Sunday, November 10, 2013

getting started in design...

I am trying to gather my thoughts for my sidebars on design. Let me know if this is helpful to you.

There are two sides to 3D design. There are aesthetic concerns. How do we make this box beautiful and interesting? Then there's the practical or technical side having to do with how corners are to be joined, how various parts and components work in relation to each other and what tools and materials are to used to their best effect in creating a box.  These concerns are not unrelated. The techniques used in making a box, for joining corners and the like, will offer a sense of rhythm, or contrast or add to the texture to the box, with each of these increasing its visual interest and proclaiming your craftsmanship. The lasting beauty of the materials used in making a wooden box is a value that deserves attention.

I tell my adult box making students that a good box can be a "toe turner." Artists attending their booths at craft shows have noted that they can pretty much mind their own business, reading, or quietly working or the like, keeping an occasional eye on traffic passing by until they see toes turning toward their work.  This turning of toes is a physiological customer response and clear sign alerting the artist to look up from his or her work, make eye contact with a new admirer and begin the process of making a sale.

We all want our boxes to be toe turners. We want them to attract interest from across the room and then sustain that interest as admirers draw close... as they visually examine remarkable qualities and feel the fine textures we've worked hard to impart. Aside from the technical expertise we hope our boxes will convey to their admirers we hope that they will also convey a sense of our own enjoyment of them as finished products and express the enjoyment we found in the process of making them. This, I believe, requires a sense of playfulness in their making.

They say that human creativity significantly decreases for every year past Kindergarten. Schooling does some of that as we are taken away from self-directed play and expected to conform to measurements and standards imposed by others. That invites a sense of awkwardness in our sense of self. Returning to that sense of natural playful creativity is one of the most difficult things for adult box makers. It requires suspending judgment of our own work, and being willing to risk failure.

Plan to make more than a single box at a time, so that you can try different things with each one. Just as a child goes down the slide and can hardly wait to climb up to the top again, convinced that the next trip will be even faster than the first, invest in a spirit of play in your work and take pleasure in the process, even if this requires you to take less concern for the finished box. In time, and through multiple trips down the slide, your boxes will turn toes and gain the attention your craftsmanship deserves.

Make, fix and create...

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