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Object creation has been redefined throughout the years particularly in the crafts. With the arrival of the computer it is, again, time to reinterpret the craft object. I am part of a group of individuals that subscribe to the belief that the computer will transform object making in metalsmithing. We are unique in choosing the computer to interpret our work, but we are not unlike the group of people who began the majority of craft programs on college campuses in the 1940's. This group of teachers had little or no knowledge of the field. Through research they developed the technology, forms, and aesthetics that defined crafts for the last 50 years. Like our predecessors, we are engaged in research and development. The goal is the same...advance technology, speak to and about our time, and create aesthetic significance.

The pieces I make embody the idea of form following function. They are jewelry objects: pins, bracelets, and neckpieces that would not work without specific construction. They contain no complicated mechanisms or added mechanical parts, the object is the mechanism and the way it needs to perform dictates what it will look like. The jewelry "embraces" the wearer or the garment. Since I was searching for this interaction, I also found myself looking for materials that would allow me to do exactly what I wanted. I have been studying the potential of using vulcanized rubber with metal embellishments. With these materials I get the "look" that I want and the flexibility that I need.

The jewelry I make exists as three-dimensional objects with precise dimensions and are rendered in virtual space. The intention of some objects is machining on a 3-axis CNC (computer numerically controlled) milling machine. The remainder of the objects in my portfolio were not meant for tangibility. The value is entirely as a virtual which, I believe, can communicate the same information as a tangible. My objects and the process I use will help lead metalsmithing into a new era.

My purpose is to teach and continue my exploration of computer "art" as a means of addressing what is current in society. I consider myself an artist, a teacher, and a researcher. I regard these three roles as supportive of each other.

These roles enable me to offer students the best of everything. A new generation of students are out there and they are ready to explore the electronic age of art. I encourage them to look to the past and understand the history of their discipline to define where the future will be. I want them to be aware of what is current, use their art to address these issues, and then I ask them to be visionaries. Through these explorations, the crafts will endure and progress into the 21st century.





lkraus@mindspring.com