Ornament Magazine

VOL37.1 2014

Ornament is the leading magazine celebrating wearable art. Explore jewelry, fashion, beads; contemporary, ancient and ethnographic.

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CROPLETS DRESS by Michael-Birch Pierce and Molly Hobson Shea, of hand-embellished cotton paper sequins with glass beads and Swarovski crystals on cotton, 2012. THE TREE brooch by Seungjeon Paik, of sterling silver, twenty-four karat gold (keum-boo), wood, acrylic paint, 7.6 x 7.1 centimeters, 2013. 3D printers. MFA fibers graduate Michael-Birch Pierce describes having access to these technological innovations as highly interesting to engage with, using them not to replicate results achievable with more traditional tools, but to push new boundaries. "I think the facilities here are insane. It's just astounding, the technology that we have available to us, like laser cutters, and digital printers, and Jacquard looms, and the amazing computer labs. I think it's really interesting to use technology for what it can do, and not for how it can replicate old technology, or replace old things. So instead of digitally printing something that can easily be screen-printed, how am I going to use the digital printer to do something that can only be done with the digital printer, and how can I use the laser-cutter, not just because I'm too lazy to exacto-knife something, but to really produce a product that could not be made any other way." He emphasizes that any piece of equipment is free to use for any SCAD student, so long as their professor signs off that it is for schoolwork. The fibers department also has a good selection of traditional equipment, such as two rooms full of four and eight harness looms, and Dobby looms, as well as a dyeing lab. The building is another renovation, and with its red adobe-colored tiled roof and white walls is an imposing and elegant structure. Michael-Birch Pierce collaborated with BFA graduate Molly Hobson Shea on the creation of paper sequins, that were made through using a laser-cutter. Originally a 63 ORNAMENT 37.1.2013 order to develop it and increase their expertise. Bongsang Cho, another alumnus who went through the Master of Fine Arts program, remembers that course, Technical Research, as being integral to his artistic progression. "The class is self-study. The professor just advises the student how to go deeply into the topic. For example, I brought steel wire, and then I made something, but it's not interesting, yet," he recalls. "I can do many things from there. I take paper, cover the steel, and let the steel rust. The rust color penetrates the paper, and I can see rust transfer from the metal to the paper. So, I say, 'Wow, I can do this!' and then I make a flower with the paper and it has a steel wire construction imprinted on it." Cho notes that this ability, to creatively innovate, is central to being an artist, and that it is not easy. "So, maybe it's very hard for some students because when they reach their limits, they cannot develop more. The teacher lets the student go further. When you graduate, you have to figure out that problem yourself. I think the class provides a really good solution for students." The school's physical resources, in the form of its extensive equipment made available to students in its fiber and jewelry programs, are another compelling factor for students choosing to attend SCAD. Both departments are well-outfitted with traditional and modern tools and machinery. A digital printer and a computer-assisted Jacquard loom are examples of the most contemporary acquisitions of fiber, while the jewelry building houses two laser welding machines and

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