Lecturer combines love of computing, creating

Lecturer combines love of computing, creating

When his son was about 6 years outdated, Mark Meier made a ceramic bust of him that didn’t go over effectively.

“He was very sad with the colour of the floor I selected. He began crying so I redid it and adjusted the colour,” stated Meier, lecturer II in structure within the A. Alfred Taubman School of Structure and City Planning.

Creating items of artwork — and the trial and error that comes with it — drives and evokes Meier, who builds furnishings, sculpts ceramics and explores his expansive curiosity via digital means.

Meier estimates he’s constructed about 60 items of furnishings previously 20 years and tons of of ceramic items previously 5 years. His design observe revolves round digital fabrication, scripted geometric modeling, furnishings fabrication and digital sculpting.

Lecturer combines love of computing, creating
When Mark Meier, lecturer II in structure within the A. Alfred Taubman School of Structure and City Planning, was finishing his grasp’s diploma in digital applied sciences at U-M, he designed a desk that includes a curve referred to as a torus knot. (Photograph courtesy of Mark Meier)

The mixture of making and pc programming speaks to Meier.

“I benefit from the technique of producing 3D type within the pc.” he stated. “Within the Nineteen Eighties, the structure faculty had some revolutionary, very early pc software program for doing that. I used to be in a position to take lessons in programming 3D geometry. U-M was an amazing place to check that.

“It’s unbelievable to now take it additional with the power for these fashions to manage the place the machine cuts. We will straight extract curves and surfaces for the machines to observe. It’s significantly useful when you possibly can program that. I’m actually focused on computational geometry and with the ability to generate type via code, and with the ability to drive the machines is tremendous thrilling to me.”

Mark Meier
Mark Meier

He may by no means have realized of U-M’s capabilities in that realm if he wasn’t listening to Nationwide Public Radio in the future a bit of over a decade in the past. He heard an interview with Karl Daubmann, the primary director of the Digital Fabrication Lab, or FABLab, at Taubman School and was hooked.

He enrolled at Taubman as a non-degree, non-credit pupil in 2010 after which accomplished a second grasp’s diploma program in digital expertise the next yr earlier than being requested to hitch the school.

“I’m actually glad I discovered in regards to the FABLab, as a result of it was the right place to mix my pursuits in 3D type, programming and making,” he stated. “With the ability to spend the final decade studying about that and instructing it and sharing what I do know with college students has been an actual pleasure.”

Meier stated he can hint his artwork background to rising up in Bloomfield Hills and taking lessons at Cranbrook Academy of Artwork and the Birmingham Bloomfield Artwork Heart.

“That was an amazing setting for studying about all completely different sorts of artwork,” he stated. “I can keep in mind casting aluminum as a child. We had some nice services and academics there. I’ve all the time been focused on artwork, however there have been occasions in my profession when the making was digital fairly than bodily.”

Mark Meier made this wooden bust of his son, Kirk, from a 3D scan he took. The bust is made of poplar and took about 40 hours to complete. (Photo courtesy of Mark Meier)
Mark Meier made this picket bust of his son, Kirk, from a 3D scan he took. The bust is made from poplar and took about 40 hours to finish. (Photograph courtesy of Mark Meier)

He taught pc animation on the Penny W. Stamps College of Artwork & Design for a number of years within the early Nineteen Nineties earlier than working in structure after which pc animation software program improvement. Then he realized in regards to the FABLab the place his passions may very well be mixed.

Meier stated one among his favourite items he’s constructed was a desk he designed for his digital expertise diploma ultimate challenge. The desk includes a curve referred to as a torus knot and is definitely 30 completely different elements that dovetail collectively to type a steady loop.

“The college had simply acquired a five-axis router. I took a category in utilizing it, and I believed it may minimize elements that curve via house in a method that I couldn’t produce via typical woodworking,” he stated.

“I discovered a method to minimize the advanced joinery and wrote the code to generate the shape and the elements. Then I programmed the router to chop them.”

He bought the primary of these tables he made however constructed one other, smaller model that sits in his lounge. Meier stated he has constructed completely different sorts of beds, tables and chairs out of assorted forms of wooden — walnut and white oak are his favorites — and numerous lamps, lighting fixtures and ceramic cups, vases and candlestick holders.

“I like wooden. That’s what I’m actually into. However I’ve come to understand ceramics, as a result of I can give you an thought and notice it so rapidly, which is interesting,” he stated.

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One of many extra time-consuming however rewarding items Meier created was a bust of his son, Kirk, made from poplar from a 3D scan of his face that Meier took when Kirk was 11. He estimates he spent about 40 hours whole between programming the machine to chop the wooden, revising the device paths when it failed and cleansing up the piece.

He stated the latter — which concerned sanding and smoothing the bust by hand — took about 20 hours.

This time, his son didn’t shed tears when he noticed the ultimate product.

“I believe it got here out rather well,” he stated. “I’ve it displayed in our home and I’m very proud of it. And I do know he was happy with the likeness.”


What memorable second within the office stands out?  

Certainly one of my first duties after I got here again to Michigan in 2011 was serving to the structure faculty dean with an exhibition referred to as Photoformance proven on the College Museum of Artwork. I actually loved utilizing my programming abilities to allow them to mannequin, fabricate and assemble that set up. 

What can’t you reside with out?  

Artwork. And designing and fabricating utilizing pc pushed instruments and customized software program. 

Title your favourite spot on campus.  

The Wave Subject on North Campus designed by Maya Lin.

What evokes you? 

Seeing the work of artists whose items have a really unfastened really feel however have that “it” issue that makes them appear precisely proper. 

What are you presently studying? 

“Too Massive for a Single Thoughts” by Tobias Hurter.

Who had the best affect in your profession path?

Gary Yost, the visionary founding father of the Yost Group, builders of the pc animation software program 3ds max. I used to be working at a design agency on the time, and he recruited me away to hitch his software program improvement crew. Taking that leap confirmed me the rewards of taking dangers, and that has allowed me to pursue my pursuits all through my profession together with my ceramics analysis, instructing myself woodworking, and lecturing at U-M.