Pocosin Arts to hold ribbon cutting for new lab

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Artist Lee Griggs applies his skills and utilizes high tech to create unique ceramics that are crafted at the Pocosin Arts School's new Erica Smith Laboratory.

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From Staff reports

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

COLUMBIA – Pocosin Arts School is poised to celebrate the grand opening of its new Smith Digital Fabrication Lab.

The laboratory will expand Pocosin Arts’ fine craft programs with the latest digital tools, equipment, facilities and innovative programs. The new tools installed in the Smith Lab will include all those needed to enable students to learn, and take ideas from concept to completion. These tools include 3-D printers, a CNC router, a laser cutter, a vinyl cutter, sewing machines, an electronics bench and computer stations with design software.

“Pocosin Arts' focus has always been based on hands-on learning in our traditional craft studios such as pottery and jewelry making. With the addition of the Smith Lab, students will have the equipment and expertise available to learn to create in a new way,” said Marlene True, executive director for Pocosin Arts.  

The ribbon cutting and grand opening will take place between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 at the Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft, located at 202 Main Street. The ribbon cutting will take place 6 p.m. with refreshments to follow. The guest of honor will be the lab’s namesake, NC Senator Erica Smith, D-Northampton.  

Because of the high-end technology, Kitty Hawk ceramics artist Lee Griggs has been able to create cups for Pocosin Arts' upcoming annual benefit auction using a model he created using Rhinoceros, a commercial 3D computer graphics and computer-aided design (CAD) application software. After creating the design the cup models were printed using a 3-D printer in the Smith Lab, Griggs then made a 3-part plaster mold of the cup which will be cast to create 100 identical ceramic cups. But they will not be identical for long as they will be decorated with ceramic decals designed and cut using the Smith Lab's Trotec laser cutter. Once applied the cups will be glazed, fired and ready for use.

The lab seeks to jumpstart the school's new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programs and foster local innovation and entrepreneurship.

“STEAM is a way to teach how all things relate to each other, in school and in life. It’s more fun than traditional learning styles and makes more sense to all types of learners because it is based on the natural ways that people learn and are interested in things,” True said.