Today I have the pleasure to talk to Samantha Gratz, a graduate student and member of our Rhino Jungle community. Her jewelry design is quite unique, so I invited her to share with us a little bit more about her interests and inspiration.
Novedge: Tell us about yourself and what you do.
Samantha Gratz: I am drawn to the wild and strange. Anything that has an unexpected form or startling color combinations excites me. My current work explores how mutated creatures would interact or inhabit the human body. This work is the thesis topic for my Master’s Degree in CAD/CAM at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.
Before moving East, I lived in the 7,200 foot altitude of Flagstaff, Arizona where I earned a BFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing at Northern Arizona University (NAU). It was at NAU where I developed my chops fabricating jewelry by hand.
Novedge: Where do you find inspiration?
Samantha Gratz: I admire the colors of the gem-encrusted pieces by Dior’s jewelry designer, Victoria de Castellenne, even though my current work does not relate to conventional jewelry. I’m also inspired by the illustrations of Dougal Dixon and Ernst Haeckel.
Novedge: What is a recent project that you worked on?
Samantha Gratz: The recent explorations of deep ocean depths and the sea creatures inhabiting those dark, deep seas set me on a path to create my own denizens of the deep. For example:
This Snail project was designed to envelope the ear. The challenge was to first consider size and shape and then determine where the piece best fits on the body. I printed the shell portion of the snail in Durus White then dyed it. I chose Durus White for its durability and translucent nature. The back of the shell has an opening that slides over the ear. The soft body of the snail is printed in the flexible material of Tango Plus in order to mimic the actual feeling of a snail touching the face.
The piece entitled Tremor is a companion bracelet for the Shell earpiece. This bracelet is a conglomeration of deep sea creature forms and coral reef plant life. The head and body portions are printed in Durus White because I wanted translucent material to be present in both pieces. It’s also easy to dye.
Novedge: What software do you use?
Samantha Gratz: I use Rhinoceros to model objects, then switch over to ZBrush to texturize them. Rhinoceros and Zbrush provide design aesthetics I need through modeling commands. Rhinoceros is also the industry standard.
Novedge: What innovations do you see in your field?
Samantha Gratz: New design features in CAD and rapid prototyping married to the rising popularity of generative modeling and multi material printing are exciting in of themselves. But when these technologies are used with Objet’s Connex printers, the results are akin to the emulators in science fiction. I envision the Connex printer becoming more popular and opening up a range of potential material capabilities that will jump-start many ingenious projects.
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