Mike Le Page of Perth, Australia, is a designer who understands how much delight some of the smallest things in life can bring to those in the midst of challenges. Representing freedom, flight, and nature, birds have been put into artistic form for appreciation throughout the ages. The dove, specifically, is used not only to show off an ethereal beauty, but has also been a classic symbol throughout history and enduring cultural myths to display peace, freedom, and love, offer religious and spiritual meaning, as well as being a messenger. It has also been used symbolically by both military entities and those who embrace a pacifist mentality.
Le Page seems to encompass all of this symbolism in his latest design, ‘Dove,’ which he was inspired to create as an expression regarding the horror of war, as well as something meant to please others visually. In terms of a message, from the technology angle Le Page didn’t want to make something just for the sake of 3D printing it, but he wanted to create an innovative piece that simply could not be made any other way. The piece features 29 moving parts, which he is able to make in a single run on the 3D printer. Two parts for each wing are responsible for the inner flapping motion, and a total of 32 feathers are rendered intricately.
“I think it’s best, for now at least, to focus on the things which can only be done with 3D printing–highly designed shapes and interlinked moving parts,” Le Page told 3DPrint.com. “This dove model is my best attempt at following that principle to create something both technically interesting and artistically moving.”
“I’m a fan of the symbolism involved: I knew it would be white nylon plastic from the start so I was choosing among white birds when trying to decide what the end product would look like, but naming it ‘Dove’ worked best for me because it was not just a symbol of peace and hope, but also one of joy and freedom.”
‘Dove’ was inspired in 2014. Le Page, aware of fighting going on in Crimea and Syria, reacted with his idea for this peaceful design. He had also spent some time working in a children’s hospital previously and had that in mind as well, in that he noticed–and enjoyed–seeing little faces light up when kind individuals worked to bring little bits of magic into their day, offering what brief reprieve they could from sickness.
“I do like the idea of using technology creatively to try and inspire more peace, hope and joy for people who need it, and I guess I had this vague notion throughout the design process that this would be the kind of gift that could do that,” Le Page told 3DPrint.com.
With the model completed, and now for sale through Shapeways, Le Page enjoys seeing how people react upon holding the 3D printing model and making it move.
“I think I’ve succeeded at creating something that works both as a great demo of 3D printing, and a work of art,” says Le Page.
He was able not only to make an aesthetically pleasing design that has meaning for him on several levels, but Le Page says it’s also quite anatomically correct in representing how a bird’s wing flaps. Because of that, and the technology involved, he would like to see it used in the future in educational settings.
‘Dove’ is for sale at Shapeways, retailing at $90, and 3D printed in white nylon plastic with a matte finish and a slightly grainy texture. You can check out a variety of Le Page’s other designs there as well. Tell us your thoughts on this intricate design in the 3D Printed Dove forum over at 3DPB.com.