This week we have been planning the construction phase of our pieces for the class which will be built in studio full scale this upcoming week. Our material and construction methods will develop as we attempt to put our rather large triangular project on display in our working studio space. Desks are moving so we have room to display all fifteen teams’ work. Recertification in the woodshop today gives us the okay to begin cutting the cardboard tubes and figuring out how to connect the pieces. This is going to be a fun and crazy week in the studio.
Category Archives: Class Notes 101
Color seems like a small word to describe all that color is and does in our world. Often taken for granted, the very idea of what is happening when color is seen is worthy of study. Interestingly enough, we all see each color in a unique way. It is never really the same interpretation from one person to the next. Ask someone to describe a color and you will see what I mean. Our eyes literally do not see the same color from person to person.
The relativity of color is so interesting as well. To see yellow with white and then to compare yellow against red or blue is quite different. Whatever you surround the other color with you will get an interesting morphing of the originals and until they are pure again by removing the other color. Seeming transparency and vibration occurs when you bring complimentary colors together. As noted in Josef Albers book Interaction of Color, a study of contrasts and compliments is very educational. IN the forward of the book Albers states “It brings infininte personal pleasure while perpetually expanding the way that colors are used and perceived in art, architecture, textiles, interior design, and graphic media at every level of technology.”
Our studio work was first to get us to see the complimentary colors and their mix. Light and shade and their middle mix.
Next we explored how to achieve a middle mix using three colors. We continued learning to take four colors and add a lighter mix to create mixes. Finally we created a diamond shaped color comparison with three way mixes creating a lighter half and a darker half.
We are now reading Christopher Alexander’s Nature of Order regarding color and how it compares to our previous readings regarding the 15 properties of design. The “Inner Light” created in the unfolding process or color quality which arises as something comes to life, approaches and reveals the “I”. The “I” is a sub-stratum which Alexander says forms a matrix for all matter united. A conduit for interaction with us. The “I” can be seen as a certain kind of color. This is the phenomenon of “Inner Light”. When color is whole we experience the color as a single field of color, pure and unbroken UNITY.<a
Our latest project involved getting a freshly cut two x four piece of pine and were instructed to find a way to express a system of scale within that wood. We were free to find a system of scale to replicate or create. Simple or complex, systems of scale are everywhere. After orientation in the wood shop we were set free to figure out how to do our project. I looked for inspiration online and looked first at architectural systems of scale in ceilings made of wood and thought originally that I would make a model of the ceiling in our studio. I took photos and thought it would be pretty simple, if I made the cuts correctly. It would have been very safe, but like I said, systems of scale are everywhere and once you are looking for them it is hard to choose what you want to show. Looking online I found other systems of scale that led me back to Japanese architecture in bridges, ceilings and then I saw the Hokusai paintings of waves. The energy in the paintings fascinated me and I decided that I had to attempt to pull out the concepts of the waves as a system of scale. The looming waves about to crash down onto the men in the boat will be devestating. Death is certain. The boat would float to the top, the men will sink to their deaths. Instead of showing men in the boat I decided to add an Albatross, floating on a swell approaching the crashing waves. The bird will survive the crashing, tumbling energy and will pop back to the surface.
My piece was first cut on the re-saw into five 1/4″ pieces. I took it back to the studio and just thought of how to possibly cut just this one piece and get all of the parts I needed to construct the wave. I cut the entire piece layer by layer out of paper to decide how to layer the pieces for greatest effect. They were arranged many times in many ways and then I transferred the drawings onto each piece of wood. Cutting out the rough shapes went fairly well and looked rough, but it was a start and the boards did not break! I sanded and sanded….and sanded. Getting the right smooth waves was important. To hold the piece together I thought to cut pegs from the wood and considered punching holes with the miter. It looked risky to me and to possibly ruin the wood and have to start over, so I decided to drill and use small dowels that would hold the pieces together and allow them to slide smoothly. After cutting all the pieces and using a small amount of linseed oil it was just the length of the dowels that had to be decided. They are cut in a wave pattern with angled ends, indicating the continuation of the wave from the highest point. I discovered that the piece could be placed in two positions and it is very interesting to consider the forms in each orientation. Photos of my process are included below.
Up to this point in our discussions we have considered the purpose of space and the distances that we interact within each day. Our project is to create a boundary for our desks that is private, but also unified with the other members of our group seating arrangement. After discussing how to design our space and pin down our own ideas we are now in construction mode.
