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Lynne MacLachlan – 3D printed precision

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Lynne MacLachlan creates striking, sculptural pieces of jewellery through 3D printing, informed by a background in both aerospace engineering and jewellery design.

Lynne has “always loved making things and understanding tools, materials and techniques”. “I couldn’t pinpoint when it started, it’s just been something I’ve always loved and have been lucky enough to make it my vocation.”

A degree in aerospace engineering, and a short career in that sector, was followed by returning to study jewellery and metalwork at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee.

“I wanted to get closer to the making of things, and the jewellery workshop was where I could do this,” she says. Postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art in London opened up more possibilities to experiment “with lots of different processes, materials and ideas”.

Lynne’s background in engineering “gave me a confidence to approach digital tools”. “Things like code and technical specifications intrigue me rather than put me off!”

This interest in the possibilities of new technology led to experiments with 3D printing and a huge sense of excitement at the “untapped potential” of a new way of working.

“I like the relative freedom in form that I can have using 3D printing,” she adds. “You can produce interlocking objects, have inner structures and the precision that allows the optical effects I like to incorporate into my designs.”

This combination of technical exploration and jewellery skills has led to a unique range of designs that are both beautiful and intriguing, with her pieces of jewellery creating beautiful patterns as fine lines of printed nylon twist, turn and overlap with each other.

“The particular nylon I use a lot is beautifully light while still relatively strong and takes colour very well, making it great for larger, bolder pieces of jewellery,” Lynne notes.

However, she recognises that the technology “has limits of course”, particularly around the cost of creating larger items beyond the size of a piece of jewellery. “It’s just not always the right way to produce objects, for an array of reasons, and good designers understand that.”

Now Lynne is working towards a PhD, researching “multi-material 3D printing”, where multiple different materials and colours can be combined into a single, printed object. She’s developed new software tools and is moving towards creating wearable designs.

“Design has the power to not only give us delight in our daily lives but can change our behaviour in really powerful ways,” Lynne adds. “The more we explore design possibilities, even the ones that seem frivolous, serendipitous and important discoveries can be made for a better future.”

As a formed Dundee student, Lynne is “delighted” about the opening of V&A Dundee next year. “After Dundee I lived in London for seven years and was a very frequent visitor to the V&A there, so have experienced the excellent exhibitions and programmes it runs. I can’t wait to visit!”

We are delighted to welcome Lynne to the growing group of Design Champions, in recognition of her remarkable designs and pioneering use of new technology to reimagine the limits of jewellery design.

To find out more, please visit Lynne’s website

The V&A Dundee Design Champions are inspirational designers creating high-quality work and helping to enhance people’s lives, or champions of the power of design to improve the world.

We will announce one Design Champion a week until the museum opens in 2018.

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V&A Dundee's Design Champions project is working with Dezeen as its media partner.

Dezeen is the world’s most popular and influential architecture and design magazine, with an audience of 2.5 million unique visitors each month.