Grant Diffendaffer Design


I’ve mentioned that I would be debuting new jewelry soon.  Well, that time is May  15th, 16th and 17th!  I will be at Maker Faire Bay Area 2015!  I will have my own booth with live displays of my Printrbot 3D printer and computerized embroidery machine that I have integrated into my handmade process.

I will have on hand prototypes representing the birth of whole new line of forward-looking, vintage-inspired, jewelry and accessories.

I’ll be representing under a brand new moniker and I’ll be there to tell you how you can be first in line to be wearing my new designs.  With just a little bit of help from you that is.

So come on down to the Maker Faire!  With over 130,000 attendees last year and 1100 makers it truly is a beehive of maker activity.  From crafts to robotics and 3D printing, musical instruments to garden implements, it’s all at the Maker Faire.  While I’ve participated in the past with Five Ton Crane, this is my first solo exhibition.  I’ll be posting all about my plans here, including where you can find me there.

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Sometimes I work in Secret. Sometimes I have an open sharing process. For the past 18 months I have been secreted away learning new skills–figuring out how to use digital technology to make my design visions real. Things are starting to work out like I want them to and I’m ready to share.

Grant Diffendaffer is 3D printing. Yes my friends, I did it. After more than 20 years of working with clay– including ceramic, polymer, and metal clay, I’m now sculpting in digital clay. Why bother? Because the miracle of modern technology allows me to bring these designs back into the real world, and reproduce them in the materials that I am familiar with.

My Printrbot 3D printer cost me $399 when I bought it. I’ve put in a couple hundred dollars in upgrades (including 18 parts that were printed by the machine), and hundreds of hours of practice. I’m now able to create precise and highly detailed small models with impressive surface quality. These models flow right into my typical jewelry process, which usually involves modeling in polymer, molding in silicone, and recreating in metal clay for durable, beautiful, long lasting creations. At the moment, I’m skipping the polymer part of my process completely. Instead, I print models with naturally derived PLA filament, and move from there to mold-making.  My latest experiments have moved to flexible filament, which will allow me to directly print multi-part molds. Beyond that, there are currently available machines and materials that allow either direct metal output or precision lost-wax casting.

I’m currently creating metal surfaces with subtle and intricate detail using this process.  It enables me to engineer solid connections and precise bezels, to create surface decoration at the same time, and to control dimensions and material usage of the final work.  The possibilities for form and finish are great.  I’m making married metal–two metals in one smooth surface with the contrast defining a graphic image.  Other techniques beckon, like guilloche and cloisonné

I have several exciting announcements regarding my plans with 3D printing and related technology. I’ve been busy designing–working to debut new jewelry that combines multiple materials to intricate ornamental effect. Having a 3D printer and CNC embroidery machine in my studio is bringing me much closer to bringing these dreams to fruition soon. They have won a place of honor alongside all my other tools, allowing these two hands to do more quality work–and to put it in your hands soon.

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My book is out in paperback now, and I’ve been posting a lot of photos to its new facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/polymer.clay.beads (as well as to my Flickr feed, and the Portfolio page of diffendaffer.com).  For the occasion, I’ve been digging deep into the archives, including a wealth of imagery from 2000-2005.  At some point I’ll go back even farther, as I have images of pieces that I made as early as 1993.

Here’s a fine silver (pmc) and polymer piece from about 2003:
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Any time I’ve been away for a while from the practice of making beads, I find I need an easy re-entry to get things moving again in the studio.  These beads are perfect.  I roll out a batch of core beads to start with.  It’s a straightforward task with zero creative demands.  It’s quick and (with practice) easy.  At the end, I have a pile of blank beads, canvases awaiting my attention.

Part of the beauty of the process is the way that the textures are created and imparted to the beads.  First, I make plates, which I treat both raw and cured. When raw, I imprint the clay with simple implements in a repetitive fashion.  After curing, I carve the plate.  With a library of these tools, I need only properly layer colored clay over my core beads, and I am able to pull a whole galaxy of differing beads off a single plate.

Some detail treatment, sanding, and polishing, and I have a little box full of joy to remind me why I love this process so much, and propel me into the next challenge.

I’ve posted five pairs on Etsy, and there are more to come.

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

Available from GrantDiffendaffer on Etsy

It’s a great way to get the wheels turning again.  Starting with a process that resembles nothing so much as doodling, I end up with refined and elegant beads.  If this interests you, check out my book, Polymer Clay Beads.  Or take a workshop.

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