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Recreating Traditional Oil Lamps

We were approached by artist, Alice Martin, to print a series of traditional oil lamps, as part of her exhibition for the Seed Fund Commission by Look Again.

The 3D models were sourced from the Global Digital Heritage made available through SketchFab.

The HP Jet Fusion 4200 was chosen for this task, thanks to its high resolution 0.08mm layer height, not only allowing us to recreate the high level of detail that the files contained, but also to achieve the smooth surface finish straight out of the printer, that would require minimum prep work prior to casting.

Alice then took the 3D prints and used them as masters in order to create silicone moulds. The final forms were then cast in wax, recreating the traditional oil lamp, but using 21st century technology.

The models were printed in two halves to allow our client to subsequently cast the lamps in two sections, not only mirroring how the lamps of the time were originally created, but also allowing integration of LEDs.

The title of Alice's commission is "(re)seeing", hinting at the notion of viewing a subject in a different light. Here is what she had to say:

“I am producing a distinct collection of archaeological material which will focus on functionality, preservation of colour and the everyday. I aim to convey this through 3D modelling, 3D printing, casting, digital prints, and video/projection works.”

“Oil lamps are one aspect of the collection. Using new technology to recreate ancient artefacts will allow me to convey a certain history of change and shifting purpose. Namely, in this case, the progression from candle to oil and concluding with modern lighting.”

The lamps will be shown alongside the rest of the commission as part of an Online Residency, running from the 2nd - 30th September. A phyiscal exhibition is also planned for a later date, but details remain unconfirmed.

Commissioned by Look Again 2020, supported by The Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen City Council.