Badass Female Designers Merging 3D printing, Coding and Artistic Aesthetic

Angela Linneman

Content Marketing Manager at Shapeways, Angela Linneman is interested in the intersection of technology, advocacy, art, and social enterprise.

Which of you can name badass female designers using code? Allow me to introduce you to 4 female designers who use 3D printing to combine a sophisticated use of coding with a stunning artistic aesthetic. Though that might seem contradictory to some (ahem), these women are creating groundbreaking work that is both beautiful and computationally complex. We like to think that the inventor of computer programming, Ada Lovelace, would also love their work.

Ashley Zelinskie, Artist and Jewelry Designer

A model wears Ashley’s Reverse Abstraction Mobius Earrings

Coding and art are inextricably intertwined in the work of Ashley Zelinskie. Those earrings in the photo above? A decorative element of their design is actually the code for creating them. They’re part of Zelinskie’s fully 3D printed Reverse Abstraction series, which “begins with a simple premise: that humans and computers perceive the world through different languages, and what is concrete for one is abstract for the other.” Along with a slew of other pieces that combine computer perception (code) with human perception (3D forms and structures), Zelinskie is breaking ground from NASA to New York galleries.

mathgrrl, geekhaus Designer

3D printing
mathgrrl’s Stein Cuff asks the important question: “If you love pentagonal tessellations so much then why aren’t you wearing them right now?”

Laura Taalman, better known as mathgrrl, is a mathematician and designer whose approach to generative and computational design is both head-turning and brilliant. While mathgrrl has used almost every trick in the book to create her 3D printed designs (as she’s shared each Tutorial Tuesday), harnessing mathematical shapes and using code to manipulate them remains for her a powerful engine of design creation. For instance, the stunning bracelet above, her Stein Cuff, “was derived from a Type 14 Stein tessellation of the plane by irregular pentagons. Designed flat using our OpenSCAD Pentomizer code, [it was] then curled around an elliptical cylinder with our Grasshopper wrapping code to make a bracelet shape.” For more on how to use code to generate extraordinary designs, check out “Using OpenSCAD to Design With Code” and “Design for Complexity With Structure Synth.”

Jessica Rosenkrantz, Nervous System Designer

A model wears Nervous System’s Flora Collar from the Floraform Collection

Jessica co-founded design studio Nervous System with Jesse Louis-Rosenberg. Describing the genesis of their work, the pair explain how, “drawing inspiration from natural phenomena, we write computer programs based on processes and patterns found in nature and use those programs to create unique and affordable art, jewelry, and housewares.” Jessica is a member of the faculty at MIT, where she previously studied biology and architecture. All of this makes sense, considering the organic quality of Nervous Systems’ designs. But there’s really no precedent for objects like the Kinematics dress, or the Floraform Collection, which uses generative design in a way described as “a kind of digital gardening, except instead of growing plants we’re cultivating algorithms.”

Bathsheba Grossman, Artist and Jewelry Designer, Bathsheba Sculpture

Bathsheba Grossman has been a member of the Shapeways community almost since the beginning, and her work embodies the intersection of computational design and art. As she told us in 2013, “I was originally a math major interested in geometry and topology, when as a college senior I met the remarkable sculptor Erwin Hauer, and suddenly it was obvious that what I had in mind was more art than math.” Some of her pieces are indeed straightforward mathematical objects; intricate forms that, before 3D printing, could only exist by the grace of a very talented sculptor (and even then, were inexact copies of the real forms). But, she is also a pioneer in 3D printed art, and produces intricate geometric sculptures. Hers is a unique brilliance, but she remains in awe of artists who differ in approach: “There have been many excellent geometrical sculptors with no formal training in math — my mentor Robert Engman was one, Brent Collins is another — so it is not a singular type of creativity.”

Bathsheba’s Double Zarf sculpture

Whom did we miss? Let us know in the comments and we’ll revise this list with more amazing women who embody the balance between engineering and aesthetics.

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