Designer Spotlight: Iza Grun

This weeks Designer Spotlight focuses on Iza Grun, the jewelry artist with wanderlust and a serious eye for capturing natural forms and translating them into wearable art.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
Hi, I’m Iza and half a year ago I founded IZ4 fine art jewellery. Right after graduating as an architect in Bucharest, I started working in Brussels, Antwerp, and then in Ghent, for 4 years – as a designer for the Wim Delvoye studio. Currently based in Berlin, I plan a future move to a hot sunny place somewhere in South Asia. I love the fact that Shapeways makes it possible for people like me to live and work wherever they choose, while being able to run their business and make their ideas come to life.

What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
For as long as I can remember, I was drawn to the intrinsic rules of the natural form. A fascination that, as a kid, kept me watching a bird building its apparently chaotic nest for hours, twisting and turning the spiral of a seashell on the beach, or marveling for days at the beauty of a butterfly cocoon before its unavoidable hatching. As you can tell, my work has been influenced immensely by these early explorations. The search for meaning and reason within the shapes and patterns that evolution has brought to our world went on while studying architecture, much to the dislike of some teachers. Later on, while working on Wim Delvoye’s Gothic works, I had to retrace the steps of the grand masters of the Gothic Era through their mesmerizing ornamental work.

What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I had the chance to be amazed rather often by the humble “It’s alive!” box from Shapeways during my work in Wim Delvoye’s studio. Each time getting that ‘Christmas is here!’ feel. The idea of founding IZ4 came to be because of Shapeways. I have to admit that each time I make a new piece, I’m tempted to see what are the actual limits of what Shapeways can make, and each time I am amazed. Thank you guys!

How did you learn how to design in 3D?
Advanced 3D skills were a must while studying architecture. However, working on the Gothic line of steel structures and sculptures of the belgian artist Wim Delvoye gave me the opportunity to further develop my abilities in various 3d modelling software packages. Ultimately though, the hand crafted / artisanal ‘feel’ of my work seems to be valued much over my technical skills. I insist on modelling everything ‘by hand’ (and I love Zbrush together with my Wacom tablet), rather than jumping into the script generated pool of artists. The process of discovering the hidden logic of a natural structure, and then applying it to an abstract shape, while keeping in mind all the technological restrictions, is what makes my work as a jewellery designer into a profoundly enjoyable and rewarding puzzle.

How do you promote your work?
I have found that promoting my work as an independent artist, in a market dominated by fashion giants, is the most challenging part. Everybody’s swamped by unreasonable amounts of various types of content daily – each one demanding our attention. That’s why I believe successful marketing will increasingly be more about what your favorite blogger recommends, or the opinion of a friend, who already tried it, and less about which piece of advertising reaches your eyes first. So for now, I’m trying this strategy but I’m looking into various other ways. I’d love to cross paths with an art gallery or a fine art jewellery stockist.



Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?

Hideki Tokushige‘s demure and fragile art. Kris Kuksi‘s intricate structures. H. R. Giger‘s surrealism. I admire the work of jewellery designers, such as Jo Hayes Ward, Jaqcueline Cullen and Kim Mee Hye.

If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
The limitations that currently frustrate me, and I bet others as well, aren’t about the “what” but more about the “how”. I’d love to be able to design independently moving parts within the same piece. And even better would be if I could make them in different metals.  

What is your all-time favorite song?
The toughest question of them all. Right now I’m listening to Fitzpleasure by Alt-J.

Browse more of Iza’s pieces here. Also, support and connect with her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest! If you’d like to be featured, feel free to email aimee@shapeways.com. 

3 comments

  1. james

    I’m interested in both how to design for 3D printing and where I can download free design downloads …can you help me get my foot on the ground with this? thank you. J.J.

    1. Anonymous

      I switch from hand drawings to various design software such as: Autocad, 3Ds Max, Zbrush, Illustrator, then Magics for the final Stl file. I recommend using a Wacom graphic tablet, everything feels much more fluid like that.

      And what do you mean by ‘free design downloads’. You could try http://www.turbosquid.com
      If you really want to learn, i strongly suggest starting from scratch and getting a good feel of the the tools you work with.

      Feel free to ask more specific questions, i will help if i can.

    2. JR

      Hi Iza,
      I’m very impressed with your jewelry designs. I would like to consider creating a custom jewelry line of my own in gold and silver. Is 3D printing able to make solid sterling silver or 14K gold jewelry as found in jewelry stores? And can you recommend a reliable person or company that can take my 2D designs and turn them into an 3D STL file? Is an STL file or CAD file better? Thanks for your help and any comments you might have that I should be aware of regarding designing in silver and gold with polished finishes combined with textures finishes.
      Jeff

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