Pointcarre for Modern Metal Gate Design

For me, Pointcarre software is far more than just a CAD program.  During my years working as a Textile Designer at Maharam, I was trained in Pointcarre.  At the time, I believe we went to the offices in NYC to get our training.  There, I used it to create patterns for jacquard wovens, and my first project was to develop a line of panel fabrics for cubicles.  I vividly remember working on my first pattern there, getting constant help from the fellow designers in the design department.  It’s tough to learn a new program.  Muscle memory is strong.  It takes time to learn a CAD program and once I did, I never wanted to change. 

 Flash forward 11 years later to 2015 when I decided to start my own business. 

I used the entire chunk of money my grandmother left me to purchase Pointcarre, and set up my design studio.  This is really how Modern Metal began, with Pointcarre!  It was a serious investment for me, and felt a bit scary at the time.  I didn’t really have a business to warrant this huge purchase, yet I knew I needed it.  I also needed the $500 book of Pantone colors, just because.  I was behaving like a textile designer because that was all I knew.  

Flash forward to yesterday when I was completely stuck on a custom design for a new job.

I wrote to Steve Greenberg and Sheetal Khanna-Ravich of Pointcarre, who were there since day one for me, and said, is there any way one of you can help me with this?  I’m stuck and I need to submit this to the customer today!  For sure it was a bit of a 911 design call.  They’re in NYC, I’m in California and we’re of course all very busy.  They reacted immediately.  Steve tried to understand the problem via email and it was too complicated so he called in Sheetal.  Sheetal is like the special surgeon who comes in on a white horse.  She dropped everything, set up a webcam meeting for me and spent an hour plus with me trying to figure out this technical issue I was having. 

As it turns out, it was not a quick basic question.  I had figured out a way to make my simple repeating design very complicated and non repeating. I need the perfect repeat in order to manipulate it later for the customer presentation and in order to submit for translation to vector with the laser cutters. We were deeply entrenched in the technicalities of the repeat.  It wasn’t working and it didn’t work.  I had messed up the entire process and all of our work arounds weren’t working.  On top of it, my design was quite elaborate and I’m not proficient in all of the new Pointcarre tools.  It was tedious work, so tedious that I had a serious headache afterwards.  It was a technical challenge and a design challenge requiring intense focus. I told Sheetal that what I appreciated the most was her ability to actually make my problem her problem!  Sometimes it’s comforting to share the struggle. 

Following my call with Sheetal, I spent a good 6-8 hours working on a new design.   I basically had to start from scratch.  Achieving a flowing, open design of windy Pampas leaves was not effortless, but in the end it was worth the effort. 

I submitted the design proposal for the custom gate panels to my customer the next morning, a day late, and I was nervous she’d reject the entire thing.  I got an email the next day from the customer saying “I love these, thank you so much”.  

My grandmother, Gertrude Bleiberg, was a prolific artist who began her professional art career at age 52.  Even after her death, she continues to inspire me.  As I’m now that same age (ok a few years older) I often think about how much energy she poured into her art.  She lugged her portfolio cases and canvases up the steep hills of San Francisco to the SFArt Institute where she received her MFA in Painting.  I often accompanied her on trips to her studio, and spent time doing my art while she created wild vivid colorful brushstrokes on enormous canvases.   

As I use Pointcarre in every design project I approach, and pay my bills, I feel I am honoring her by pursuing my own design dreams.  I feel grateful to her for leaving me the funds to launch my business, the grit to continue, and the inspiration to be free and uninhibited with my designs.