From Stickers to Styklet

Ornamental origins

I’ve always had a passion for ornament that I think started with stickers. I was that irritating child that covered everything from furniture to car windows with hard-to-remove, shimmering foil stickers. As I got older and my manual dexterity improved, I started stringing together beads of different colors and shapes into patterned necklaces, and later moved up to crafting miniature polymer clay fruit-adorned cakes.


A polymer clay fruit tart from back in the day featuring kiwis, bananas, and… lemons?

 

I went on to major in jewelry in college, inspired by the whimsical overflow of shapes and colors of the jewelry I’d admired in museums and magazines. While in school, I had wonderful professors that taught me less common metalsmithing techniques like granulation as a supplement to the standard coursework. I spent countless hours creating individual granules, torching silver shards on an angled charcoal block and watching the glowing droplets roll into bowls of cold water.

In an environment where minimal, German forms dominated the references we were provided, my professors frequently called my work “maximalist” for the layers of ornament I added to absolutely everything I made. Though there is undeniable beauty in simple, well-crafted objects, I couldn’t help but want to have more fun with my work.

An emoji ring from my college days, featuring granulation and pear-shaped aquamarines.

3D printed fantasies

Simultaneously, I was gaining exposure to the possibilities of 3D printing. The jewelry department went from zero to four 3D-printers over the course of my time there, and quickly, I realized the potential of 3D printing in creating new excesses of ornament.

With granulation, I’d spend ages carefully adhering silver spheres to their silver base with an algae-based glue, and then fuse them into place. But as the glue would bubble when exposed to the torch, the granules would wander everywhere, making adorning anything other than a flat plane a nightmare. With 3D printing, the constraints of angle, shape, and size vanished—anything and everything could be completely adorned.

 A blinged out model for 3D printing.

From jewelry to stickers

Jewelry tends to be specific to adorning the body, but as parents like my own mother often learn all too well, stickers can be used to decorate anything at all. Four years since graduating I still think smooth surfaces just aren’t very fun, which led to the concept for my first Styklet design, the Cosmati Tile. This sticker was the first of our tileable pattern stickers that can be arrayed to usurp boring surfaces of any size with texture. We now have several designs and are always making more.

You’re probably being used to being asked what your favorite color is, but what about your favorite texture? We’re used to picking colors for anything and everything, from our nail polish to our toothbrushes, but there aren’t many opportunities to express yourself with texture. With Styklets, I hope that more people will be able to play with such capabilities and discover new opportunities for tactile experience and ornament.


My Nintendo Switch, covered in texture tiles.

I'm going to go make some more Styklets, but until next time!

-Alex

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