This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Chris and Megan of Seedling Design. The pair is interested in mixing 3D printing with traditional materials like wood, ceramics, magnets and textiles, to create playful designs that invite wonder.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
Chris Schmidt and Megan Ender are Seedling Design. We have created jewelry and art for over 10 years and currently work out of our home studio in Oakland, CA. By day Chris is an industrial designer and invents toys for companies such as Mattel, Hasbro, Fisher-Price, MGA and LeapFrog. Megan has a career in non-profit work and art education. We design bold and unique pieces that attract attention and our wish is that you enjoy, get complimented and feel especially delightful wearing our products!
What's the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
Seedling Design stems from the concept of taking a seed of an idea and seeing how we can transform it into something magical. Some concepts we’ve started off with are: Imaginary rock collections, magnetic sculptures, food as jewelry, cool geometry, tensegrity, planet inspired jewelry, self-defense rings, what would our favorite artist’s jewelry look like, textiles with 3D printing, and other mixed media pieces. Inspiration comes from our everyday lives, our childhoods, nature and our interest in geometry, science and technology. We have a list of 200 ideas that keeps growing, including ideas such as how to bring back pop-beads for kids in a modern form.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
In working in the design field for 15 years, Chris has seen the growth of 3D printing and was excited to use the technology. At work Chris uses an FDM (fused deposition modeling) printer all the time, but the output is less than attractive. Any other technology was always too expensive up until we discovered Shapeways. Now we can experiment all we want at a minimal cost.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
When Chris was 15, he downloaded a copy of 3D studio and began to tinker. He went through several other 3D programs such as Animation Master, Truespace, Alias and finally discovered Rhino 3D, which he’s been using for the past 15 years.
How do you promote your work?
Since we are just starting out as a part-time, just for fun company, we’re only in the beginning phases of promoting our work. We started on Etsy and we are experimenting selling our work in several local Oakland shops. Since we both have fulltime jobs, getting ourselves out there has been a slow but informative process and we hope to keep expanding our audience.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
Our favorite artists and designers include: Tara Donovan, Gaudi, Anish Kapoor, Alexander Calder, Buckminster Fuller, Herbert Bayer, Louise Nevelson, Olafur Eliasson, Barbara Hepworth, Gabriel Orozco, Ai Weiwei, Shepard Fairey, Eva Hess and probably 50 more. As far as 3D printing artists, we’ve always liked the work of Nervous System and Bathsheba.
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Everything! Clothing, architecture, toys, but probably not food since we love our California produce
In my youth, when I was backpacking around the world I spent a few months in Seattle but I never got to see the peak of the Mt. Rainier until the day that I flew out of Tacoma airport, and there above the clouds was the peak of the mountain. It is an image burnt into my memory, of a time in my life of freedom and wonder.
Of course as time passes, memory fades and one forgets or exaggerates the past, so it is always nice to have a little something to hold the memory fast in one's mind. A postcard may act as a trigger, but it is so one dimensional, and could never capture 'that view'. Now TinyMtn comes to the rescue with, tiny 3D printed mountains. Now I can have Mt. Ranier 3D printed on my desktop, and when I want to reminisce, I can drop some dry ice in a glass of water for an impromptu cloud, pull out my iPhone with an Olloclip attachment and fly it around the mountain, peering into the screen just like I peered out of the window in awe of the mountain peak, so many years ago. Thank you TinyMtn...
Shapeways community member and design for 3D printing specialist Cunicode has just launched Crayon Creatures, a simple way to take your child's drawing to 3D print thanks to Shapeways 3D printing, because sticking your child's drawing to the fridge is so 2011.
With Crayon Creatures all you need to do is scan or photograph your child's drawing and upload it to be converted into a 3D form, 3D printed and sent to your door. Each drawing is 3d modeled based exactly on the drawing, not wrapped around a default form so every 3D printed figure is as unique as your child's drawing.