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15 December 2016


Cont{r}act Earth, curated by Wendy Gers was one of four exhibitions that made up the First Central China International Ceramic Biennale - 9 December 2016 to 12 March 2017. I was fortunate enough to be included in this exhibition and was invited out to the opening and to participate in the associated symposium to speaking about my own work and then ceramic 3D printing more generally.  

In my body of work I used Ants as a common theme but the work is more about chance and randomness. Comprising three series, Langton’s Ant, Ant Hills, and the Double Doodle drawing series I am interested in how digital computation has aided our understanding of swarm behaviour and that the resultant emergent properties from these apparently random and chaotic actions will throw light on attitudes towards future decision making and thinking.

Langton’s Ant is a game of chance and what is fascinating is the complex emergent behaviour that results from the simple rules as set down by Mr Langton. An ant moves forward on a chequer board. If the square is black it turns left and the square turn white. If the square is white it turns right and the square turns black, and so the pattern continues. I have taken this two dimensional pattern and coded it into three dimensions with the height now determined by how many times the ant moves back over any single square – the squares, now cubes get stacked up. The resulting forms are determined by chance but have an underlying natural system or emergent behaviour. As much as these artworks might look like our built environment or the structures of ant colonies it is the commonality between these systems and processes, nature and manmade that I want to highlight. I want this artwork to make us think just how closely we are connected to natural systems and our environment.

The essence of the Ant Hills series concerns this balance between chance and co-operative living. Like in an ant colony an underlying organisation has evolved that holds the community together and results in the building of anthills with no conscious grand plan. My forms are coded with this same element of chance and cooperation in both the form and surface colouring. I do not design the artworks but allow them to emerge out of the process and materials I use. I find it really interesting that the random noise value function that I use results in a texture and surface pattern so similar to that of natural anthills.

The drawings both on paper and as a screen based animation have a simple underlying coded structure where a pixel forms a random line for a randomly distance then dies and reforms from a central random body area. The line is mirrored left and right. Each time the code runs it produces a new and unique drawing that while totally random, because we have an overwhelming desire to make sense of the world around us we read these images as ants.

Jonathan Keep - Henan Museum, China.

Jonathan Keep, Cont{r}act Earth, Henan Museum, China.

Jonathan Keep, Cont{r}act Earth, Henan Museum, China.

Jonathan Keep, Cont{r}act Earth, Henan Museum, China.

Jonathan Keep, Cont{r}act Earth, Henan Museum, China.

10 November 2016


Ceramics and its Dimensions is a project which examines European ceramics from the perspectives of the past as well as of the future, with its new possibilities. The project has eighteen partner institutions in eleven different countries in Europe and it is co-funded through the Creative Europe program of EU and coordinated by the Porzellanikon Porcelain museum, Selb, Germany.

The Shaping the Future touring exhibition aims to explores this vision of the future in ceramics and design through various material experiments and new techniques, such as 3D-printing. The exhibition starts in Fiskars, Finland and then will continue to tour to six different cities in Europe: Selb, Belfast, Stoke-on-Trent, Berlin, Ljubljana and in the end of 2018 Prague.

I have an Iceberg series in the exhibition and these new Curve series pieces.

Jonathan Keep - Shaping the Future ceramic exhibition

Jonathan Keep - Shaping the Future ceramic exhibition

10 – 14 October 2016


It was good to be invited back for a second year to run a ceramic 3D print workshop for the Labo de Rescherce at the Ecole Nationale Suprieure d’Art, Limoges. A chance to catch up with old faces but also to meet new members and the group of resident artists now associated with the project. For more information on the course and to see recent work from the group I suggest look at the website here. I also did an artist talk that was recorded and can be viewed here.

While I was in Limoges the group visit the Bernadaud Porcelain factory, museum and shop. The Fondation Bernardaud also puts on an annual changing exhibition and the current exhibition was showcasing contemporary Korean ceramics. The exhibition features 14 Korean artists represented by about 70 works including paintings, photographs, video, instillation and ceramics. I was particularly pleased so see the inclusion of Juree Kim’s work (right) that consists of unfired clay where the very detailed architectural structures are left to dissolve in trays of water.

