One of the great things about being a part of the Shapeways community (in our humble opinion) is the amount of talented designers you are able to connect with. We love seeing community members connecting on our forums, Twitter, Facebook and more. Sometimes those small connections lead to even more, as shown through this beautiful collaboration between two shop owners. Gabriel Prero and Bathsheba put their two talent forces together to create some amazing cufflinks. What we love the most about this product is that it really showcases each designer individually.
We asked them both a few questions about how this all got started. Read on to learn how the idea came about and their (great!) tips on working with other designers.
How did the idea for this collaboration come about?
G: Strangely enough, it came about through the Shapeways Crew. I was doing a Crew presentation for the School of Design at the University of Illinois Chicago, and was sent a sample pack of various Shapeways models. One of those was the ever-iconic Ora by Bathsheba. I’d seen it before online, but never in person, and I was taken aback by just how striking it is in person. Pictures really can’t do it justice. And it’s just a pleasure to hold and play with. So I figured I’d send Bathsheba a note letting her know how much I loved the piece. She replied that she had gotten many requests for cufflink versions, and asked if I’d be interested in the collaboration. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity.
B: Well, it started when Gabriel wrote to me that he had got one of my “Ora” pieces and liked it. People have asked me for cufflinks of my designs before, but since I don’t really wear French cuffs it would be work for me to figure out what makes a good cufflink, and I’d always left those queries on the suggestions pile. So when I saw Gabriel’s shop, which is a very nice presentation by someone who clearly knows his links, I though why not ask?
Why did you choose to do something with the Ora design?
G: The initial idea to make it a cufflink really belongs to Bathsheba. I was more in the right place at the right time:) Though I do think it lends itself very well to this scale. To shrink any sculpture down risks losing some detail, or having a print fail. The Ora scaled beautifully, and printed successfully right off the bat.
B: Most importantly it was Gabriel’s choice — since he did the work of adapting the design and photographing the product, definitely it should be something he likes. On the practical side, not many of my designs can be printed in steel small enough for this application, so that narrows down the choices.
How long did the process take?
G: From initial email until the listing went live, about 6 weeks. Though the actual design work went pretty quickly. Most of the time were just back and forth emails and waiting for the Shapeways box to arrive.
B: From the beginning of April to late May, so quick as these things go.
What was the best part about working with another designer?
G: Often when I do custom work for customers, they’re unfamiliar with the CAD or 3D printing process. Collaborating with someone as experienced as Bathsheba, it was nice to speak the same language, and share experience.
B: He’s awfully good!
Any future collaborations coming up?
G: We’ve talked about “cufflink-izing” some of her other creations, so we’ll see!
B: We might do some more links if this one goes well. Meanwhile I’m always open to suggestions! I’m a fan of licensing deals; they’ve generally been pleasant and productive, so I try to answer any reasonable email.
Any tips on how designers can best work together?
G: I think the best tip I can offer is to just start the conversation! One of the things that keep surprising me about the Shapeways community is that the members are so open for exchanging ideas and giving meaningful feedback. Don’t be shy approaching someone you admire whom you’d consider to be in a “league above”.
B: I think it’s important to have a good contract. The assets in play here were on Gabriel’s side, expertise in designing cufflinks and a platform to sell them; and on my side the design itself, and experience with licensing transactions.
The first three of these things are sort of obvious, but I’d like to unpack the last one. I have a nondisclosure agreement which allows me to share the design file with less risk — you pretty much have to do this to evaluate the possibility, and without an NDA the risk is all on the designer’s side. Having that handy gets rid of a major source of worry and distrust.
Thanks to both of you for your time and insight! Make sure to check out both their shops for even more amazing design.