December 11, 2017
Bringing modern technology into the jewelry crafting sphere, Debut Artist LanaBetty uses 3D printing to create intricate and precise designs out of sterling silver, brass, steel, and even gold. This Vancouver based artist, originally from Kelowna, took a non-traditional route into the creative fields as she first studied biology at UBC before launching LanaBetty in 2015. We are excited to welcome her to Market Collective and had the chance to ask a few questions about her intriguing jewelry-making methods.
Tell us a little about yourself. What kind of artist and designer do you see yourself as?
I like to think of myself as a self-taught non-traditional designer, jeweler, artist - my creative journey was borne from a desire to challenge myself after I graduated university. I went to school and learned how to learn and as a result, when I see a need for new skills or want to learn a new technique, I search out classes, video, or instruction to help me hone my skills. To be able to talk about what I do as an artistic endeavour has been difficult because labels are weird and hard to really convey what I do. Using math, computer programming, and digital design; I manipulate drawings and transform them to create fine jewelry never before seen and only able to be made using 3D printing. In 2015 when I really started taking LanaBetty (and myself) seriously, a journalist from the Globe and Mail described my designs as geometric contemporary - and it just stuck. I make geometric contemporary jewelry.
What can we expect to see from you at Market Collective?
Of course - my very best pieces! Knowing I was coming to Market Collective for my first time, I wanted to put my best foot forward. I have some real treats! I made a handful of rings and necklaces that say YYC (the airport code for Calgary), a fresh batch of unicorn necklaces, and my favorite: I make rings without gemstones so customers can choose their size and gemstone and I’ll set the ring, on the spot. I’ll also have a small selection of earrings where you can do the same!!
How did you first get into 3D printing?
I’ll have to thank my husband for that one! He is a mechanical engineer (designing waterslides - I know, dream job) - and one day a few years ago he brought one home. Intrigued with how it worked and the technology behind it, I set to learn all about it. As I became more confident with my designs and began to develop my brand identity, I began to explore 3D printing as a way to make pieces never before seen.
Does being able to 3D print change your design process?
Yes and no. My design process is both complicated and simplified. For both silversmithing and 3D printing, it all starts with a drawing in my sketchbook. I date everything (in case of copyright issues from big retailers or copycats) and from there I break down what all the dimensions and connections will be. I draw a blueprint. From there I create a prototype, and where that differs from 3D printing it is when I will create a 3D model and see how it looks printed for the first time. I may tweak my design, alter the overall size, etc and work to ensure the dimensions and total volume are exactly what I’m looking for. I guess being able to 3D print really allows me to be tactile - holding a design in my hands is much more effective than just looking at a drawing on my screen.
Do you ever find your biology background influencing your designs?
All the time! I studied and concentrated in cellular development - how cells talk to each other on a molecular level and I really feel like that level of detail shows in my work and craftsmanship. To me, it’s all about the details. How many times a wire is wrapped as it connects to a pendant or the way a piece is hammered after soldering. Seeing the details influences my drive and desire to perfect my techniques and to create the very best quality pieces.
What inspires you?
That’s a good question. A lot. Often I find myself inspired by some of the beautiful architecture I’ve had the opportunity to explore. Vancouver has some stunning examples of art deco that really draw me in. But also I love the fluid and unpredictable nature of the ocean and mountain peaks and how varied the outdoors can be. Finding a balance between the geometric, the modern, and my love of spontaneity has really driven my design aesthetic.
Where can people find out more about you?
Definitely Instagram (@lanabetty). I have worked so hard to cultivate a community within Instagram and I use it more as a microblog than an advertising tool. I share my process, studio, thoughts, and inspirations. Stories have been really fun too - showing off how rings are made from start to finish or views from my studio really showcase who I am and how I channel my personality into LanaBetty.
Find LanaBetty at MC Cheer 2017 from December 15-17!