Jonathan Keep - ENSA Limoges

Jonathan Keep - Fondation Bernardaud, Limoges

6 – 8 October 2016


The Retune Festival describes its self as an experimental laboratory at the intersection of Art, Design and Technology. An international platform it pioneers creative technology and offers a space for dialogues around the aesthetic and technological practices that are changing today’s society and our relationship to technology.
Comprising exhibitions, performances, talks and workshops the organisers want to offer a different experience. Instead of a regular conference setting they focus on smaller intimate talks, experiences and workshops with the view to giving the audience a more personal, deeper and more hands-on insight into the work of the invited artists and specialists. The festival was clustered around four main themes: Immersed Narratives, Neuronal Creation, Networked Transplantations and Creative Production.

I was invited to workshop in the Creative Production cluster and then to participate in discussions around prototype to product, from creative mind to creative producer and the new aesthetics of digital fabrication.

Jonathan Keep - Retune 2016, Berlin.

Jonathan Keep - Retune 2016, Berlin.

19 September 2016


This article was published in the US Slate Online Magazine and looked at how the ‘U.K.’s 3D Ceramic Renaissance has inspired U.S. Artists to also combine the ancient craft with modern tech’.

In the preparation for this article I had been advised by the author that this article will be sponsored by Jaguar cars to promote how British excellence continues to push the boundaries of creativity in the U.S. and beyond.

View Pdf of text

Jonathan Keep - Slate Online Magazine

4 August 2016


Back in February I wrote about how since the glass/clay Transaction Collaborative Project with Charlie Stern and UNFOLD I had became interested in what we called the ghost pieces - the pieces where the 3D printed ceramics had broken off leaving just the glass form. While teaching on the ENSA Limoges course at CIAV Meisenthal, a glass studio in North East France I had the chance to revisit the idea of 3D printing ceramic moulds for glass blowing.

I did not necessary want the digital nature of this work to be explicit, wanting rather to concentrate on the combination of clay and glass in the final pieces and the use of light as a third material that would integrate the pieces. That said the advantage of working digitally is intrinsic to the work as it offers the ability to easily mixed forms from different sources, mirrored forms, scaled and edit related information and to easier move between working in the two materials.

The forms were generated by combining historic Meisenthal shapes from the online digital library with my own digital 3D files. So this theme of duality runs through the body of work. From referencing forms from two sources, to combining two materials, clay and glass to more abstract elements of positive and negative and material and light.

Jonathan Keep - Glass & Clay, 3D print

Jonathan Keep - Glass & Clay, 3D print

Jonathan Keep - Glass & Clay, 3D print

Jonathan Keep - Glass & Clay, 3D print

17 July 2016


This is a 14 minute movie made by Number Three a London based online publication. In the film I talk about my work, the ideas behind it and how I am using computer code to generate my forms and then 3D printing them directly in clay.

4 – 10 July 2016


My participation in Self Made Shape, a hands-on exhibition stand at the annual Royal Society of Science summer exhibition was because of an ongoing informal art/science collaboration I have with Enrico Coen who heads up a research lab at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

Shapes fascinate scientists and artists alike and this exhibit while concentrating on how plants create their amazing shapes used amongst other things pottery to illustrate how material and process influence form. A number of videos were made where I demonstrate different pottery techniques and by using coloured clay in the process you can clearly see how forming, think growth, influences the final outcome. The research lab also makes use of 3D computational modelling in their research so I have printed some of the resultant forms and also used the software that has been developed specifically to mimic plant growth to grow my own sculptural forms.

There is a good website that accompanied this exhibit.

Jonathan Keep, Royal Society Exhibition, Self Made Shape

Jonathan Keep, Royal Society Exhibition, Self Made Shape

Jonathan Keep, Royal Society Exhibition, Self Made Shape

27 -28 June 2016


It was good to be back at Engelsholm. This was an intensive couple of days of staff development training in 3D modelling and ceramic 3D printing. We went through the options of free starter modelling software such as Tinkercad and then developed onto looking at the open source Blender 3D modelling software.

