Collaborator Project Spotlight: Sculpture Fabrication

Connor Ruppelt, a senior sculpture major at Kent State University, wanted to step outside his comfort zone on his latest project and explore new technologies for sculpture fabrication – thanks to the facilities and expertise available at the Design Innovation Hub he was able to do just that.

Ruppelt’s piece, which features a twenty foot soft-sculpture tube, car hood, pillow, fabric mat and preserved fish gills, was designed and constructed almost entirely at the DI Hub. Taking advantage of the advanced technologies found there, the artist used a 3D image scanner to create a commercial-like fabric pattern from his own skin, a dye sublimation printer to apply it and sewing machines to construct the soft structures.

“I like to think about my relationship with technology in relation to my mind and my body,” Ruppelt said. “I just want to make work that feels contemporary, that feels like it's connecting with a contemporary experience. And I'm often thinking about … what it means to be human now.”

As Ruppelt learned more about the technology he was using, many of which he had not worked with before entering the DI Hub with his idea, he also learned more about his artwork and creative process. 

“It was kind of like letting things unfold,” he said.

Without the help of the DI crew, Ruppelt said his project would not have been possible. Ccrediting crew members like Aubrey Heald for bringing their own creative input and expertise to the process. 

“I was telling him ‘I feel like I should put your name on the credit for the artists,’” Ruppelt said. “He [Heald] was like, ‘No, I’m just your collaborator.’”

POSTED: Tuesday, January 31, 2023 12:51 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2023 03:05 PM
Alton Northup