Jamaica Plain artist Bob Field is combining his long-time love of natural shapes and traditional art with new technologies to create and sell something that sound like they’re from out of the 23rd century: 3-D-printed earrings.
Much like a traditional printer lays down layer after layer of ink on paper, a 3-D printer creates an object by laying down thin layers of material until the object is complete. 3-D printers can use plastics, sands, metals and even chocolate as printer media and can create anything from small models to delicate jewelry to stem cells.
Field’s earring creations, sold under the name Atomic Earrings, are made of plastic.
Formerly a traditional sculptor, Field discovered 3-D printing after retiring from his previous sculpture business, Foam Props.
To keep his creative muscles in shape, Field joined a creative space in Somerville, where he taught classes in sculpting and took classes in computer-assisted design (CAD).
“That enabled me to begin designing earrings on my computer at home, here in JP, and printing them on the 3-D printer at the [space],” he said.
Those serve as prototypes that Field tweaks until he’s satisfied. The final designs are then emailed to printers in the Netherlands and France before coming to Field for dyeing and packaging. He’s been in business since November.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the designs I’ve found in nature, especially microorganisms like radiolarians and diatoms,” Field said. “The CAD software is perfect for recreating these intricate shapes.”
Field also named the illustrations of Ernst Haeckel as an inspiration. He’s currently working on expanding his line to include bracelets.
Atomic Earrings—named after the imagined future of the “Atomic Age” 1950s—all cost $35 per pair and are available to purchase at the MIT Museum shop, the SOWA Open Market in the South End and at Field’s website, AtomicEarrings.com.