3D Printing Ceramics, Mind-Bending Short Stories

Getting Glazed and Baked with Typographical Extrusions

Taekyom Lee is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Appalachian State University. His combination of a 20,000 year old art form with cutting edge 3D printing has created an entirely new style of ceramic artwork.

In his popular YouTube videos and on his Instagram, you can watch as his machine prints mathematically inspired, digitally constructed designs for a centuries old art form.

Lee’s interest in 3D printing began with the purchase of a DIY, delta-style printer. After many iterations and lots of failed trials, Lee was able to a create a one-of-a-kind printer that makes unprecedented ceramic pieces.

Not all pieces make it to the kiln as intended. More than a few pieces topple mid-print, and on others the clay may sag and create wild, unsupported loops extending from the main structure. All of it is part of the experimentation process for Lee, and he enjoys the challenges and discoveries.


Of his machine and his art, Lee says that “much like other designers who highly value the power of the design process. I learn something from every failure and success.” (https://3dprinting.com)

In addition to clay-printing, Lee also “prints” typography with gel pens. One of his recent ceramics was a pair of Nike Air Jordans, garnering mad respect from his 40K followers and a significant amount of Instagram hype. His versatility in mediums and perseverance at adopting technology  guarantees he will produce much more tech-guided art in the future.


Stories of Dark Scientific Discovery and Subversion

Here’s a book that should top every summer reading list. Sci-fi at first glance, this anthology digs deep into the human condition and curiosity as mortal beings.

Ted Chiang’s computer science background is apparent in his mind-bending and immersive short stories. All focusing on the human condition as it collides with new technologies, the eight short stories that make up Chiang’s anthology “Stories of Your Life and Others” are impossible to put down and instill a dark curiosity similar to that of the Netflix original Black Mirror. 


Ranging from building a tower to heaven in Babylon and investigating the work of God, to taking supplements to boost intelligence and discovering more than intended (reminiscent of Limitless), these stories are rich with informed detail and create incredibly vivid situations all marked by technological advances.  Each questions man’s morals and intentions in the face of advanced capability…sometimes beyond what should be readily available.

The Academy Award winning and Golden Globe nominated film Arrival was based on the story “Story of Your Life” (and namesake of the anthology). Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, Arrival is a breathtaking actualization of Chiang’s writing.  In addition to being the most interesting movie about linguistics possible, the adaptation is heart-breaking, inspiring, and suspenseful.  It is easily my favorite movie ever.

So grab some popcorn, watch Arrival and nerd out, then grab the OG anthology from your local library (or Amazon). That existential crisis that will follow is totally normal and highly recommended. Enjoy!




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