Since 3D printing in wax has become available, many jewelry designers have shifted their design processes away from analog carving. Without abandoning traditional craft, the CFDA Award-winning studio Pamela Love has adapted its design workflow to incorporate digital design software and 3D printing.
The design director at Pamela Love, Krys Maniecki, spoke with Shapeways Magazine about learning 3D modeling software and about the design process for their Spring/Summer 2017 collection.
What benefits do you see in making digital design part of your workflow?
Designing in 2D limits your imagination a bit. It sometimes prevents you from considering details that you need to consider: how things resolve themselves, how surfaces intersect, things like that.
A 3D workflow enables you to consider those matters more deeply by spinning models around to see how things look in perspective, in a way that might be hard to imagine if you’re just pulling it out of your head.
Why would you choose one 3D modeling tool over another?
Nathan Penny, who works with us, has been using Rhino for years. Rhino does lend itself really well to making jewelry because it’s so exacting. The problem with it is that, when we tried to do representational or organic things in Rhino, it was a lot more difficult.
Sculptris was free and it was recently acquired by Pixologic, so I tried it out and it was fun and easy to use, so we gave it a go. It wasn’t anything more than that. I could basically mimic what our wax carver was doing but with much higher output. A huge hurdle was figuring out how to work with Sculptris and Rhino together, but we eventually found out how to go back and forth pretty easily. Basically, what ends up happening is we used Sculptris for modeling and Rhino to check measurements for printing.
When did you decide to use digital tools to design part of your new season of jewelry?
It really started from the inspiration of designing something simpler and more organic. We experimented with the idea of doing a collection that was all made by hand in our studio. Then, once we shifted our workflow to include digital design, we weren’t necessarily equipped to do things like that. So we tried to figure out a way to combine the hand technique with the 3D flow that we’ve been working with.
We started out working in wax. A lot of the time, we would try to create a representation for each [concept] we were working on by hand in wax because I feel like the meticulousness of having it in your hand and trying to figure out the profile informs the process further out.
After doing something in wax, we would mimic it in 3D to be able to rapidly generate ideas and pieces from there.
This is actually the first season I’ve handled the wax. It was fun, but I tended to break the pieces I’d be working on for hours, so that’s where the 3D processes are more advantageous. You don’t have to worry about pushing too hard and breaking something.
Such that you could edit and undo?
Yes. I do a lot of drawing on the computer, too and the concepting portion of the collection I do on the iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.
When I’m drawing on paper, I feel like hitting Command-Z before realizing this is real life.