Learning to Weave

A few weeks ago my wife and I took an introduction to weaving class. This is something I have been wanting to do for a while now. My fascination with textiles has been growing ever since grad school when I became familiar with the work of the dutch designer Hella Jongarius. Her work with this medium is fascinating to me especially the way she integrates her extensive knowledge of color and pattern.

I am fascinated with textiles because of their deep connection to people. That is to say, people seem to respond to textiles in an emotional way. They bridge the biological and man-made worlds to become something that is made by people, yet feels intrinsically human. I see this in the role cloth and textiles played throughout history and human and cultural development. From a design standpoint, it is a material that so often involves close contact with people, making the tactility of the material (not just the look of it) essential to the the overall design.

It was such a pleasure to experiment with this material and begin to learn about the process of weaving at the Chicago Weaving School. 

Making a Longer Match

I started thinking about ways to extend the reach of a match after becoming frustrated with being unable to reach down into a candle to light it. I wanted to create an elegant simple solution that would not require fastening the match to anything and no moving parts. The design needed to be as easy as the action of lighting the match itself. So I came up with a design that is as simple as sliding the match into the end of the extender and then lighting it. The solution supports both regular matches and flat paper matches. I want to work with brass because of the beautiful deep luster that its golden finish has in a dim room lit by candlelight.

Tea, Coffee and Grandiose Thinking

I really enjoy drinking tea and coffee. I find that I continuously have ideas about how to make the experience better or different. Sometimes I just have an idea for a cool looking cup, sometimes I'm inspired to rethink the way we drink tea or coffee, and sometimes I get so grandiose as to consider how to inspire cultural identity in the experience. Here are a few sketches I did recently when I was inspired.

Tea_Set_2.jpg

Creating Mangrove

The past few weeks I have been working on building a final production quality prototype of a clothing rack design that I'm calling Mangrove. The design seemed like a tree that was growing vertically and horizontally, reminding of the unique mangrove trees that grow in the tropics. The product is made from oak dowels with a wax finish, and felt feet to protect your floors from scuffs and scratches. 

Constructing the jigs.

Constructing the jigs.

Measuring and marking the places for holes in the dowels.

Measuring and marking the places for holes in the dowels.

Drilling the holes in the dowels.

Drilling the holes in the dowels.

Testing fitting the pieces.

Testing fitting the pieces.

Applying the wax finish.

Applying the wax finish.

Assembling the finished pieces.

Assembling the finished pieces.

Photos of the finished piece to come.

Exploring South Korea

My wife and I had the opportunity to visit South Korea in May. It was wonderful to see such a beautiful country and such kind and welcoming people. We had the privilege of visiting three different parts of the country. We stayed in Seoul, Sokcho (a fishing city on the eastern coast) and the island of Jeju (a large volcanic island off the southern coast). We also had the opportunity to meet several designers and learn about design and education in South Korea. Traveling through the country was a great chance to view design and the world through different eyes and with a new perspective.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, South Korea

Morning haze hanging over Jeju island, South Korea.

Morning haze hanging over Jeju island, South Korea.

Marina full of fishing vessels in Sokcho, South Korea.

Marina full of fishing vessels in Sokcho, South Korea.

We hiked up to a beautiful lookout on Seoraksan, South Korea.

We hiked up to a beautiful lookout on Seoraksan, South Korea.

On the Ferry preparing to dock on Udo Island off the coast of Jeju, South Korea.

On the Ferry preparing to dock on Udo Island off the coast of Jeju, South Korea.

Designing a Sealed Jar Terrarium

I learned about a man, a while ago, who owns a sealed jar terrarium that has only been watered once in 53 years (See the article). I was intrigued by the idea of creating a self sustaining ecosystem in a bottle, and decided to try making one. I decided to design my own tools in order to have adequate access to the bottle, since the one I wanted to use was an old bourbon bottle with a narrow mouth.

After designing and building the tools, I found some moss and bought a small plant and used the tools to insert the moss, plant and soil into the jar. I added some water, and now I'll wait to see how it does.

The finished terrarium.

The finished terrarium.

Creating the tools needed to set up the plants and dirt inside of a bottle with a small mouth.

Creating the tools needed to set up the plants and dirt inside of a bottle with a small mouth.

Four tools: tweezers, shovel, tamper, and glass cleaning tool.

Four tools: tweezers, shovel, tamper, and glass cleaning tool.

Inserting the plant with a the tweezer tools.

Inserting the plant with a the tweezer tools.

The finished terrarium, workspace, and tools.

The finished terrarium, workspace, and tools.

The plant and moss that are planted in the terrarium.

The plant and moss that are planted in the terrarium.

Experimenting with Film

I took some time the other day to enjoy the tropical weather at the Garfield Park Conservatory.  It was a good day to go too, since the wind chill outside was below zero.  I decided to experiment with some short 10 second film clips that highlight the subtle movements of life within the Conservatory.