A New Semester

Footboard Assembly
The conclusion of last semester was frantic but very satisfying. For a while It seemed like my projects would never reach completion. Although it is true that neither the headboard project or the bike trailer project were entirely finished for final critique, my extra time after classes finished was spent on finishing these projects exclusively.

The headboard and footboard proved to be much more difficult to assemble than I had predicted. I had an especially hard time lining up the pre drilled bolt holes  on the side panels with the end grain studs that held the bolts. In other words their was a lot of head scratching and measuring to finally get everything to fit together properly. Many of these problems may be a direct result of the large size of these pieces. They are too big to work on on a table, yet they cannot stand until fully assembled. In order to complete the assembly I had to develop a method of working half on a studio table and half on the floor (with another set of helping hands). Once finished I immediately plugged them in to a socket in the shop to see how the pieces looked lit up. I couldn’t be happier with the glow effect that is cast by the fluorescents. They emit a subtle hue during the day and in the darkness the light creates an powerful atmosphere. photo (1)

Reflecting on this piece and my previous lamp caused me to realize the extent of my interest in atmosphere and space manipulation. The reason I choose colored lights in my work is because I want my lighting fixtures to create new spaces. By changing the color cast in a space, the atmosphere of the space itself changes. The viewer can see things in an exciting way because color can change the feeling of a space.

This last piece especially seems to approach the boundaries of interior architectural design. The large scale of these fixtures is reminiscent of a room divider. Although initially derived from the form of a headboard and footboard, these two panels function equally as well as an architectural accent piece. In the future I hope to continue to explore light, scale, and it’s effect on an interior. photo (2)

Entirely separate in concept and construction from the headboard project is the bike trailer project.  To produce the desired durable outer finish I used a marine grade enamel finish on the exterior. In the photograph above, the trailer can be seen in the studio with two coats of marine primer. The top coat of enamel is a bright aqua green. The completion of this piece has been severely delayed because of the extensive drying time required by the marine paint. It is a very slow process of painting, waiting, sanding, and repeating. Hopefully within the next week the trailer will be entirely done and ready for the road. It’s to bad that the roads happen to be at their worst it being the middle of January.

This trailer has been a new and exciting way of design and construction for me. Designing a piece  first on paper, taking those plans, to the computer, cutting pieces on the CNC, and creating handmade details means that this piece has involved more mediums and tools than any other I’ve worked on. I love the fact that this piece could be made again through the saved cut path on the CNC, yet the handmade elements such as the trailer hitch arm could still be different and custom.

Additionally this piece had raised more questions and sparked more ideas than any other I’ve worked on. First, building in the style of prototyping is extremely interesting to me. I have always had a strong interest for industrial design and this piece marks the beginning of it’s integration into my woodworking practice. Secondly, I felt that I limited myself in materials on this project. The next step for this semester is going on a visit to Portland Plastic Supply. I am interested in Plastics for many reasons. Their consistency  lightweight, color, and translucence all cater themselves to practical applications in the wood shop  All the more reason to be excited about plastics is their machining qualities. The CNC router can be set up to cut a variety of plastic sheet goods. This allows for the manufacturing of plastic elements that could interact with wood elements in future projects. Lastly, this trailer project has given me a plethora of ideas regarding it’s commercial applications. Initially the trailer was designed for consumer use, but with simple modifications it can become a stylish way to market on the go. Perhaps companies could use it to transport goods with advertisements applied to it’s sides, or maybe it is modified to sell baked goods like a food cart. Their are countless other ways that this project has inspired me, and I can already see how some of these new ideas may take shape.

This new semester promises a lot of challenges and a lot of excitement. I am taking three academic electives. My contemporary craft theory class I foresee being especially relevant to my thoughts and my practice. In the studio, we are focusing our attention on technical skills and cabinetmaking this semester. I feel that I have strayed away from extremely technically work as of late and though practicing my cabinetmaking skills I will be able to beter my craft and attention to detail. There is also another very big project that I may be working on, which has me both nervous and jittering with anticipation! With the first week of new classes half over I finally feel like I am mentally back at school and ready to take on the semester.



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