This past Friday, Saturday and Sunday I participated in the first three of a six-day studio tour in the north part of the Valley of the Sun, where I live. It gave me a great opportunity to introduce my 3D printed sculpture and jewelry – you learn a lot when you talk directly to the public.

Yes, the jewelry and some of my 3D printed sculpture debuted at Shemer Art Center‘s show “Materialize,” but I wasn’t there day in and day out. At this event, I got to talk to a lot of people. Kevin Caron's Progeny sculpturese at Hidden In The Hills

About 700 people came through during the first three days of Hidden In The Hills, which is celebrating its 18th year as a studio tour. Nearly 200 artists are showing their work in 50 studios scattered across three towns. A lot of attendees come every year; for some it is a holiday tradition.

So they are used to looking at art. There are also people who are just along for the ride, as well as a number of artists checking out the competition.

There are six artists in the studio I’m in, BH Bowman studio in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’m at the entrance with a couple of fine art sculptures as well as my home & garden line (bugs, ocotillos, Shitake Agaves and such), sound sculptures and, this year, 3D printed jewelry and sculpture.

As people come in, we greet and engage with them. Some are speechless about the 3D printed jewelry and sculptures, some are curious, and a few are uninterested. Many want to know what 3D printing is all about. I thought about bringing a printer, but instead I have a photo of the Gigante and use it to explain how it feeds the filament and prints.

I’m definitely encouraged by the response. More are interested than not. A number of them say this is the first time they have ever seen something that has been printed on a 3D printer. We often hand them an earring so they can feel how light it is. The vibrant colors speak for themselves. We’ve sold four pairs of earrings, which is encouraging.

There is less interest in the Progeny line of small 3D printed sculptures. People enjoy picking them up but don’t seem interested in having one.

Vessel, a fine art contemporary sculpture by Kevin CaronThe big news, though, is that I sold Vessel (right), a 31″ x 9″ x 9″ sculpture that I printed on the Gigante. This excites me – people are able to see what I am doing as art.

I have no doubt about that myself, because of the design that goes into each piece, and also the manipulation and creation that is part of the process. Tools have always been part of my work – they influence its form and proportion as well as allow me to make my sculptures.

3D printing is no different, although there is a lot more math (most people would be surprised how much math I use as an artist). I am constantly working with the printer and the software to create what I want, which creates an energy I channel into each piece as I learn how the equipment works and what it can do.

Pushing that envelope is part of the challenge and the fun.

The second half of Hidden In The Hills starts this Friday. So now we’ll get to see what more people have to say ….