This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Ina Suffeleers, a Belgian tech freelancer whose collection of jewelry was the result of a collaboration with an industrial designer in Uruguay!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
For as long as I can remember I have been creatively active; I’ve always loved making stuff. I have worked in the technology industry and have been designing jewelry as a personal interest with passion for years. Discovering 3D printing brought these two worlds together. I live close to Leuven, one of the nicest university cities in Belgium. Apart from my jewelry business, I also work as a marketing freelancer, mainly for technology startup companies.
What's the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I don’t wear much jewelry myself so most of my inspiration comes from everyday discoveries and other designers. I love organic shapes and textures and find a lot of those in nature. The idea for the texture of my current collection came from an antique kitchen sifter so I get ideas and inspiration from a multitude of influences.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
My neighbor Kaento introduced me to 3D printing and Shapeways, as he has a shop too. I was amazed by the technology and immediately saw this as an opportunity to create my own jewelry. I am not a metal smith so I was always limited to jewelry supplies and designs that were available on the market. I was never able to really design and create my own pieces. 3D printing changed all that!
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
Soon after I learned about 3D printing I was determined to develop a collection. I put my designs on paper, sketched what every single piece should look like in detail and then I tried to model that in 3D. I quickly realized this was going to take ages. Not only to master the tool but to get the model to actually resemble my designs and get them to the point that they could be properly printed. So I looked for and found a great product designer Andres Roppa to help me model all the pieces and complete the project. It took about 10 months until the entire collection was finished. It's been a great collaboration, especially given the fact we live +10.000 km apart, never met nor talked during those 10 months, just communicated over email!
How do you promote your work?
I’ve only officially launched in August and have just promoted the collection through social media so far, so you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. I am focusing now on finding retailers and stockists as for jewelry, a lot of people still do want to feel and try on the pieces before they buy. A lot of people are also not familiar with the polyamide material so there is a certain threshold to buy online. As of November I will participate at some fairs and approach specialized media to introduce the collection.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I’m a big fan of Nervous System. Not only their jewelry but also their lighting designs are amazing. There are so many great designs on Shapeways, it’s difficult to name just a few, but these egg cups are one of my all-time favorites.
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I would love to design and 3D print personalized pop-up postcards! Wow that sounds like a great idea! I can't wait to see what Ina creates next. For now I can browse her Shapeways Shop or check out her website. Inspired? Discover more talented Shapeways Designers on our blog, or submit one of your own by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.