Gilly Scott lives in Brisbane with her husband and two fur babies. She currently has a day job as a system analyst and by night she is a polymer clay artist using 3D printers to manufacture her clay tools. Gilly has always done something arts and crafts related… crocheting, painting, teddy bear making, sewing, silver smithing, cake decorating and so on. She tended to move from one to another until she discovered polymer clay around 5 or 6 years ago, which she now knows will be her chosen art medium for the rest of her life. She loves to make millefiori canes and turning them into pens, beads and buttons. She also loves to make crazy critters and tooth fairy houses. To support her clay artwork Gilly designs and prints 3D clay tools. She has 10 printers over 70 3D printed sets of clay cutters available on her Etsy shop and has been manufacturing them on her 3D printers for over 2 years. She distributes her cutters all over the world.
Gilly, could you let us know about your background and your journey to Additive Manufacturing?
I have spent my entire life in the IT industry and was a self employed consultant for 25 years working mostly in the legal industry until the Global Financial Crisis when I took on a full time job as a Systems Analyst for a Legal firm in Brisbane. This freed up time which allowed me to return to my love of Art and I discovered Polymer Clay. Over a period of about 4 years my friends and I had been purchasing clay tools from overseas … sometimes happy with the purchase and a lot of the time not happy with the cutters not being sharp enough. I knew that the cutters had been 3D printed. So I decided to research the 3D printing industry and the process with a view to printing my own cutters and some for my friends.
I spent 6 months obsessing with learning as much as I could in my spare time and went to libraries, every 3D printer company in Brisbane, did a lot of googling and then managed to stumble across a half day 3D printing workshop being run by Steph Piper at Australia’s oldest hackerspace HSBNE. That was all I needed to fill in the gaps of my research journey. It really was a big of a learning curve even though I have worked in the IT industry all my life. It was just over two years ago when I bought my very first printer Flashforge Creator Pro.
What is the story behind the “Clay Lady Downunder”?
I have had a love of Art all my life I have always been doing something creative. I discovered polymer clay by accident around 5 or 6 years ago when I researched a school project for my friend’s son. The journey has led me to making all sorts of things from jewellery, fairy house, and pens. I created fairy houses and started facebook page ‘Fairys Down Under’, and pens and then there was ‘Pen Lady Down Under’, and Jewellery, and so ‘Clay Lady Down Under’ and it seemed appropriate to call my mini-business ‘Clay Lady Down Under’.
To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing?
Owning and running 10 3D printers and sending tools all over the world.
Do you have any (fun or not) story about your journey in 3D Printing to share with us?
When I attended the workshop with Steph Piper, one of her colleagues was assisting and he said he had 6 printers. I remember thinking and saying to him why would you need so many 3D printers and he laughed and explained that each one was a bit different. Looking back I now totally get where he was coming from and when people I tell people how many I have I can see their look of surprise. Perhaps the same look of surprise that I had at the workshop.
Have you run into any challenges from being a woman 3D Printing?
My biggest challenge has been finding someone to help me learn how to use Fusion 360. Up until recently, I was paying someone to do the 3D modelling of my cutters. Yes I knew there were a lot of YouTube tutorials but finding the time to sift through hours and hours of techniques just to create what are essentially cookie cutters for the clay industry wasn’t appealing. I just wanted a kick start and Steph Piper and I were able to catch up late last year.
What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you?
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
I recently read an article printing glass.
What do you consider game-changing technologies in Additive Manufacturing?
More work in the medical industry.
What advice do you have for women looking to get started in 3D Printing?
Never give up when you come to a dead end, look around the corner.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with Additive Manufacturing?
I stumbled across the ‘Women in 3D printing’ chapter after 18 months of being in the industry. So making the chapters more visible so that more women can become involved – how I don’t know.
Favorite 3D tool? My clay slicer tool.
Favorite moment in your day job? At the moment my day job is still working as a systems analyst but I do have an exit plan to turn the mini business into a full time job.
What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years? More sophisticating and interesting tools to be used in the Polymer Clay art world.
Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview? Steph Piper and Billy Ruben