Friday, June 07, 2013

design spiral...

small sliding top boxes
In Wooden Boat, number 230 which came out at the beginning of this year, Paul Gartside describes what he calls a "design spiral," in which a designer revisits old designs and applies their characteristics to new designs.

The same can be said of a "technical spiral," in which a craftsman being familiar with a particular technique and having found success in its use will apply it over and over to a variety of projects as he or she explores its potentials. A dowel or biscuit may lead to a slot mortise, a slot mortise may lead to the real thing, then as a craftsman gains confidence in the use of hand or machine tools, he or she may spiral upward in the exploration of new techniques and design aesthetics.

A person might visualize these two spirals, one having to do with design and the other technique as being a double helix. If I had time, I would draw it for you. Instead, I will invite you to think about how a simple box is a complex intersection of aesthetics and techniques, that are closely related as we make decisions in box making.

sticky back sand paper laid on a flat surface. VoilĂ 
Each year, as I teach at Marc Adams School, we do a picture of a box, surrounded by the vast array of design decisions, which essentially serve as a self-portrait of the maker... his or her intentions, aesthetics, skills, inspiration and aspirations.

Today in the wood shop, I am thinking about my upcoming class. I'll fly back to Indiana on Sunday. I am also working on two box designs and all the associated photos for my book currently in process.

Make, fix and create...

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