a presentation titled: ‘Discovering 3D printed Taonga’ on October 20th.
As well as jewellery, Te Wharau has also used 3D printing to create artwork, which use a wide range of materials, like gold, platinum, silver, brass, copper, and a range of advanced plastics. He has particularly enjoyed the accuracy the 3D printing technology has allowed him to achieve accuracy to a fraction of a millimetre and sufficiently explore Maori artistic concepts. It allows him to celebrate the traditions of Maori art and benefit from the advancement in technology.
“Maori communication is visual and spoke,” Te Wharau said. “These pieces are a translation of Maori tradition through modern technology, and I think it’s a natural progression. The subjects I work with have been chosen for their meaning. The tiki resembles creation and the fertility that comes from new ideas. I chose the toki as a symbol for tools – for exploring new ideas and techniques to make and do things.”
3D printed and then finished in a rich coloured dye, the nylon tiki artworks are detailed with ink ta moko, notably used for the facial markings on traditional Maori, inscribed by hand into engraved inlays. Furthering the modernisation of the artwork, each nylon tiki is embedded with a programmable microchip, able to store information and interact with NFC-enabled mobile devices. Other 3D printed tiki designs are inlaid in brass or bronze, while toki are printed in precious metals.
Te Wharau has a passion to create and to do so while incorporating new technologies and connect communities and cultures. So much so, he is working as a site manager of a road production crew to fund his artistic endeavours. A long-held ambition of his, with the help of modern technology, he is finally showcasing his art to the people of New Zealand.
“I have always wanted to make beautiful things that meant something to me personally. Objects to be treasured, to inspire people to view things in new ways,” Te Wharau said. “Now I have found a way to do it.”