Profile of math-inspired 3D printing sculptor Bathsheba Grossman

Shapeways interviews the amazing Bathsheba Grossman, a sculptor who creates mathematics-inspired 3D printed objects that can be bought on the Shapeways store. I own a bunch of her pieces, and I never tire of staring at them and handling them.

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. Symmetry is the foundation of what I do: there are many more ways to be symmetrical in 3-space than the familiar ones, but not so many that you can't explore them all and delve into the most interesting ones. Over the years I've moved away from literal math — as the field has grown I no longer feel called on to make nifty math models simply because no one else is doing it! — and into more freewheeling biomorphic shapes. But although now I play more with suggesting and breaking it, now I believe I'll always be working in some way with symmetry.

Let's start by saying that I love 3D printing the way it is. Before technology I worked with lost-wax casting, machining, fabricating, all by hand; since then I've watched artistic 3D printing grow from crude cornstarch parts to the sleek metal models that we see now, and I'm still over the moon about it. It's better and cheaper and more flexible than I ever hoped, and while I believe it will get better, if it never does I'll be perfectly happy doing just what I'm doing now.

Personally I'm most interested in archival materials, like metals, glass and ceramic as opposed to plastics and resins. Art buyers like them which is pretty important! In that area it seems like the last frontier is multi-materials: interlacing different metals, maybe metal with glass? Progress is slow because material science is hard. We wait in hope.

Something not mentioned in the interview: Bathsheba's twin brothers are Austin "YOU" Grossman and Lev "The Magicians" Grossman.

Designer Spotlight: Bathsheba Grossman