Once we were ready to print the models we had made they were prepared in the also free Cura software and then time was spent on clay preparation and finally clay 3D printing. We also when through the process of using the 123D catch free 3D scan software and how to use Blender to fix and edit the resultant scanned files ready for printing.

Jonathan Keep, Engelsholmn Staff Development

Jonathan Keep, Engelsholmn Staff Development

20 - 23 June 2016


Invited by Ingrid Murphy my visit to the Cardiff School of Art & Design was multi faceted. Directed more at staff development I gave my Artist Talk outlining how I have come to work like I do and the ideas behind the work.

I then set up my ceramic 3D printers in the FabLab and workshopped with any members of staff interested and with particular emphasis on members of the ceramics department so that they could become confidant to set up their own ceramic 3D printing facility. There were further small group discussions around the use of digital techniques and the setting up, development and teaching of computational tool sets within an art school environment.

The FabLab has a Formlabs 2 3D printer (bottom right) and they had ordered in some of the Tethon Porcelite clay mix so we could experiment with this photo-curing ceramic composite resin that has been developed for SLA/DLP and other 3D printers with a UV light source. Unfortunately we ran out of time with our experiments as the process is slow, not that strait forward and it is best to have a spare resin tank that we did not have. Nervous Systems have written a very good piece about using this new and interesting ceramic 3D printing option on their blog.

Jonathan Keep, Cardiff School of Art & Design

Jonathan Keep, Cardiff School of Art & Design

Jonathan Keep, Cardiff School of Art & Design

Jonathan Keep, Cardiff School of Art & Design

17 April – 23 April 2016


Curated by Marta Donaghey of Contemporary Ceramics London, this was a group exhibition to showcase excellence in British ceramics. The main exhibition was held in Gulgong, New South Wales during the Clay Gulgong event, followed by an exhibition at the Mansfield Ceramic Gallery in Sydney. I had Salt pots (right) and Icebergs included in the exhibition.

Jonathan Keep, The Best of British, Gulgong, Australia

1 April – 9 July 2016


Curated by French designer François Brument this exhibition, a first in France on additive manufacturing aimed to highlight what has been describe as the fourth industrial revolution. The exhibition showed how this new mode of production, combined with digital designs tools will change our lifestyles and consumption.

It revealed the potential for new uses and the economic opportunities on offer through 3D printing. Highlighting the industrial, economic, creative and social prospects through achievements made in the fields of design, architecture, transport, fashion, health, research and food. I had a series of Icebergs included in the exhibition.

Jonathan Keep, Impression 3D L'Usine Du Futur

Jonathan Keep, Impression 3D L'Usine Du Futur

23 March 2016


While in Canada I was invited by Justin Novak to give an Artist Talk at the Emily Carr University on Granville Island in Vancouver.  This developed into also being asked to do a 3D print workshop for the Material Matters research cluster on the art and design campus. Material Matters is a really interesting group of people exploring ideas and technologies around the processes of material forming in 3D printing, technology, media, programming manufacturing, design and other related creative innovation.

For the workshop I used their Rostock Max v2 that they had converted to be able to print in ceramic by adding the Techon cartridge glue gun type extruder head. This worked well and offers a good alternative if you want to buy a kit 3D printer and convert it to print in ceramics. It will also still work as a plastic printer. The plastic print head is just put to one side but it is important when generating the gcode file for the ceramic printhead to set the nozzle temperature to 0 or the plastic printhead will heat up when using ceramic.

Jonathan Keep, Emily Carr University

Jonathan Keep, Emily Carr University



21 March 2016


Ars Electronica has requested to extend the exhibition ‘Elements of Art and Science’, in which I have work, until the end of the summer – see previous entry of 3 September 2015.

The Center his hard to describe as it is more than just the permanent and temporary exhibitions that they put on. They describe themselves as a place of inquiry and discovery, experimentation and exploration, a place that has taken the world of tomorrow as its stage.


