Arts school gets new laboratory, resident instructor

Published 6:13 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening of the Pocosin School of Fine Craft’s new Erica D. Smith Digital Fabrication Laboratory is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at the school in Columbia.

The school is located at 202 Main St., Columbia.

“The addition of the Smith Digital Fabrication Laboratory will expand Pocosin Arts’ fine-craft programs with the latest digital tools, equipment, facilities and innovative programs,” according to the school.

The new facility is named after state Sen. Erica D. Smith, a Democrat who represents the 3rd District in the State Senate. The district includes Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Hertford, Martin, Northampton, Tyrrell and Washington counties.

“The confidence demonstrated by the State of North Carolina in Pocosin Arts to build and deliver Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math (STEAM) programs has helped us gain additional support for from the Grable Foundation,” said Marlene True, the school’s executive director, in an emailed statement. “Beginning Sept.1, 2018 Pocosin will welcome a new resident to run and teach youth programs in the Smith Lab. Students will learn to create using computer-aided design software, 3-D printers, laser cutter, CNC Shopbot, an electronics bench and vinyl cutter.”

True continued: “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. For example, Kitty Hawk ceramics artist Lea Griggs is creating 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 Prusa 3-D printer in the Smith Lab. Griggs then made a 3-part plaster mold of the cup which will be slip 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 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.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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