It can be hard to decide on a major course of study during college, and it can be even more difficult to figure out how to apply that major toward a real-world career when your degree has been received. Many of us find ourselves going down unexpected career paths, but sometimes those unexpected paths end up showing us what our real passion has been all along. Scottish designer Lynne MacLachlan’s career may have veered away from her degree program, but she still used the knowledge she gained in school to find success in a very different field.
MacLachlan didn’t start off planning to be a designer – her undergraduate degree was in aerospace engineering. Her designs, though, reflect her studies all the same. Striking and futuristic, her 3D printed jewelry largely resembles planets, spacecraft, and otherworldly elements. The influence of her aerospace engineering degree is clear, as is her artistic talent.
After graduating, MacLachlan worked in the engineering field for a brief period, but then decided to go back to school. She attended Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design before going on to receive her MA from the Royal College of Art in London. She then founded her own design label. MacLachlan uses digital tools, including 3D printing and custom-designed software, to create her complex, experimental pieces, many of which feature optical illusions. Patterns are laid over each other, creating a rippling effect known as moiré. Most of her jewelry is 3D printed in nylon, then hand dyed in bright colors.
“I think I was drawn to engineering as it seemed like a way of producing things and a secure profession, but I felt so detached from the actual things that I made,” MacLachlan told Shapeways in a recent interview. “I made the leap toward design as I wanted to be closer to the things I produced and be more hands-on.”
Not all of MacLachlan’s designs reflect outer space – in fact, her first 3D printed jewelry was inspired by soap bubbles. While her work has an otherworldly feel, her inspirations come from everywhere.
“Little bits of inspiration come from so many different places,” she continued. “You kind of triangulate yourself into your own design space by soaking up as much as possible and blending it into your personal language (to mix a few metaphors!). A healthy curiosity about everything from math and science to art, design, and tech, and I also collect endless images on Pinterest and Instagram and try and read widely.”
It’s easy to follow MacLachlan’s career path as an engineer-turned-artist by looking at her designs, though. Her jewelry can be described as dynamic – although it doesn’t actually move, it certainly appears to thanks to the moiré illusion. The lines of many of the pieces appear to race back and forth across each other and spin with a dizzying effect. It’s fascinating to look at, and hard to take your eyes off of.
She’s just starting out, too. Although she’s already won several awards and been featured in numerous high-profile publications, MacLachlan isn’t finished with school yet. She is currently studying for a PhD at the Open University, and plans to create larger-scale pieces in the future. Discuss in the Lynne MacLachlan forum at 3DPB.com.[Sources: The National/Shapeways /Images: Lynne MacLachlan]