William Stanley studied architecture in Canterbury at the Kent Institute of Art and Design and then at the Architectural Association. William began making jewellery from parts of his architectural models utilising 3D printing for manufacture. His jewellery is inspired by the endless beautiful forms found within the natural and biological world. Alongside geometric designs he takes images from electron microscopes, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), photography and life drawing and uses 3D software to digitally dissect, deconstruct, reconstruct and assemble these objects into pieces of jewellery that capture the varied beauty of what he finds exploring the world. He lives and works in south London.
I'd like to ask about the transition from architecture to jewellery design, what ignited that move?
It was triggered by a broken piece of 3D print that I had from an old architecture model and I thought that if I put a hook on it, it could make a cool earring. I decided to focus on developing a range of 3D printed jewellery designs utilising the 3D modelling skills I had picked up during my time studying. Without a background in goldsmithing I knew that this medium would provide the perfect tool for me to fabricate the intricate designs I was developing.
You also incorporate traditional materials - gold and silver - into your creations, how do these different mediums affect your approach?
The materials do have certain limitations. There is a minimum thickness that a piece can be printed to. As the gold and silver pieces are first 3D printed in wax and then put through a traditional lost wax casting process, things can go wrong. My approach fortunately doesn’t have to change that much. As long as I get the minimum dimensions correct on my computer model then my manufacturers at Shapeways Factory Of The Future do all the rest. They clean and polish the finished pieces before sending them to me to check and send to the customer.
Themes of geometry and nature feature in your collection, are these related to your architecture roots?
Yes definitely. I have always been fascinated by nature and its workings ever since I can remember. Though my real introduction to nature and geometry in architecture came from the work and research of Michael Weinstock Head of the Emergent Technologies department at the Architectural Association. His work showed me the broader potential of taking design inspiration from the natural world.
You have been exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. The RA is an institution that now recognises the crossover between design and art. Is this crossover something that has always been there for you?
Since Sir Nicholas Grimshaw added the architecture room in the Summer Exhibition I think it has made a big difference in opening up the institution to a broader range of design, art and architecture alike. The RA is an amazing place. I exhibited in the architecture room in 2011 and 2012 with unsuccessful entries in 2013, 2014 and 2015. I’m working on my entry for next year.
Visit William Stanley online at williamstanley.net to see the collection in full
Words: Ruby Ocean