Have you heard of Ponoko? It’s the world’s first personal manufacturing platform - an online marketplace of sorts that helps you turn your crafty ideas into products that are laser cut from acrylic or wood. They have a variety of templates and tools to guide you and once you’re finished you can either ‘Mingle & Share’, ‘Browse & Buy’, or ‘Make & Sell’. You’re free to make just about anything – key chains, coasters, kitchen chairs – you pick!
I recently caught up with jeweler Brooke Medlin of Gemmafactrix, who designed a set of awesome rings and submitted them to Ponoko’s 10-Day Design Challenge, a monthly event that offers cash prizes and free advertising to the winning designer.
Summer in the City Skyscape Ring Set by Brooke Medlin. Vote for her design here.
Brooke makes a living making jewelry and in so doing, she has developed quite a gift for promoting her work. She says, “For me, the Ponoko challenge was a way to branch out into a medium and style I'd been itching to try, and the added benefit was getting my name and work recognized. I feel that, as an artist, going outside your safe zone, entering contests, getting your work out there and seen by as many eyes as possible, can only be a good thing. Your work is out there in a place where it may not have been, being seen by people who may never have seen it.”
The moral of the story is that places like Ponoco offer great opportunities for you to promote your craft, even if acrylic isn't your material of choice. It's about experimentation. Whether or not you win the prize, the simple act of participating – showing the world your work – is worth a try.
Photos courtesy of Brooke Medlin.