Slipper Satin & Ribbons
Michèle Fremont has been a product designer working with Ashlar-Vellum software for almost 20 years. She began her career on a drafting board and later started using Vellum® while she was consulting in the toy industry for Hasbro, Tyco Preschool and Fisher-Price. She tells us that at least 85 toys that made it to market, and about another 100 that did not, were all designed in Vellum and later Graphite™. Hear more about her history with Ashlar-Vellum software here.
Michèle describes Graphite as being “facile, very easy to use, and intuitive.” She’s also found that Graphite gives her the ability to show clients in three-dimensions what their own ideas would look like. Based on their napkin sketch, she uses Graphite for client visualization so that “they’re able to understand the difference between what their vision is and what it really takes to make it.”
Working in the toy industry Michèle learned that products did not make it into manufacturing unless she’d solved the problems of cost, retail packaging and safety, so she learned to pre-engineer all of her designs for manufacture, thinking about cost as well as design and style. By working in Graphite she created a master library of bosses, screws, curves, spirals and other design elements that she knew were preferred by her clients and her manufacturing team. Using Graphite she could output files in DXF for her engineer or machinist, or as an Illustrator file for the client’s own marketing team. She tells us:
Ashlar is versatile enough to translate into visual files as well as CAD files and dimensional files.
But Michèle has always longed to design a line of housewares dedicated to the memory of her late mother and muse, Jacqueline Dyer. Michèle talks about her mother growing up in France and later being a classmate of Jacqueline Bouvier and a contemporary of Audrey Hepburn. “When I think of my mother I think of the era of ‘slipper satin and ribbons.’”
She started a line of lights that she calls by that name, wanting to make them accessible, beautiful and well priced. Die cut from paper, the lights fold flat for shipping and expand over a light bulb. Several are designed especially for custom artwork, and can be printed for weddings and as promotional items.
Michèle tells us:
I didn’t start using the 3D capabilities [in Graphite] until I started doing patent drawings for the lights…I needed a way to revolve the products I was working on and open and close them. I’ve been using Vellum and Graphite now since 1995.