After looking into Japanese style Shoji screens I felt drawn to this idea and wanted to develop a way to build my boundary if needed and remove it as necessary. Still remaining in full contact with my space-mates is very important to me and I enjoy the view and the light from where I sit. We are to work mainly with bamboo skewers and newspaper to fashion this creation. I decided to use the plywood model and layer sheets of newspaper with Mod-Podge to create walls. I hope to figure out how to cut out panels from the newspaper walls and install my trash windows and put this into the frame I made from dowels, framing panels and skewers. I may cut the windows and then slide the paper inside,secured by the skewers. The panels will be movable and will allow me privacy when needed and a quick take away if needed to work. Moving the screens out to the sides of the desk is also a good option. I wanted to make my own paper out of shredded photos from the paper and some comics, but not sure if that will be done by next Friday. Maybe…
Learning to find a direction for a process was brought into being while working on my Stick Project. Stephanie helped me to refine what I was trying to say through placement of components and helped me see how to direct the eye through the piece. Everything speaks! Pruning and pruning some more made the important branches stand out and the idea firm up. Kayla advised me to consider the crafting of the pieces and to secure them from falling off, except the one branch that is purposefully down. Adding the shadows onto the paper under the structure was fun and a nice addition thanks to Brian, a graduate student. I learned a lot with this.
Attempting to draw Curry Building was a challenge to me in concentration and getting my hand to draw what I see instead of what it wanted to. Perspective drawing books offered some advice on planes and point of view that need to stay firm or the entire focus shifts and you get lost. I will draw this again after a study with photos from different perspectives. I have the drawing narrowed to two views currently. I loved the space and will go there often.
Negative space drawings this week were my favorite and I thought successful. The eyeglass case was a lesson in knowing when to stop drawing. It was a messy, overdrawn uh-oh. I left it as is to remember to not do that again. It was okay 20 steps before, but I kept adding and adding to a jumble as a result. I always told the kids, if you are not making mistakes, you are not learning. Yep!
Pruning the branches and wrapping the twigs much more heavily with thread helps them to stand out. Moving the leaves to the right helps direct your eye to the fall colors and begin to move around the piece concluding at the spring green branch balanced between a v in the branch. The thought behind the structure allows the life cycle of the tree and it’s seasonal colors and cycle of renewal, fullness, fading, falling and dormancy. Rebirth in the spring with the delicate greens and the cycle begins again. We were assigned to choose twelve sticks and design a free standing structure with meaning to be discussed next Friday in class. We are allowed to use thread or twine in our structures. The fragile Dogwood branches would crumble as I wrapped them in old thread that I found at an estate sale. I used grays, browns, greens and bright green. One branch is not hanging in the tree and is on the ground, but still wrapped in gray thread. I am adding another element to the paper on which this structure sits. I will add shadow detail onto the paper that will be seen once you lift the structure from the paper. While it is on the paper the shadows look natural in studio light.
Pen drawing of delicate branch details takes a lot of time and attention to many features which give the branches and twigs their unique qualities. Our patio at home has a Dogwood tree growing in the center of a concrete patio with a tiny oasis of earth to live in. I have watered that tree religiously as it is the only source of shade in the patio and I could not be outside for long in the summer without that tree. Our children grew up playing under its canopy and have taken their photos on summer holidays and parties in front of that tree. I don’t actually know how it manages to live at all. It is completely hollow. We have film of squirrels chasing each other in and out of the hollow areas and it was hilarious. Anyway…I always get lost…the project we were assigned was to take 12 sticks and draw them with ink on Bristol board and list their qualities. Also we had to come up with a design that would show something. We had to figure it out.
I saw what I wanted to do and found the branches early this morning after the rain last night. I have two major branches and then one smaller with a few early fall leaves and the rest are all tiny twigs from the larger branches that were wrapped in fine thread in varying colors to indicate the colors seen in the tree throughout the year. Spring color with the pale greens and gold blend into strong summer greens then fading to the orange-red of autumn and the darker browns. Finally the grays are seen and at the end the last wrapped piece is again pale and perfect green. The cycle of renewal, change and dormancy are what I wanted to show in this piece. The three major pieces are held together with hemp cord. One half of the smaller wrapped pieces are held on the larger pieces by a small loop of hemp cord and the other half of the small color wrapped pieces are held by pieces of thread in which they are wrapped.