katie bunnell

project_Digital Flora

This research is concerned with developing a new business approach to flexible small scale ceramic production that exploits the customisation capabilities digital of manufacturing technologies and the market potential and global connectivity of the world wide web. It is arguably of particular relevance to regional economic development in remote areas such as Cornwall where there is a culture of high quality small scale production, and limited market and manufacturing opportunities that present a real need to develop businesses that connect with a global economy. 
The project uses Ceramic Digital Decal Printing, 2D Digital Design Tools as well as programming for website interaction (provided by ALGODES).

Ceramic Digital Decal Printing
The traditional process of screen printing ceramic decals is time consuming, the materials are toxic and the nature of the print process often makes mass manufacturing an economic necessity. The ceramic digital printer represents a new age of ceramic surface pattern prototyping, making it possible to customise one-off pieces for individual clients or prototype a wide range of designs for product testing.

The decal technology is still in its early stages and needs some refining – the covercoat leaves a shadow around the edge of a design, the adhesion of the ceramic pigment to the decal paper is not always reliable, sometimes leading to small areas of colour being lost, there is often colour variations between print batches. As a result the research involves working with manufacturers and operators of digital ceramic print systems, Cuccolini and Digital Ceramic Systems in Stoke on Trent to develop methods for colour consistency and highest quality print production. Technical teething problems aside, the digital decal printing process provides instant gratification – scan in you picture print it out, fire it on and give it to your best mate or your agent.

Digital Design Processes

The digital flora designs have evolved through digital photography and digital 2D scanning, the creation of digital drawings, designing surface patterns, creating a digital print and completing a fired ceramic surface. The complexity of the imagery with its areas of clean flat colour, tests the limits of the print process particularly in relation to level of detail, quality of line and consistency in large areas of solid colour. This complexity is achieved through the use of a range of commonly accessible digital tools that are simple and direct to use eg. the use of a mobile phone camera and commonly used software tools in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator such as ‘magic wand’, ‘path’,  ‘trace’ and ‘make clipping path’ tools.
The use of 2D CAD software combined with the digital decal printer has enabled me to create a family of ceramic plates where each one is a variation on a theme.  All designs can be repeated or changed to meet the requirements of new ceramic forms or the personal preference of a client.

Design It Yourself
Taking the idea of meeting a clients particular preference a stage further, the project now involves the development of a website that enables people to interact with the design process themselves. The first iteration of the site will enable people to select areas from my digital drawings to create their own set of plates, mugs or dinner service. This research is being carried out with international partners, ALGODES Fluidforms, specialists in creating online design tools for 3D digital production processes. A beta version website for testing and feedback will be available in Nov 07 (website details to follow). A restricted number of user interactions have been devised at this stage in order to test the extent to which people want to interact and what functionalities they are interested in.

Autonomatic at Metropolitan Works, an exhibition of digital design from University College Falmouth, 6th-15th March 2007
Hello, we are Autonomatic, New Craft Future Voices, AHRC funded International Craft Conference, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee, Scotland

Digital Explorers II, a series of events held in conjunction with Autonomatic at Metrolpolitan Works Creative Industries Centre, London, 6th–15th March 2007


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Research Papers: Craft and Digital Technology


Dr Katie Bunnell :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P
Dr Justin Marshall  :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
Tavs Jorgensen  {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:) {:)
Drummond Masterton  :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :>
Adam Stringer  ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;| ;|
Isabelle Risner ;-o ;-o ;-o ;-o ;-o ;-o ;-o ;-o ;-o ;-o ;-o ;-o

This an archive site for Autonomatic activities up to 2010. Visit for project updates and news.


_001 Allium

_002 Allium drawing

_003 Digital decal design

_004 Allium plate

_005 Purple cosmos

_006 Cosmos drawing

_007 Digital decal design

_008 Blue plate

_009 Digital decal

_010 Blue and brown plates

_011 Plate detail

_012 Selection of plates