Arthur posted this on Facebook. Great stuff.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Monday, May 23, 2016
Today, I met Vincent Edwards. Vincent was invited to be in an exhibition that Nicole Jacquard and I curated. Vincent drove up to Milwaukee from Indiana University (where he works) to deliver his work this morning. I really enjoyed speaking with him. His background is Furniture Design but it appears that he and I have quite a bit in common. I really enjoyed our conversation about Digital Fabrication and teaching. I think we'll both be hearing from each other in the future. It's so good to meet people like Edward; I just need to find a way to work with people like this on a daily basis. Hopefully the new job will overflow with people like Vincent!
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Anyone who reads this blog knows that Eric Larson of Clear Irons is one of my closest friends. We've worked on many projects together during our time at the University of Illinois and after. Eric and I have always somehow managed to work well together when it comes to wrenching or making something out of nothing. Even though Eric lives in Chicago, we have somehow managed to stay close. I don't know if I would have survived the transition of living in Milwaukee if it had not been for the bi-weekly metal hammering, welding, and grinding sessions that we did out at the Seward Shop. It's going to be weird to move farther away from Eric, as he has been the closest thing to a family relationship that I have had with someone outside of my family.
Anyway, I was just thinking of all of this as Eric sent me a new video to the Multi Force bag that he designed for Paratech. It was fun to see him work on a project that embodies the kind of industrial design that he was interested in during school and and has excelled at in the professional world. Eric is a designer who understands material and process beyond the skin of the object. Eric is able to bring any idea that he has into being, as he truly understands the power of knowledge about materials and processes when it comes to creating a truly new and innovative idea. He is constantly learning and researching the things that will allow him to develop the next idea. He the guy who brings fully functional objects to a Industrial Design critique because he cares about how something looks, works, and feels. Eric embodies the Industrial Designer that Jonathan Ive is searching for in the post I made a few days ago. It has been so fun to see Eric grow as a designer and a person. Eric just became a father a few weeks ago. I know he will be just as good at being a Dad as he is a Designer...
Saturday, May 14, 2016
The new pizza cutter is still in progress. I actually have the gun frame completely modeled even though this shot doesn't show it. Still need to model the wheel and the grips. The wheel and the rockers need some more work with details and contouring.
I've been meeting up with Chad and John the last couple Saturday mornings from 9:00-11:00 to work on a small foundry furnace build. We decided to do this meet-up as a way to divide up the parts of the foundry build. We started the idea a few weeks ago and each person was responsible for building one part and two copies so that collectively we could complete the project. Chad welded up the main metal can surround and tops (you could use a peach can for this if you wanted), I made the torch tube set screw collars and welded the nuts, and John provided the liner. In three weekends we were able to construct our mini furnaces. Today, I lit mine up and "burned in" the kaowool liner. We used refractory cement for the top and kaowool for the liner that was soaked in colloidal silica. I still need to get my dual propane burner set-up, but this should be great for melting small quantities of metal. I plan on building these with my casting class at App State this coming Fall. It should be a fun studio building project for the students. This was truly a great way to complete a project as a team. I only wish we had started these Saturday morning project meet-up years ago. Think of all of the finished projects I would have. It is a great way to work on studio projects regularly and it's great motivation knowing that others are depending on you to get your part completed. I am going to miss these two guys and they just "get it". We have one more project planned before I leave. It should be a good one! I'm convinced I'm going to have to do something similar with a group of people when I get to North Carolina.
Friday, May 13, 2016
I spent some time last week resurfacing the CNC router in the DCRL. I think this is the third or forth time I've done this. I'll be needing a new spoil board as I think this is the last time we can do this on this particular sheet. The router was used a ton this semester. My students created a lot of work with it. They also learned a lot about it's use. I like to have a little fun with them about "leaving their mark". I hate for things to get messed up, but then again I think I've learned a lot from my mistakes. As long as their mistakes aren't catastrophic I can live with a few mistakes.
