A few of you may know that I make haste for Glasgow whenever I can to go and visit Maklab- Scotland's first open source digital Fablab (Fabrication Lab). It.Is.Awesome. So useful! Basically- if it wasn't there, I wouldn't have access to a laser cutter, which means I wouldn't be able to produce the patterns I need onto acrylic for jewellery and various other projects I've had going on. There are also a few 3D printers there which is great!
The importance of the fablab for me as a designer is huge- not only do I have access to lots of yummy machines, but if I have an idea that I'm not quite sure how to do, I can take it along to Maklab and they'll help me make it. Since it is an open studio; meaning any one can go in and have a look, someone can come along and ask me what I'm doing, we can swap ideas etc it's great for collaboration or just to network.
On Wednesday I attended a Symposium held by Maklab with many and various great guest speakers 'Making the Circular Economy'. This was based on and around the Fablab Global Network, moving on to the concept of the circular economy; the re-thinking of production (including manufacturing) and consumer consumption. The way we design NOW and in the very near future, new technologies such as 3D printing bringing in a whole new process and dimension to manufacturing and how the Fablab will make the designers of the future.
I'd love to touch a little on all of these wonderful subjects however my mind melted slightly (I say, slightly..) when Stem Cell Research and 3D printing was topic of conversation..! Roslin Callb in collaboration (there's that word again!) with heriot Watt University have been 'developing new processes to create 3D stem cell spheriods using new valve-based technology.' Which means they are printing out cells (in 3D!) using a printer, but not just your average Inkjet Printer style as this would damage the cells; they have developed and are testing a new 'valve' printer which will mean they are able to print the cells in a controlled fashion. 'They are using this technology to develop human mini-liver tissues for use in pharmaceutical drug testing.' -And that my friends is how much I understand and how much I can tell you about it!
The great thing about this Symposium was the ecletic mix of people up speaking and in the room! A pharmacologist one minute, an architiect the next, product designers, you name it!
(And with a little jeweller sitting in the corner ^^)
It made me realise how essential collaboration is, how important it is to me. I think perhaps that's why I was pretty anxious about setting up my own jewellery business and why I don't want to pigeon-hole myself as that. I don't want to work by myself.
It's great to have other people to bounce off-of!
The future of the Fablab seems bright and shiny just now.
An amazing thing in Maklab is the webcam and table; you can bring an idea to this table, switch on the webcam and discuss your ideas with another Fablab somewhere else in the world! How cool is that? I recently found out that Primary Schools do this too with their own projects.
Anyway, the symposium had so much more to it, but I feel it might take me a few days to cover it all..
..Long live the Fablab and may it's progress continue all the over the world! I would love to get more involved..
The place to do it is there, now you just need an idea to get started!