We’re kicking off this holiday season with a lovely (festive) designer, Harry Burger of Lightbringer Designs. Harry runs a very unique shop specializing in wax seals. He also designs signet rings, offers cufflinks, and more. It’s a unique, old art being brought to the 21st century through modern technology and we think it’s really working!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I’m a mechanical engineer focused on product design from Long Island, NY.
What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
Wax seals and signet rings make your letters and packages stand out from the rest – literally. People see it, they touch it, and with my wax they smell it. This really grabs their attention and sticks in their memory. Most people have only ever seen one in a movie or on TV, so to get one in the mail is a special treat. Many of my customers are looking to dress up their Christmas cards or wedding invitations, making a seal of their company logo for direct mail marketing, or they are part of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA). I’ve also made seals associated with guilds for online games or family heritage, such as Scottish clan badges, and I have many stock designs for various special occasions and symbols of faith.
They were the main way to protect correspondence from the Pharaohs of Egypt up until the invention of the lick and seal envelope in the early 20th century, but 3D printing blends that nostalgia with modern technology.
There’s no need to worry that the seals will get stuck in the mail sorting machines or otherwise damaged in transit. While traditional sealing wax is brittle, I am the primary retailer for Atelier Gargoyle, widely regarded as the best sealing wax in the world. When I traveled to New Zealand, I mailed letters ahead of time from New York – if seals can survive that trip, they should take any abuse that the rest of the letter can.
This year, I’m premiering the Gingerbread Man wax seal just in time for the holiday cards season, along with limited edition sealing wax with the color and fragrance of oven fresh gingerbread. I still have a few sticks left of peppermint scented red wax from last year to go with the candy cane seal. I’m getting started early this year because I need any custom orders in bronze or brass before November 5 to have them ready for sending out holiday cards the first week in December. I’ve made up a calendar to explain other deadlines, and a blog post answering the most common questions I get about custom seals and rings.
One thing that makes my seals special is they all have the same design on the top of the handle, which makes it much easier to avoid sealing the parcel crooked, and if you have several seals, you can tell which is which without needing to pick them up. Most other seals have a round wooden handle, which makes this a bit more tricky. My newest designs also have elliptical handles so you can feel when you have it straight.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
My first inspiration to make a wax seal came from a demonstration at the Long Island Pen Show by Ian K. I had previously tried to use my class ring to seal an envelope with paraffin candle wax once, but that just made a mess – he introduced me to proper sealing wax. My uncle does 3D modeling for animation, and he pointed out Shapeways as a way I could 3D print in metal.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
I learned SolidWorks from a CAD class at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. I figured out how to make wax seals from experience designing parts for injection molding and a bit of trial and error.
How do you promote your work?
I have an email list and a blog, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounts. One time I gave a presentation to the Long Island Consultants Network on all things 3D printed, that’s on my YouTube channel along with a much shorter video on how to use a wax seal. I sometimes sell at craft fairs, and I just finished mailing postcards to all my customers from the past year to promote the holiday line.
Who are your favorite designers or artists? Who in the Shapeways community has served as an inspiration to you?
I give props to Mstyle183, who made the Left Shark figures and stood up to the lawyers trying to stop him.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
Back when there was the giant Easter Egg in NYC, I had the idea to make a 3D printed egg that was a giant cage, with balls inside and a Marble Works type track system complete with a Ferris Wheel or a 360 loop and an Archimedes screw arrangement so you could bring the balls back to the top, all 3D printed in one job. Something to really show off what 3D printing can do, that no other technology can. That’s not limited so much by what the technology can do as it is limited by budget and the fact that I learned about the egg hunt a bit too late. I would design it to just fit inside your biggest WSF printer.
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT THIS SHOP:
- Great branding – shop logo and banner match
- Nice general information provided in the shop description
- Shop sections for easy shopping
- Contact information is readily available
- Really great photography to show context of products
Thanks so much, Harry! Such a perfect shop to kick off the holidays with, but also to highlight as a really unique way to combine an old art with new technology. The customization options are endless! Don’t forget to follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Lightbringerdesigns.com.