My interview with My Mini Factory
We are delighted to introduce Genevieve Schwartz as this months Featured Designer. Gen has designed a collection specifically for My Mini Factory Jewellery themed around geometrical shapes and mathematical forms. The collection contains beautiful interlocking rings and two-part pendants that connect together irresistibly, adding a playful and tactile dynamic when worn stacked or independently. We went to meet her in her beautiful North London studio for a chat about her inspirations, love of 3D printing, and life as a My Mini Factory Studio’s Designer. Watch our video interview at the bottom of this post for some more highlights from the day.
So Gen, could you tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m 25, I grew up in London surrounded by creative minds! My mother is a painter and my sister is a photographer. Art has been in my life since the beginning and I learned how to make it my own with Jewellery.
Where did you learn 3D design?
At Holts Academy in the heart of London’s jewellery district, Hatton Gardens.
Which software do you use?
Rhino and Matrix but I really want to start using ZBrush.
Interlocking ring 1 and 2, Genevieve Schwartz
Interlocking rings, MyMiniFactory.com
When did you start designing for 3D printing?
Where does your passion for designing and 3D printing come from?
From my interest in the process of manufacture and with it, all of modern technology’s exciting developments. These have enabled designers like myself to experiment with so many different ideas!
What’s been your biggest project?
My biggest project has been designing My Mini Factory’s first ever jewellery collection. It consists of about fifteen different pieces and was based on interrelating geometrical shapes.
Is there any project you never managed to design/print?
I think every CAD designer has these! Projects they have conceived in a moment of creative inspiration but not yet had all the components ready to print. Or have not yet worked out the details of how it will work. In my case, as a jewellery designer, I am most often stopped by having to find a gemstone which exactly fits my design. But I store all these for a rainy day when I might need some new pieces to add to a collection.
Temptation rings, Genevieve Black
What are you working on at the moment?
A collection based on the traditional Irish Claddagh design but with a modern twist.
Sounds interesting, what’s your process for creating a design?
Usually an idea will come to me when I least expect it. Normally this happens when I am out and about and see something I like and think “hey, that would be interesting as a necklace or bracelet?”. Because I am a jewellery designer by trade, most of my ideas come to me through a consideration of whether an object is ‘wearable’ or not. Then I let my imagination inspire my research and work out the best way to make my idea into a reality.
Ball and Sphere pendant, Genevieve Schwartz, MyMiniFactory.com
Ball and Sphere ring in B9 Yellow resin.
When was the first time you saw a 3D printer ? Do you remember what went through your head?
The first time I saw a 3D printer was in a YouTube video. Our tutor was teaching us about additive and reductive 3D printing processes and used videos to highlight the differences. The first thing that probably went through my head was about how obsolete humans seems to be becoming! But then I remembered how these machines need to be programmed and that humans design the objects that are printed. Watching a 3D printer work is genuinely hypnotising, and the detail possible in the final prints is remarkable.
Do you own a 3D printer ?
No, unfortunately not.
Lace ring, Genevieve Schwartz, MyMiniFactory.com
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes mostly from images I see in my day-to-day life. Sometimes I won’t even realise certain objects have inspired me and then when I sit down to sketch, I find myself drawing inspiration from these objects.
My degree in Art History has also always had a heavy influence on my designs as I am very inspired by ideas from previous artistic movements. In particular Art Deco designs from the 1920s. I hope to one day design a collection based around this eras stylistic principles and ideas.
Do you use social media to promote your work? What’s your relationship with your followers?
Yes, I use it frequently! I find Instagram particularly useful as modern consumers like new images and so I find this to be a very good way to constantly be engaging with new potential customers, especially when writing interesting daily copy isn’t my strong point!
D ring, Genevieve Schwartz, MyMiniFactory.com
Genevieve, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking with you and thank you for showing us round your wonderful studio. We can’t wait to see the new designs your working on.
Genevieve’s collection was printed in B9 Yellow resin using a B9 Creator. The prints were then cast directly into Sterling Silver and hand polished. A selection of her interlocking ring designs, lace rings, and pendants are now available to buy from the MyMiniFactory Jewellery Shop. We will be adding more finished pieces to the collection soon so keep a look out for those..and to keep an eye on what Gen’s up to, check out her website GenevieveBlack.com, Instagram, and her facebook. Also check out her My Mini Factory profile page and give her a tip if you like what’s she’s doing.
Some exciting news from GB HQ - I have recently been honoured with the opportunity to work with leading London-based 3D printing company My Mini Factory as they expand into the area of jewellery design and manufacture.
MMF was launched in 2013 and provides 3D designers form all over the world with a platform to share, promote and even earn money from their designs. Described as the Vimeo or Soundcloud of 3D printing, this company leads the way in increasing the accessibility of 3D printed objects. Being involved with MMF Jewellery at such an early stage in its development is hugely exciting and I have really enjoyed working with them over the last few months.
My residency at MMF has consisted of designing one of their first 3D printed jewellery collections. Once printed in resin, this collection will be cast into sterling silver using traditional casting methods and will be available to buy online via their jewellery shop. My collection is based on geometry and the satisfaction that comes from the harmony of interrelating shapes. Below are some sketches of my collection to whet your appetite!
3D printed jewellery has been developing in the industry over the last fifteen years. However, more recently it has become central to the design and manufacture of modern day jewellery.
I trained in CAD design at Holts Academy in 2014. Since then I have been using the skills I acquired to create striking designs that I finish using my traditional jewellery manufacturing skills. Learning this process has been fundamental for my development as a designer and has enabled me to take on new projects that would not have been possible before.
