This article originates from Women In 3D Printing and is part of our effort to support the use of 3D printing technology by women. The article is re-published with permission.
The Woman in 3D Printing I am delighted to present in the blog today is the well-known Bathsheba. I am not sure I have to present her, but if I had to, I would say she is one of the few using mathematics for sculptural and artistic purposes. Her work results in some amazing sculptures, often 3D printed.
Nora Toure: Bathsheba, could you let us know about your background?
Bathsheba: My art training and interests lie in sculpture. However, if I happen to make small sculptures and people think of them as jewelry, I’m fine with that.
I began with a BS in mathematics, then an MFA in sculpture, studying all the foundry and fabrication techniques that I don’t use now, because we have 3D printing instead. But I’ve found that knowledge valuable: casting, chasing, ceramic firing, etc. are routine postprocesses now, so we’re designing for those techniques as well as for the printing itself. If one doesn’t know something about them, there’s risk of not using them to their full effectiveness; not to mention of designing impossible objects.
Nora Toure: How did you get into 3D Printing?
Bathsheba: My designs are all undercuts, all the time. Traditional casting techniques are difficult, expensive, often actually impossible for the kinds of things I make. This was even more true when I was doing more strictly mathematical work in the late 1990’s. I had a very strong incentive to try the new technology because the old technology simply didn’t do what I wanted.
Nora Toure: Do you think being a woman helps you in this industry?
Bathsheba: Early on I think it did. Traditional metal sculpture as well as mathematics are supermajority-male fields, as was 3D printing in its early days, so I was accustomed to that environment. And I’d guess that the uniqueness of being not only among few artists working with 3DP, but also (I think) the only woman using it for mathematical art, made me more memorable than I might otherwise have been.
I think it matters less now. The Internet is a great leveler, and 3D printing has developed very largely in that post-f2f world.
To the extent that it _does_ matter, I think it’s less of a plus now. I do see designers tending to aggregate in gender-based ways, women doing jewelry and men doing model trains, which I’m a bit sorry about. And as we know now the Internet also enables discrimination; the hate culture that we see now hadn’t developed when I was starting out. But of course that’s true across all industries, and I’d guess less of a problem in 3DP-land than in many others
Nora Toure: Anything you would like to share with our readers (in particular with our female readers)?
Bathsheba: Courage, persistence. There are certainly easier ways to make money than as a designer! It’s probably easier to make money than to do the best work you’re capable of. Think carefully about which you want more…you might get both, but don’t bet the farm on it.
Do you want to know more about Bathsheba? You can visit her website.