Sarah is the founder of Convolo Design, an Australian-based design studio. I asked her her thoughts on the 3D printing industry and how she uses the technology in her work.
Sarah, could you let us know about your background and what brought you into 3D printing in the first place?
I studied nine different areas of art and design over one year and set out to find where my creative talents lie, I soon decided they were in form finding and intricate detailing of 3d objects. I then decided metal-smithing was the best practice for me to further explore these elements in design and art- it proved to be true.
After a few years I grew a deep fascination for architecture, particularly computational, I understood that the skills I possessed could go much further in scale and functionality. My architectural concepts gave me the ability to design in multiple forms and scale, the purpose of my work had developed from wearable to habitable. Using computational methods I was able to translate enormous ideas into 3d imagery which is where 3D printing became a possibility. On an architectural scale 3D printing small prototypes to test ideas was normal practice. Both the micro and the macro scale of which I had become so familiar with, could now easily be applied to design and also 3D printed into various functional objects.
Do you remember your first 3D printed design?
My first 3D print was during my architectural education in 2009, it was a portion of a small building in plaster.
You built your own design studio, Convolo Design, based in Melbourne, Australia. What are your main inspirations?
My inspirations are no longer as direct as they once were, they are all around me. I am inspired by a challenge to reinvent how we might use an ordinary object, a private or a public space. Nature and its phenomena are constant inspiration. For example: nature will take a holistic approach to design allowing for an optimal result in a single solution.
At times I try to imitate this approach and this is where using 3d printing can help. A fusion of nature along with many years of exploration and experimentation into different geometric patterns continues to inspire me. So, my inspiration now truly begins with the freedom of complexity offered by imagination, combining years of inspiration into concepts that will eventuate into the physical world.
Why 3D printing?
3D printing truly broadens the scope of design possibilities along with precision and geometric complexity that no other modern machine is capable of. I always had the intention to open a design firm, 3D printing was a gateway to low cost, high quality effective design results.
Do you integrate other technologies as well?
Not at this stage of my practice, however there are future plans to fuse different techniques and even collaborate with other designers with diverse disciplinary skill sets.
Do you have any (fun or not) story about your company to share with us?
Opening a delivery of 3d printed objects I’ve designed but only ever experienced in the digital realm before is fun each and every time.
As a woman entrepreneur, what was/ is your biggest challenge? Any challenge specific to the 3D printing industry?
My biggest challenge was to find and maintain a balance between family life and work. I have a 3 year old boy and a very supportive husband who deserve my best efforts as a mother and a wife.
What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you:
- As a business person?
I believe this may just herald in a new industrial revolution, this is happening on a global scale and I am excited to be a part of it. The implications for society are boundless and could be paralleled with the invention of the printing press, as Peter Day from the BBC so succinctly put it: “Effectively, printing changed the relationship between men and women and their universe, their surroundings. Nobody knows who first said it, but there is no exaggeration in the resonant phrase about the alphabet moulded into sticks of metal type: “With 25 lead soldiers I will conquer the world”.”
- As a woman?
Perhaps 20 years ago there would have been quite a gender divide in this area of expertise, however nowadays women are being invited into this field equal to men.
What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?
I think there are still invisible barriers within the industry toward design practices and general public knowledge. It is evolving naturally with a focus on the sciences and engineer driven disciplines. I am looking forward to the moment this technology is adopted by masses of the general public and various design disciplines as a great amount of creativity will be unleashed. It will be a phenomenon for design.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?
From gastronomy to technology the possibilities are endless. Whatever your passion is, chances are there is a relevant application within 3D printing for it. Many exiting hurdles can be eliminated for women, allowing them to explore and express their talents on demand and with flexibility. 3D printing can be predominantly done from home- it is a highly accessible platform and if they choose to learn the relevant software, world of possibilities awaits them.
If you are interested in learning more about Sarah and her work, we invite you to visit her collection here!
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Thank you for reading and for sharing!