NBCCD presents ‘Debacle’: Letting go of perfection

3D Digital Design Studio Head Jamie Bergin looks at Scrap Yard Robot Grarrl, a 3D printed robot created by Wren Swim. (Submitted: Karen Ruet)

Sitting together in a room this past December, a group of instructors at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design felt weighed down by the challenges of the last two years. They were trying to decide on a name for their upcoming exhibit. Different words were thrown around to no avail until someone suggested the word, “debacle.” It was decided immediately. Debacle, meaning a sudden and humiliating failure, was the perfect name for the exhibit.

Jamie Bergin, studio head of the 3D Digital Design studio and instructor at NBCCD, was the brain behind the suggested title. Bergin and some of her upper-year and graduate students are presenting “Debacle”—  an exhibit featuring an array of three-dimensional digital art ranging from 3-D printed objects to 2-D prints of digital designs.

Bergin said she sometimes experiences feelings of self-doubt about her leadership and art skills.

“The self-doubt starts creeping in, and I’m like, ‘what am I doing? My work is terrible. I don’t even deserve to be a teacher.’ You can give in to these feelings or you can challenge yourself to move ahead, to be brave, to try it,” said Bergin. “Maybe you will fail, maybe you won’t. But most of the time, you learn really valuable things from just being brave enough to move forward and forget about perfectionism.”

In order to embrace the spirit of abandoning perfectionism and facing the challenges of life head on, the instructors gave their students a challenge.

Bergin gave her students one week to create something new. The rules were that it could not be something they had previously been working on and that it had to be something that “brings meaning to them.”

The finished art pieces are on display in the George Fry Gallery, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, a virtual exhibit was curated by the gallery and made available to the public on Jan. 27.

NBCCD student Wren Swim created a 3-D printed dinosaur titled “Scrap Yard Robot Grarrl” for the exhibition.

Swim printed his piece on the studio’s best printer. He said the printer usually never causes any problems, but this time something did go wrong.

“When it was printed, the resin pieces merged together. It just failed in such a strange way. It was this lump of little resin bits. It just felt like a debacle. Everything that could have gone wrong with it did go wrong.”

Swim purchased a dremel, a sanding tool used in crafting, and went to work in the week he was given to bring his piece to life.

“Being able to just take that week and finally look at this model … that felt really good. It felt like taking a debacle and sort of making something of it,” said Swim.