Last weekend, graphic design students Jinghang Huang and Kara Isabella spent 48 hours turning ideas into objects. They participated in a modular design workshop here at Miami led by visiting artist Richard Elaver. The workshop pulled in students from Art, Design, Architecture, Engineering and Computer Science. Together these students formed small teams, using laser cutters, computer controlled fabrication equipment and 3D printers to meet the challenge of a design problem through making.

In his own work, Elaver, an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design from Appalachian State University, hybridizes contemporary digital 3D tools with traditional craft. Rather than following the well trod path of mass production, Elaver looks to the unique qualities of nature—the one-off products of genetic code. He programs sequences that produce uniqueness, creating individualized products for each user.

Here are Jinghang’s tips based on the workshop experience:

  1. team work is important. Listening to other people’s thoughts while working is always helpful.
  2. concentrating on details is good, but we also need to step back and think about the big idea from time to time.
  3. mistakes help us to learn, so don’t be afraid of them. (especially when dealing with a laser cutter)

And here are Kara’s tips:

  1. incorporate math into the design
  2. don’t be afraid to try new things
  3. always ask for advice