Making It: 3D-Printed And Laser-Cut Designs From Rabbit + Rain
Maker: Stephanie Sanders-Jacob
Business: Rabbit + Rain
When did you decide to start your business?
I started Rabbit + Rain in 2018, and I actually started when I was pregnant with my daughter. I was nesting I guess, and I just started making stuff and I realized that I really enjoyed it and that there was a demand for the stuff I was making. And then when I went on maternity leave, I never went back to work. I just kept doing this and it just grew from there.
Sanders-Jacob with her daughter, Naomi. [Stephanie Sanders-Jacob]
What kind of work were you in before you started your business?
I was a children's librarian and I loved it, and that really inspired me in ways that I never thought I would be inspired. I always had very technical jobs. I was a technical writer at a software company, and that was creative in a way, but not in a very artistic way. And when I started as the librarian, I was making bulletin boards, doing programs, stuff like that. And it just really opened up a whole new world of physical art for me.
You now create several different kinds of art. What did you start with?
I was drawn to a lot of the same kind of artists, and I was trying to figure out, how did they make things? How does that work? And I ended up purchasing a laser cutter. And it was the scariest thing I've ever done because I'm afraid of heavy machinery… I'm afraid of, you know, the unknown, and it was a huge investment. And at that time, my business wasn't really a business that was profitable. So it was kind of a crazy thing for me to do.
Laser-cut accessories from wood and acrylic marked the beginning of Rabbit + Rain. [Stephanie Sanders-Jacob]
And then came the 3D printer? How does that work, exactly?
It's not a typical 3D printer where it heats up filament and then lays it down in layers. It's actually a stereo lithographic printer. It's basically UV resin. So it uses light to harden resin in layers. So you dump liquid resin into a vat, and there's an LCD screen below it that hardens the resin in layers. So it's pulling an item out of a vat of resin, and the LCD screen is just exposing certain layers of that to a pattern of light. So I had to completely change how I'm thinking about that. It's really weird. I mess up all the time, I waste a lot of resin. But it's interesting, you know, you learn what you're doing.
A skull planter starts to take shape on the 3D printer. [Stephanie Sanders-Jacob]
What were your hopes for Rabbit + Rain when it began, and how have those aspirations evolved over the past two years?
I think when I started my business, my main goal was to be able to stay home with my daughter, and to be able to just create this environment that was super creative and to show her that women can do this, and we can use our own two hands to make something super cool. For the future, I'd like to move more into the jewelry. The jewelry is so special to me and important to me. And just the way it can change the mood of an outfit, the mood of a person. There's something there that I'm chasing and I'd like to move into a design role with that.
Laser-engraved acrylic earrings are a specialty of the shop. [Stephanie Sanders-Jacob]