Last week I have been looking nonstop for places that offer 3D printing service. While 3D printers are ubiquitous, there’s only a few foundries, if any, that offer such service. As mentioned earlier, I was designing a collection of jewellery inspired by Chinese calligraphy. Having done some work, I wanted to print the prototype and have it cast it in silver.
When I approached the only foundry I know that has 3D printers, I was suggested to have the design made by hand rather than going through the hassle of casting the wax model that came out of 3D printing, a process that not only costs me more but time-consuming. On top of that, it also makes more sense to have a design that is largely dominated by wiry structure to be made directly from silver wires.
Long story short, I gave my consent to a goldsmith who happened to be present at the foundry to take over this task. After three days, I went to pick up the finished piece in person but only by touching its wrapping paper – which so carefully protects the silver inside – I immediately felt that something was not right. This inventive piece of jewellery handcrafted by the goldsmith I hired is not even close to the original design that I had in mind. Rather than a ring inspired by Chinese calligraphy, I reckon it looks more like a wearable paperclip:
I was quite upset with the result that is partly my fault. Thinking back, I didn’t bother to explain to the goldsmith why the design looks the way it is when my incentives were being questioned. In other words, I avoided communicating with the jewellery maker, taking for granted that he would just follow the technical drawings provided. I should have underlined how each and every millimetre is the result of a conscious decision – but I didn’t.
So here are my three lessons learned form this experience:
- Be confident and assertive.
Show people that you know exactly what you want. This could be achieved by providing as much detail as possible, both verbally and visually. Make sure they know your expectations. Do not compromise.
- Don’t be afraid to look for alternatives.
One of the mistakes I made was that I agreed to hire that random goldsmith who happened to be present at the foundry without taking the time to ask around and choose the right goldsmith who is more suitable for the job. We know that it’s difficult to find someone who fully understands and respect your work but it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist!
Failure is a step towards success. Understand that it takes time to get to where you want to be. As Paulo Coelho writes, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Be patient but take action!
Bear these lessons in mind, I have just approached another goldsmith introduced to me by a friend. I provided him a technical drawing that is MUCH MUCH MORE specified and am now waiting for a “try-out” of my design. Fingers crossed!