Autumn Mobius, a kinetic botanical sculpture - Kevin CaronSometimes, perhaps often, the art of creation leads to, well, something I didn’t expect.

That can mean a happy accident (someday I swear I am going to have a show titled “Happy Accident”!) or more fodder for the trash barrel.

When working with large scale 3D printing, I experience a lot of misfires. Often it’s operator error. Sometimes I need to reseat the print on the bed, tweak a setting, cool down or heat up where the 3D printer is installed, or change filament. Other times it is just bad fortune – or even bad filament or a power outage.

Lately I’ve been playing with a leaf motif in both my metal and 3D printing practices. The first sculpture I created in this series is the kinetic aluminum sculpture Autumn Mobius (above, right) (definitely click on the link to see a video of this 6-1/2-foot tall sculpture spin!). Now I’m fascinated by these leaves, all of which are modeled on actual specimens, and creating new sculptures, including a mobile titled Falling Leaves.

I’m also having fun with the leaves using 3D printing. I’ve printed a small wreath with them that is now covered with gesso and awaiting its paint job.

After I printed it, I decided to go big and 3D-printed the wreath shown below, which is 23″ in diameter. I used rainbow filament for both wreaths, which gives them surprisingly consistent coloration for each leaf.

as-yet-untitled leaf wreath - Kevin CaronBut for some reason, as you can see, the big wreath didn’t print properly. Overextrusion caused the globby look, but I still don’t know why the center of some of the the Japanese maple leaves didn’t print.

I was ready to toss the whole thing (a boneyard of my failed prints might make an interesting sculpture), but was urged to reconsider. “I think it looks super cool!” said my business manager. We posted the wreath on social media to get a response, but frankly, you have to see it to get a real feel for it.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this print (Paint it? Trash it?), but I do want to adjust the extrusion output and play with the design, maybe making the leaves a little taller. Then I’ll reslice it in Simplify and reprint it.

I’m still not quite sure where this road will lead, but then, that’s all part of making art ….