Top: Harmonic Vase, Random Growth and Iceberg

Middle: Seed Bed instillation

Bottom: Seed Bed

Jonathan Keep, Ars Electronica, Linz

Jonathan Keep, Ars Electronica, Linz

Jonathan Keep, Ars Electronica, Linz

26 February 2016


This one day symposium was organised to explore the impact of new technologies in contemporary ceramics and accompanied the exhibition Michael Eden: History Re-printed at the Holburne Museum, Bath. Convened and chaired  Jo Dahn there were five speakers (see below) over the day  with periods of questions and discussions ably led by Stephen Knott and Kimberly Chandler.

Katie Bunnell  - From dark space and pipe-dreams.
Steve R Brown - Digitally Decorating Bone China.
Ingrid Murphy - Metamaking and Me.
Jonathan Keep -The Form is in The Code.
Michael Eden – Keynote.

Top: Holburne Museum, Bath

Bottom: Michael Eden, Voxel Vessel

Jonathan Keep, Holburne Museum, Bath

Jonathan Keep, Holburne Museum, Bath

15 February – 25 February 2016


Since the clay/glass Transaction Collaborative Project with Charlie Stern and UNFOLD (see 8 December 2014) I have become interested in what we called the ghost pieces - the pieces where the 3D printed ceramics had broken off leaving just the glass form. For the ENSA Limoges project at CIAV Meisenthal it was requested that tutors also make something and to use the mould library as a starting point – see next journal entry.

So taking the online data from the moulds I generate new forms combining the CIAV shapes with my own digital 3D files. These files I then printed out using a raku clay that is better at withstanding the thermal shock of having hot glass blown into. The raku clay moulds are fired to 1000°C in preparation to be blown into. Graphite is spray onto the contact surface as this appears to improve the final glass surface.

The moulds that are one off as they are broken away from the blown glass after slow cooling (annealing), are held in sand for blowing. The pressure of the expanding glass bubble was breaking apart the moulds even when held in sand so for a second blowing I wired the moulds as well. Obviously once you have the 3D file any number of moulds can be printed. As waste moulds complex shapes can be attempted as undercuts or the need for the mould to part is not required. The down side is the glass cannot be spun or revolved in the mould that is desirable to gives a smooth surface.

This is an area of research I would like to do more work in as it offers a way of generating digital forms that can easily be blown in glass. The glass surface is textured from contact with the ceramic mould but remains bright.

Top down -

3D printed clay moulds drying ready for ceramic kiln firing.

Fired clay mould held in sand and ready for blowing. The inside surface is sprayed with graphite for better glass surface quality.

Glass blowing.

Annealed glass forms ready to be broken out of the moulds.

Finished glass forms.

Jonathan Keep, Clat/Glass Moulds - Meisenthal

Jonathan Keep, Clat/Glass Moulds - Meisenthal

Jonathan Keep, Clat/Glass Moulds - Meisenthal

Jonathan Keep, Clat/Glass Moulds - Meisenthal

Jonathan Keep, Clay/Glass Moulds - Meisenthal

Jonathan Keep, Clay/Glass Moulds - Meisenthal

24 – 25 October 2015


As part of a workshop activity for the ENSA Limoges Ceramic Research Laboratory course, students and tutors spent two weeks at CIAV Meisenthal, the Centre for Art Glass in North East France. This was a chance for students to think about combining ceramics and glass in their work while also making use of digital techniques. See 14 December 2015 for more on ENSA Limoges Ceramic Research Laboratory.

The glass centre has a large mould library that has been documented online so this offered students a possible starting point for the generation of forms and ideas. The experience of collaborating with the glass studio and the highly skilled glass makers was another important factor in the aims of the Research Laboratory where new ways of working and collaboration are seen as important features in the course.

Top: Centre International D’Art Verrier, Meisenthal

Middle: Mould store

Middle to bottom: Student work combining ceramic and glass

Jonathan Keep, Meisenthal Glass Art

Jonathan Keep, Meisenthal Glass Art

Jonathan Keep, Meisenthal Glass Art

Jonathan Keep, Meisenthal Glass Art

Jonathan Keep, Meisenthal Glass Art

Jonathan Keep, Meisenthal Glass Art