V&A Dundee

Festive Design Market: Evgeniia Balashova

On the run up to our Festive Design Market, we talk to some of the exhibitors about their work, their inspirations and process. Hear from Eve Balashova as she describes the innovative sustainable process behind her beautiful 3D printed jewellery pieces.

I am a contemporary jewellery designer and maker based in Glasgow. I work with a combination of 3D printing and traditional hand skills, bringing these two completely different approaches to making together in beautiful harmony. Every piece starts as a digital 3D model, which is then 3D printed, individually dyed and set in a handmade sterling silver fitting. Most of my pieces feature geometrically precise shapes with an element of distortion in them – objects that would be nearly impossible to create by hand. My pieces also often feature movement, flexibility and they are super light – very handy if you are a fan of big earrings that don’t weigh you down. Colour plays an important part in my design process – I use a mixture of fabric dyes to create my own custom hues and achieve seamless colour transitions that give my pieces extra charisma and character.

Sketches of earrings.
In progress

I work with 3D printed nylon using a process called selective laser sintering. This is an additive printing process where a laser fuses nylon powder in micron thin layers, creating strong and flexible pieces. With this process only the amount of powder needed for printing is used. All excess is returned to 3D print the next batch, significantly reducing production waste. Most of my work is either made to order or produced in small quantities for shops and events. Every year I run a sale to make sure that every piece goes to a loving home. Every day I sweep my bench to collect all the little bits of silver, dust and filings and send them off to be melted down and recycled. I use a dip-dyeing method to apply colour to the 3D prints and all my dyes are non-toxic and environmentally safe.

I have always been interested in repetition of shape and form, and geometric in particular. It is a theme that runs through all my work. This theme led to my initial use of 3D modelling software – it was a brilliant tool to create multiple shapes quickly and manipulate them with ease to build a portfolio of visual references. 3D printed nylon and the process of 3D printing have become my main inspiration – I am fascinated by how far I can push the capabilities of these materials and processes.

Lilac and pink 3d printed earrings against a white backdrop.
3d printed purple earrings against a white backdrop.
3d printed blue earrings against a lilac backdrop.
  • Lilac sunset pear earrings

  • Fuscia brushstroke earrings

  • Aqua brushstroke earrings

I like to challenge the conventional uses of 3D printing in jewellery. It has so many possibilities and I create my designs around this potential, whether utilising the light weight, strength and flexibility, or its fantastic optical qualities. It is a very playful process full of experiments and exploration. I love the element of surprise that comes with it – there is a real sense of discovery for me when I create the piece, as well as for the wearer trying it on for the first time. There is intrigue behind how it will feel, what kind of weight it has, how it will interact with light. I think it is a very interactive and interesting experience, both for me as a maker and for the wearer.

I am going into 2022 with an open mind and looking forward to trying out new designs. I have recently ventured out into a more organic theme and created a series of pieces inspired by pebbles, after travelling around the coasts of Scotland this summer. I was longing for something that feels comforting and familiar. The shape of a pebble is also immensely satisfying to hold in the palm of your hand. Weight is particularly important with these pieces – each pebble looks very heavy but they are actually hollow and almost weightless – a pleasant surprise for anyone picking them up for the first time. I am excited to explore these organic motifs further, hopefully after more travelling around Scotland.

You can find Evgeniia at our Festive Design Market all weekend.

Festive Design Market is in collaboration with Tea Green Events.