Designer Spotlight: Maaike van der Horn

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Maaike van der Horn, whose fascination with 3D printing led to its application in her traditional gold-smithing work. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?

My name is Maaike van der Horn and I design jewelry, both 3D printed and made with traditional techniques. I live in Amsterdam and my jewelry brand is called MCODE

What’s the story behind your designs?

How big is our freedom of creation? I use free open source software like SketchUp to design, and I am completely self-taught in 3D design. I started with SketchUp tutorials via YouTube and step by step I learnt. I get so inspired by the idea that everything is possible and that the freedom of creation is endless. I love how anyone with an idea can now make their idea come to life, without the need for formal training or large budgets. My designs are a demonstration of this freedom of creativity.

What inspires you?

I remember drawing patterns for hours on end as an eight-year old, entranced by their beauty and how these patterns evolve and change depending on how you look at them. I often get inspired by all kinds of buildings and architecture; be it by 1930′s buildings while cycling through Amsterdam or by highway structures while I am driving. My favourite bracelet design was actually inspired by a highway noise reduction barrier! I study at the School for Goldsmithing in Schoonhoven, The Netherlands. Many of the things I design are so complex that they would not be possible using traditional techniques, and I love how 3D printing takes jewelry design to the next level.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?

Two years ago I first learnt about 3D printing from a newspaper article and was instantly fascinated. I visited the Shapeways website and read about how to 3D model with SketchUp and Blender, and it went from there! Sometimes I wonder if I should start using more professional tools but exploring how far one can get using free software is essential to my work.

How do you promote your work?

I love to connect via my Facebook MCODE page and I love to tell about how I learnt to 3D design and to create when meeting customers. My main message is that the fun and delight of creating is now accessible to anyone.

Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?

Of course Nervous System has been a great inspiration. Their designs, their concept and their story match perfectly. Also, Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests never fail to amaze me.

Check out Maaike’s jewelry on her Shapeways Shop or her Etsy Shop and if you’d like to be featured in the next Designer Spotlight, email natalia@shapeways.com.