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Last week I printed a DHL themed hand (that uses my design for hands that I developed a few years ago) for Peter Graven and his group of kids that build hands. You might remember Peter from a post I made back in 2014 when his students visited the DCRL to see the work we were doing. Just happened to walk outside the studio later after Peter picked up the hand and there was a DHL truck.
Monday, May 9, 2016
I mentioned an invitational exhibition called Imagine Peace Now (organized by artist Boris Bally) a few posts ago where I received a gun that I will be transforming. As I mentioned earlier, I am excited to be a part of this exhibition. There are so many talented artists that will be a part of the exhibition and I am such a huge fan of Boris Bally to begin with. Upon receiving the gun, I began sketching ideas to turn it into a pizza cutter. It's been a while since I let my imagination run wild with a new pizza cutter design. The Isabella Cutter was the last cutter that I designed; but with it, I felt like I had to follow the design of Mike Isabella's tattoo. So I have been excited to have the gun to work with and to start fresh. I'm also anxious to apply some of the things that I've been learning these last couple years.
Honestly, this piece feels like a new transition piece for me. Part of the reason for my move, is to have more time to make my own work, show more, and honestly to hopefully return to a more simple existence. Upon making the decision to leave UWM, things have felt a bit lighter and I have been able to focus a bit more on taking care of myself. I went to the doctor last week, and they discovered a diastolic heart murmur, (which I will have looked at today with an echocardiogram), extremely high blood pressure (it seems the old medication wasn't able to maintain the level that I have), and a few other minor things. Even with all of this news, I felt like I was finally on the road to taking care of myself and seeing to things that I have just been ignoring due to being too busy. This cutter has already been fun to focus my energy on and I believe it's going to be really special to me due to marking this transition.
I thought I would show you a bit of the process of how I am going about this transformation. I usually start with several rough sketches to get an idea of what I might want to do. I made these sketches when I first received the gun. After dismantling the gun and taking a look at the various components, I started to refine some of my thoughts on what I could do with the parts I've been given. From these initial sketches I move to a more refined sketch, that is to scale, so I can get a sense of how things might look at actual size. This past Saturday, I started modeling the existing components and started creating forms that will represent the "massing" of the form. I start to work back and forth between detail and the overall form to start the evolution of the piece. Many things will appear "block-like" or "chunky" but eventually, as things progress, I will begin to see further refinement. For me, it's important to get to a place where I can begin making some parts as things still develop even as I am creating parts. This model should get me to that place, but I will have to further define some things in the modeling program at the same time as I am producing parts.
I've found over the years, that this aspect of mystery or curiosity in creating is what drives me to continue work on a specific piece. At the same time it is also, in my opinion, a problem with digital fabrication when it comes to my specific process. If everything I do is decided in the virtual vacuum, then there is little room for experimentation, reaction, or responding to the material in the moment. If decisions are planned down to the final detail then I often find myself not being interested to continue making. This is something that I realized when Eric and I were making our VW hotrods. There was something freeing in working with a piece if sheetmetal and not having a specific drawing other than what was in my head. It felt more like working with clay or glass, in that you could respond to the material in the moment. Some of my early childhood memories stem from this as well, digging through drawers of parts, or discovering things at the hardware store, and just working with the material that was on hand. My early pizza cutters were a similar response as the first cuter design came from an old car stereo amplifier heat sink that I had in a pile of scrap. In addition, non of those early cutters were CNC cut. They were created by manually cutting, and shaping metal with the homemade grinders; combined with basic manual milling and lathe work (but again with no plan for what the final shape of the parts might be). A lot of my recent CNC and 3D printing work has to be "so planned" in order to be produced. This factor begins to explain the sterile quality of things.
All of this is making me reconsider how I work and the workflow that makes me excited to create my own work. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate what can be done digitally, but there is something about understanding material and being able to respond in the moment. Sitting at the computer modeling just doesn't allow things to happen for me in the same way. I'm sure my opinions will continue to evolve, but these ramblings are just where I'm at right now. At the moment, I'm liking where things are headed and I'm excited to start making and responding to some parts very soon. I'll try to document this Imagine Peace Now pizza cutter as things progress.