This week's Designer Spotlight focuses on Mark Bloomfield of ElectroBloom. His customizable jewelry designs let you be part of the creative process, by adding charms to a bracelet or choosing your own colors.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
Hi, I'm Mark Bloomfield and I'm a designer living in London. I've always been obsessed with making things and there was a time when I used to make stuff by hand! It would always be small sized objects so jewelry became my area of choice, although I have designed and made all sorts of things.
What's the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I've designed and made jewelry for many companies over the last 20 years. In 2011, I decided it was time to design my own collection that would be made using 3D Printing. I'm inspired by many things and love figuring out how they work, particularly natural forms. It was the sheer diversity in the natural world that led me to devise a customizable system and allows customers to build their own jewelry items and participate in the creative process.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
I was researching rapid prototyping machines, and I came across Shapeways as an alternative to buying our own kit. We used different service bureaux before buying our own 3D printer. When I finished working with that company I wasted no time setting up a Shapeways account!
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I have always loved making things and I also got into home computing early on so 3D modeling was like a natural next step. Although 3D modeling in the early 80's was very basic it's been very rewarding growing with the software, I've used many different types of 3D software over the years but decided in 1999 to focus on Blender which is just brilliant and free!
How do you promote your work?
I keep getting sales through my Shapeways shop, which is great as I don't do that much promotion. I am now gearing up for a sales drive and I'm talking to traditional retailers and magazines. It's best to be active in as many channels as possible, both on and off line in order to get as many potential customers interested in your products.
Who are your favourite designers or artists?
I'm a big fan of the historical classics like Lalique, Faberge, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Leonardo da Vinci and Karl Blossfeldt.
Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
It's very inspirational to see so many individual designers realising their ideas with Shapeways. The brilliant thing about the community is that there are always new ideas happening daily, something that just doesn't happen with traditional forms of manufacture. Dario Scapitta is really good at putting together a collection and he's produced some stunning designs that all work well together, his Black Rose collection is my favorite. I love what Museum of Small Things are doing, they are like little treasures you can wear. Probably one of the first designers I discovered on Shapeways was Up To Much and I still really like his combination of engineering and jewelry. Colors of Birch are doing some really interesting accessories and jewelry, and I love their branding! And Colleen Jordan's planters are just brilliant, everyone should have one!
If you weren't limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Most of my work is based on natural systems and it would be wonderful to be able to print the designs using a true multi-material printer. Just imagine different material properties and characteristics in a single build! It could mean that the designs could move or change shape allowing them to open or close based on heat or even change colour or light up when it went dark, one day, perhaps soon!