Archive for the 'Softness of Things' Category

Softness Combination Lock Final

Friday, December 21st, 2007

For my final I wanted to revisit my combination lock / puzzle, but this time changing the surface making it more pleasing to the touch. I sketched out some designs to help express my ideas. Here’s what I came up with.

The next step was to build and explore surface materials. Since I had little time to laser cut my pieces I decided to make my next puzzle out of wood and neoprene. Scavenging basswood from blink and sporting wrap from K-Mart I came up with a cylindrical design. I wanted to use a more organic shape but this proved to be a bit difficult due to lack of skill on my part.

I first set out to cut out 7 circular pieces out of the basswood. Then I cut out the slits for the key.

Next step I hand cut the braces for the pieces then glue them to the ends of the object. Rubbing wood glue to both pieces always guarantee a secure attachment - advice form Thomas G.
braces attachment

Now it’s time to make the key. this is done by taking a slice of wood and with the Exacto knife, space and cut out the ridges. This took some playing with while adjusting the circular joints. At times I had to shave off pieces of wood to make it fit.


After fitting all the elements together it was time to seal it with the neoprene. but somehow I got the bright idea to add an LED to the device. I managed to fit it in the base so when the key is all the way in it closes the circuit. It was quite difficult getting the circuit in. Thus it broke while I was testing.

Anyway, having little experience with the neoprene I found it hard to work with. It was a bit thicker than I would like and applying the fabric glue made it too messy for my liking. But I stuck with it and after a few tries was able to glue the neoprene to the wood.


I also wanted to add beads for sound when shaken. But I decided to leave that to future revision.
All sealed up and ready for testing I had Stephanie demo it. the combination was very easy for her to figure out but she really liked how it felt.

IN class I had some good feedback when I presented it. So far most liked how it felt. I think most got the concept and would be interested in future versions. My personal critique was that it was too big. I would really like to play with other shapes and try to introduce a narrative with these objects, making the more than a puzzle. Making it more complex while simple with a soft touch is a great task I foresee. having them laser cut will be a great help in the future.

Here are some links I found interesting with respect to puzzles.

Rob’s Puzzles

Puzzles in Wood

Materials - Orange Peel

Friday, November 16th, 2007

After last class I was sure that I would not blog that session. In my zest to stay away from the norm I totally failed to convey my point to the class. But now for me I think I will blog for my future reflections.

While most people presented really amazing material concepts, I decided to use natural grown fruits consisting of Oranges, Limes and Onion shoots.


Inspired by Eva Hesse’ work with latex which changed over time, I wanted to illustrate art and crafts which decay and or transform in a rapid succession. My goal was to take a time-lapse of the decaying artwork over a course of a week, but reflecting on how my presentation went, I killed it. Regretfully!

In any case I did take some other pics, so I hope you the reader get the concept I was trying to convey.

As you can see I cut out the skins off the oranges in the shape of flowers an, which were then extended by the onion shoots as the stems. The oranges were thick and needed a slight bit of care to peel without much distortion.


Next I peeled the the limes in pieces and I made a bug and a snake.


the result is a picture of a garden with two flowers, a snake and a bug. The narrative of the scene; the snake, which have been hiding in the fallen petals of the flower is camouflaged and is making it’s way close to the flower where the bug will eventually land.


This is the cycle of life, and like all natural organic matter (materials I will call them), they decay and replenish the earth, thus continuing the cycle. The materials used to illustrate will also continue the cycle.

But let’s look at organic materials a bit more. Think of Cotton; it comes from a plant. We process, weave and make clothing and other garments with cotton. Reference to how cotton is made.

Also think about Silk which is spun from the cocoon of the Silk worm. Silk ref.

How about animals! We all know about leather, snake-skin, alligator skin, goat skin, and now eco-friendly Fish skin Hand bags, Wallets and Bikini’s: ( Handbags ref1, Bags ref2, Bikini’s ref3 ).

Back to the skin of fruits as materials, I did find some works which specifically uses the skin of and/or scent of oranges.

Orange peel Carpet:

Jan Hopkin’s artwork with Orange Peel


One more thing; Where I grew up we used natural plant leaves for holding food and cooking. The dried green orange skin we use as a form of tea when boiled. You can taste the orange flavor and the dried peel last for weeks if not months. We use the leaves of banana plants to wrap flower and berries and place in a boiling pot. Simple uses of Banana Leaves.

I hope at least this was educational and that maybe we can look deeper into the old word for newer sources of materials and more.

Forgot to add this link:
MSE - Materials Science and Engineering