An artistic residency Overseas: from Illinois to Savona Ceramics Museum

Shane Lutzk, artista americano in residenza artistica presso il museo della ceramica di Savona, lavora al al tornio per modellare parte del proprio vaso
Shane Lutzk working on the lathe © Federica Delprino

Savona. Luglio inizia e, mentre l’estate incalza caldissima, in città c’è un nuovo arrivo: Shane Lutzk. Classe ’92, il giovanissimo artista americano arriva non solo per godersi lo splendido Mar Ligure, ma per una residenza artistica presso il Museo della Ceramica di Savona. Durante la sua permanenza ripropone i suoi monumentali vasi, ma anche un percorso di sperimentazione verso nuovi concept e poetiche grazie all’integrazione della stampante 3D ceramica.

L’artista, invitato dal maestro Sandro Lorenzini – ceramista ligure – e ospitato da Tiziana Casapietra Direttore del Museo della Ceramica di Savona, è diventato il primo ospite del nuovo MUST LAB. – laboratorio di ceramica del museo. Si tratta di un brillante modo per unire le classiche tecniche della lavorazione ceramica all’innovativa stampa 3D.

The artist experimented modeling his typical gigantic vases through various modular pieces, shaped through a lathe and decorated; but at the same time he gave a new interpretation of his famous "rings" through the use of the 3D printer for clay.

3D-printed ceramic artworks

Indeed, the museum's laboratory owns an LDM Wasp Delta 4100 printer, a 3D printer using ceramic as a material.
How does it work? It is a process of digital craftsmanship: the clay is manually processed and placed in the tank connected to the extruder. Then, by loading a properly prepared 3D model, we can print. It might sound simple, but it's not.
The artists have designed and produced a series of works with the designer Omar Tonella, who helped designing the 3D models, handling the machine and preparing the clay with the ceramic expert Lorenzini, whose experience has been essential to properly process the material.

You can read many articles on " Mediterranean ", the installation resulting from the collaboration between Lorenzini and Lutzk. However, we'd like to underline the how this residency has been based on the contact between digital and ceramic, which have been equally important for the creative experience.
The 3D printer is a further tool to work with a material that belongs to the tradition of the territory.

Shane Lutzk, artista americano in residenza artistica presso il museo della ceramica di Savona, lavora al al tornio per modellare parte del proprio vaso e ne rifinisce i dettagli con la fiamma ossidrica
Shane Lutzk al tornio rifinisce la propria opera con la fiamma ossidrica © Federica Delprino

3D printing and poetics

According to his own experience, Omar Tonella tells us that: "The poetics of an art piece meets a technological mean, the ceramic 3D printer, which is nothing more than another useful tool for creativity.

We don't have to forget how to use our hands and neither how to process the clay, which are essential abilities both to work traditionally or with the 3D printer.The artist has reinterpreted his "deformed rings" by mixing the glaze, typical in his works, with the horizontal lines generated by 3D-printing.

These sculptures tell about his disease, diabetes, which he has lived with for many years. The result is an engaging narrative translation of the body, which brings the observer into dynamic and sinuous shapes. In this case, technology stays aside to the consolidated language of the artist, who is renewed by proposing a theme that's important for him. The manual intervention on the artifacts born from thedigital drawing is central, used as a chisel to give shape to a new imaginary.

LDM Wasp Delta 4100 stampante 3D durante la stampa di uno dei vasi di shanke lutkz presso il museo della ceramica di savona
Delta Wasp 40100 while printing © Federica Delprino
Sandro Lorenzini e Omar Tonella preparano il piano per la lavorazione dell’argilla © Federica Delprino
Shane Lutzk e Omar Tonella working together © Federica Delprino


Finally, it's useful to think about the role of the ceramic 3D printer: it is not a competitor for artisans, but one of the tools able to give birth to new artistic scenarios. The new digital native artists are used to a language flexible to also use contemporary digital technologies in the ceramic world. Clay features as a material are always the main theme in this context based on the keyword "innovation".