Exploring the material culture of video games through jewelry and metalwork

Our chat with Lauren Eckert

April 23, 2021

How do we make the virtual into tangible objects? Multimedia object maker Lauren Eckert maintains an art practice that is centered on material craft and skill, but informed by the virtual. Lauren’s specialty is metalsmithing and jewelry-making and says “a material culture in video games that is not constrained by the tangible or real.”  Her work spans the fields digital fabrication, video, audio, and robotics which are then poured back into the word of crafts.

In this talk, we looked at how she takes inspiration from interstellar spaceships, medical imaging equipment, early smartphone designs, and video game controllers. We’ll talk about her alchemical process of working with her hands to transform metal (anodizing, etc.), and the interventions she’s hoping to make in the legacy of the craft. Lauren talked through her creative process and showcase some of her approaches to tools like Rhino and Zbrush. Finally, we talked through some of the finished work and the fabrication process with 3D printing as well as reactive metals.

Lauren Eckert is a multimedia object maker, illustrator, and art conservator from New Jersey. Her work has been exhibited in venues such as Museum Arnhem, Amsterdam, NL; Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN; Form & Concept Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; New York City Jewelry Week; and Peters Valley School of Craft, Layton, NJ. Her work has been included in the 2018 SNAG Jewelry and Metals Survey, Current Obsession’s series “SO MINT!” and Hyperallergic. She has written for Current Obsession and Metalsmith.

Eckert attended Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia where she received her Bachelors of Fine Art in Metals/Jewelry/CAD-CAM in 2019. She is currently studying part-time at the Rowan College of South Jersey, Rowan University, and Temple University as a pre-program art conservator.

She was a Studio Assistant at Peters Valley School of Craft and an Artist in Residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. She was recently an artist in residence at the Hunterdon Museum of Art as part of the From the Ground Up: Peter’s Valley School of Craft exhibition.

Eckert is based in Philadelphia, PA.