It was on Google+ that I had discovered some amazing pieces of work of scientiste-artists that I had not seen on facebook or when googling for such folks. Michelle Davis’ work is one such person and of course, I had to interview her. Considering that I am very much into creating pieces of artwork that gain inspirations from medicine or biology, I was absolutely thrilled when she said that her customers are those who already share a passion for medicine or biology (this is where I am nodding my head in absolute delight that such customers exist!). Michelle is a medical illustrator based in the USA.
Which software or technique do you enjoy the most when designing your jewelry and why?
I’ve recently fallen in love with ZBrush, a piece of software specializing in detailed 3d modeling. This software allows me to sculpt digitally in a way that feels very natural. Cinema 4D and even Blender are also valuable, and I often do a final file output at size from Blender. Regarding specific technique, it’s whatever works to get the job done and varies quite a bit.
Do you do the actual curing and silver smithing of your jewelry, in addition to the modelling you do on 3d software?
My workflow is first research and digital sculpting (no stock models used!), and then I pass off an .stl or .obj file to a 3D printer or casting house to actually produce. Typically I don’t even need to do any post production. This workflow is very practical and lets me focus on the design and sculpting of the piece while other experts and technology produce it in a given material. Truth be told though, I’m also interested in the traditional lost-wax casting technique.
How well is your jewelry and accessories line received? Do people shudder when they think about a vertebra as a earring etc?
Thankfully it is well-received! You’re welcome to take a look at the customer feedback from my Etsy shop. [link: https://www.etsy.com/your/shops/mdavisstudios/reviews]
Typically, my customers choose to buy because they already share a passion for medicine or biology (or know someone who does). Doctors and nurses, professors, students, (or family/friends of them) are common customers. It’s very heartening and inspiring to also have patients or friends/family of patients purchase items as a way to commemorate or remember a particular disease or event.
How do balance between jewelry making and medical illustration work?
Jewelry making currently wonderfully fills my craving to create off-hours. (I’m grateful and happy to have a good job doing medical animation during the day). Fortunately, this is the kind of activity and business that I can devote more time to when I can and want to, and if I’m busier with other things, I can back off easily.
I originally fell into jewelry making a few years ago during grad school as a kind of “I wonder if I can do this” sort of thing. That initial curiosity still drives me, but, largely because of the customer interaction and stories I’ve been told, the business has become much more as well. I believe in the importance and power of beauty and art, and if I can spend time creating something beautiful (or at least what those with an interest in medicine consider beautiful!) that is meaningful and important to somebody, I feel like I’m doing my part.
If you fancy a one-of-a-kind pieces of anatomical art by a medical illustrator, then go to Michelle’s etsy shop and buy one! https://www.etsy.com/shop/mdavisstudios
All photos in this blog post are ©Michelle Davis and are used with permission.