Have 3D Printer, Will Travel: Metalsmithing Jewelry Designer Sarah Graham Heads to Colorado for Inspiration

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The artist, Sarah Graham

Wanderlust often takes the artist by the hand and leads them to new inspiration. And while it can be found nearly everywhere on the planet in some way, shape, or form, many would agree that it’s hard to imagine somewhere that stirs the spirit more than lovely Colorado. Metalsmithing jewelry maker and 3D printing artist Sarah Graham will be experiencing this over the next year as she ‘takes her operations on the road,’ closing her San Francisco studio on December 19th.

While we often hear that everything is bigger in Texas, many are not aware how much further–and more gloriously–that is magnified in the state of Colorado. Many first being introduced to the area, famous for the Rocky Mountain range and the highest elevations found in the US, find everything, everywhere, to be somewhat of a shock as they experience the vast and wild terrain–from traversing a legendary snowcapped 14er, or just having enormous mule deer leap in front of you while traveling a quiet walking path. Every day leaves a tale to tell, and this is what Sarah Graham will be able to translate into her work, for the world to see.

The landscape of the Rockies offers a perfect recipe for the artist who is tackling something on a bigger, wilder parallel as well. And while 3D printing itself often seems like an infinite, new and open world of its own, using the technology to cast in resin as well as creating objects in metal offers its own elevated level of adventure–especially for the artisan.

FingerprintAlready a world-traveled artist, who grew up the daughter of a ‘multi-talented craft artist,’ Sarah has spent years putting emphasis on metalsmithing and producing fresh new lines of jewelry each year from her Dog Patch neighborhood studio, where she has employed a team of seven. Leaving and closing up her San Francisco base will obviously be an enormous change at this point, but Sarah forges ahead with her sense of adventure strong.

Sarah’s first stop? Aspen. Yes, we all heard you gasp with envy, as snow drifts, sugarplums, and ski slopes are dancing in your head this time of year. This is an area famous for its seasonal charms, culture, as well as spectacular natural beauty. And during her winter-long residency at the Elliott Yeary Gallery, the artist plans to put her focus on making a new collection centered around inspiration from all Aspen has to offer. She will then see it featured at the gallery, as well as the COUTURE show in Las Vegas.

For Sarah, it’s have 3D printer, will travel. And there’s a definite love affair going on here.

“There are certain aspects of jewelry making and craftsmanship that are super important. It needs to be beautiful. It needs to be well made,” says Sarah. “Using CAD and a [3D] printer helps me to a technical level that I couldn’t achieve on my own.”

Using a Form1+ 3D Printer by FormLabs, Sarah has been able to bring her artistic dreams to life, crossing boundaries–no matter the geography. From her headquarters in San Francisco, everything in her studio has been one of a kind, and this is doubly so with her ‘Fingerprint’ pieces, produced with her 3D printer in castable resin. Check out this video of her work:

“I use a digital scanner to get fingerprints, and then I am able to print it and cast those pieces. The resolution and ease of use just blew me away,” says Sarah, who has been a jewelry maker for 23 years. “I just print all day long,”

goldsmithFinding a way to cast resin with superior results was what Sarah was looking for when she embarked on 3D printing.

Acclaimed for her designs, just to name a few, she was chosen as designer of the year forGQ several years ago, as well as awarded for excellence in the category of design by the Women’s Jewelry Association in her area.

“In a world where most experience is planned and information is curated, I am untethering myself to find serendipity, to explore, and to create new designs by diving deep into nature. I’m so proud to finally get the chance to fulfill these long held dreams with my family,” says Sarah. “I am thankful to those who have helped me build my business to the level that allows this amazing freedom. I look forward to creating spectacular jewelry unlike anything else.”

form 1plus in box

Sarah’s Form 1+ all boxed up and ready for the road! [Photo: Sarah Graham Metalsmithing via Facebook]

Only the next year will tell what amazing creations this brave and talented artist will produce, but we do know that her Form1+ is sure to play a big role.

“To find a way to combine technology and handcrafted pieces, I feel like I have the best job in the world,” says Sarah.

“ I’m pretty sure this adventure would not be possible without my portable 3D printer.”

No matter the season, and whether you are skiing, hiking, or driving in exploration, most who visit Colorado share one thought in common: they don’t want to leave. And as Sarah spends a year tucked away with her talent and 3D printer in beautiful Aspen, we’ll be following the work that follows–as well as waiting to see if the world is able to call her back from a zone where her art and spirit will undoubtedly only expand and thrive.Untitled

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