Vancouver artist Emily Mitchell has a story to tell. But it’s not one she tells with words. In her Shapeways shop Osprey Design, she uses delicately designed jewelry pieces to draw out the secret histories of everything from insects to Ancient Roman keys to video game objects. We recently learned more about Emily’s influences, and what she hopes to inspire in those who wear her jewelry.
What inspires your designs?
I want my designs to tell stories, and I find a lot of inspiration in the world around me. That includes both things found in nature and artifacts from human history. When people see an intriguing or beautiful object, they ask themselves what its story is; who made it? When? Where does it come from? And, I think most importantly; what did it mean to the people who once owned it? Similarly, when we look at nature, we see beauty and patterns in the structures of plants and animals. We feel inspired by the industriousness of ants, the toughness of armadillos, and we like to carry those symbols with us to remind us of how we want to go about our own lives. So when someone wears one of my designs, I hope that they feel connected to its story, and it gives them opportunities to share that story with others.
How did you come to offer your work on Shapeways?
After learning to create sculptures digitally, I thought it would be fun to try to 3D print some of my creations. Shapeways offered such a variety of materials that it opened up a lot of possibilities for things I could make. I was especially impressed with the ability to 3D print in metals, allowing me to create delicate and interesting pieces of jewelry without the need for a metalworking studio.
What was your process when it came to learning 3D design?
I learned digital modeling and sculpting through courses and videos online. My interest at the beginning (and still now!) was learning to create art for video games, so I found CGCookie was a great resource for learning my way around the necessary software. For 3D printing I work entirely in Blender, a free and open-source program which has a great community always ready to offer assistance and insight.
When it comes to other artists’ work, what do you find most inspiring?
I’ve always found traditional figurative sculpture to be really inspiring. I love being able to look at a sculpture and really feel the emotion of the individual or character it’s depicting.