Wolfville’s Natasha Hope-Simpson inspires NSCAD students, Makers Symposium

Melissa Heald
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Natasha Hope-Simpson was the keynote speaker at NSCAD's first annual Maker Symposium March 28

METRO HALIFAX

As director at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University’s Institute for Applied Creativity, Gregor Ash is often asked to attend class.

In February, when the professor for a constructed forms foundation-year class asked Ash to attend, he made the decision to go.

Speaking that day was Natasha Hope-Simpson, a graduate of NSCAD who had lost her left leg in a car accident five months before.

The Wolfville woman spoke to the class about wanting to design a better prosthetic limb that wasn’t only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.

Inspired by Hope-Simpson, Ash connected her with Kendall Joudrie and Jourdan Dakov of Truro-based Thinking Robot Studios.

“Through email, conference calls, we designed a leg that fits my needs,” said Hope-Simpson.

Together, they designed, engineered and printed — using a 3D printer — a customized prototype prosthetic limb in fewer than four weeks.

Hope-Simpson was on hand at NSCAD’s Port Campus March 28 to share her story as the keynote speaker at the city’s first annual Makers Symposium.

Running from Friday to Sunday, the goal of the symposium is to link the growing maker community in Nova Scotia.

“A maker is someone who makes stuff,” explained Ash, relating them to problem solvers. “Sometimes that stuff turns into an invention, sometimes it’s art and sometimes it’s just play.

“There’s so much talent here, so much infrastructure that already exists and there’s a lot of ideas,” Ash continued.

I’m a bit of a picky client. The two big things were function and aesthetics. Natash Hope-Simpson

“What often is missing is places and opportunity to connect them.”

Ash had struck gold connecting Hope-Simpson to Thinking Robot Studios.

“I’m a bit of a picky client,” said Hope-Simpson about what she was looking for in the design of the prosthetic. “The two big things were function and aesthetics.”

Firstly, she’s a very active person, so it had to fit those needs.

“Aesthetically, I wanted to give back balance to my form,” said Hope-Simpson.

“Your average prosthetic has an asymmetrical look but what would be ideal would be something that will give back symmetry and balance to my form.”

She also wanted to create something more feminine because she finds prosthetics to be mechanical lookin.

Organizations: Nova Scotia College of Art, Design University, Institute for Applied Creativity

Geographic location: Wolfville, Port Campus, Nova Scotia

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