“I am a designer and artist with a PhD in Electrical Engineering. These diverse interests enable me to create sculptures that are technically complex and artistically competent. I focus on design for 3D printing or additive manufacturing. I love the challenge of creating something that is imagined and then designed on computer and seeing if my idea printed out as envisioned. The first time I hold the design in my hand is when the finished product comes out of the 3D printer.
I create my sculptures by first visualizing the object. This is then translated onto paper, and after a series of sketches transformed into a technical drawing. This drawing dictates the measurements and dimensions needed to translate the artwork into the computer. The scale of the sculpture, distances between parts and mechanical functionality have to be meticulously planned out before I move on to the computer. I use software programs to translate the idea into a printable digital design. My favourite material and process is selective laser sintering. The polyamide or nylon material is well suited to creating movable parts, relatively robust depending on the thickness of the part, and with the texture and look of coral. When a design is finished, I email it to a local or international manufacturer. The sculptures are then built up by fusing thin layers of Nylon powder. When the print build is finished the powder is removed and the object magically emerges from the heap of deposited powder. A few days later the completed sculptures arrive at my door ready to be unpacked. This is always a very tense moment. All the planning and designing focuses on this one moment of pure joy when I hold a design that looks and functions exactly as I envisioned it.
My studio is on a smallholding outside of Pretoria, surrounded by the African bush, which serves as the inspiration for my work.”
Dr. Michaella Janse van Vuuren