As well as designing a collection, I will be hosting live video streams of my CAD production on MMF TV over the next few months. This will give viewers the opportunity to learn about CAD design, as well as to ask me any questions they might have. I will be posting about these streams as they happen so be sure to stay up to date by following me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (links below.)
To celebrate the launch of MMF Jewellery, they have been running a jewellery design competition which has been inspiring designers all over the world to come up with interesting ideas for wearable 3D printed jewellery. I even had a go myself, designing a ring based on an HB pencil (see below). All designs that were entered into the competition are currently being printed and you will have the opportunity to vote for your favourite in the upcoming weeks! Find out more at: https://www.myminifactory.com/category/Jewellery
Over the next week I will be applying the finishing touches to my collection and gearing up for some filming sessions! Check on social media for updates on when my collection will be ready to buy both here and on the MMF website!
This piece was based on a special customers favourite childhood film Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This image of an elephant eaten by a boa constrictor is a familiar motif from the story and was used by the narrator to demonstrate the difference in the way children and adults perceive the same things. The narrator reveals that upon seeing this drawing of the elephant, the grown-ups in his life convinced him not to become a painter but instead undertake a more practical hobby.
Hand engraved in sterling silver, this piece acts as a reminder to take a step back from my everyday adult life and attempt to reconnect with my childhood imagination.
Le Petit Prince is a poetic tale, with watercolour illustrations by the author. The story is philosophical and includes social criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world. It is set to be released by Paramount Pictures as an animated film later this year.
I for one cannot wait!
To celebrate the festive season Genevieve Black was asked by Head Designer of Mr Jones Watches, Crispin Jones, to work with him on a design for a temporary tattoo watch for his annual newsletter. Using her experience as a designer for Gilded Ink Tattoos, Black and Jones (along with some of Santa's most talented elves!) gathered in the studio to create the perfect Christmas design. This temporary tattoo may look like a watch, but it does not tell the time. But who needs to know the time on the only day of the year when time doesn’t matter?! The baubles and stockings can be used to hang off your existing watch to celebrate the run up to the big day. Black says, “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Mr Jones on this project and I look forward to wearing the watch on Christmas Day!”
Only 17 days to go! Make sure you order your Gilded Ink Tattoos soon to ensure delivery before Christmas!
Also, make sure you check out the vast array of innovative watches available at Mr Jones Watches. They too make great Christmas presents!
Over the last few months, Genevieve Black has teamed up with new business partner Dan Kagan to create a new boutique temporary tattoo brand; Gilded Ink Tattoos.
Black has designed a range of jewellery tattoos for the fashion conscious. Gilded Ink specialises in bridging the gap between temporary tattoos and real jewellery. Through the medium of metallic ink, Gilded Ink Tattoos are able to appear like real jewellery but without the price tag! The perfect accessory for any outfit, these tattoos give you the opportunity to experiment with how and where you wear your jewels. Combine, arrange and experiment to your hearts content!
Dare to be different. See examples @gildedinktattoos on Instagram.
So happy to announce the completion of my Biblically themed Eve and Serpent ring. I designed and made this ring using 3D CAD Design - a relatively modern technique which is taking the jewellery industry by storm! (If you would like to learn more about this process, see my blog post 'A Beginner's Guide to Jewellery Commissions' below ). This has been an unbelievably rewarding commission and I would like to thank my customer for giving me the opportunity to create this piece.
These rings will be available to buy on my website in the next few weeks!
WATCH THIS SPACE!!
Every year the GCDC holds a competition which promotes the work of dedicated and supremely talented craftsmen and designers in the jewellery industry. This year I am honoured to say that I personally know one of the winners! Congratulations to fellow classmate and unbelievably talented designer Hang Yeung (aka Kylie Apricot, Designer maker at Dew Drop Jewellery) in the category of Jewellery Design (sponsored by Marcia Lanyon).
STEP 4. 3D Printing has revolutionised the world of jewellery. Once a design has been 'built' in 3D using a CAD programme like Matrix, it can be sent to a printer which will print it in wax. These printers use an additive process which creates layers of wax, one by one, according to the specifications of your design. Below is an image of my piece printed in wax.
As this is my first blog post, I felt it would be fitting to go through a commission from start to finish. A lot of people ask me about this process and how it works. So readers, here it is, from original idea to finished piece!
STEP 1. A customer recently approached me with the diamond from her mother's engagement ring. She wasn't too keen on the band and wanted to repurpose the stone into a fresh, updated and more personal design.
STEP 2. Then came the hardest part... deciding on what to make. Often customers aren't really sure. Others are too sure and find it hard to accept limitations. This process is definitely the greatest challenge of bespoke/commission based work - but luckily it's the part I like best! Over several cups of tea and tables covered in books, we came up with an idea that we were both happy with.
STEP 3. CAD. As I have recently completed my training in 3D CAD design I wanted to push my skills to the limit. The final design we chose is made up entirely of organic forms and depicts Eve and the Serpent from the Garden of Eden. Both figures wrap around the band and join at the back of the ring with the diamond forming the centre of the piece (as it should!) Although a difficult challenge, after a week or two the design was finished and ready to print!
STEP 5. Once you have your wax model, you can have it cast into metal using a process similar to that of lost wax carving for ancient bronze sculptures. Below is a video which conveys this method (and includes the making of a silicone mould which can be used to cast larger quantities of the same piece).
STEP 6. Your piece is ready to be cleaned up, polished and set.
STEP 7. Deliver to your happy customer!
*Will post a finished picture of the ring when I get it back from the casters.*
Until then, thanks for reading! More blog posts coming soon...