Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Mexico Pictures - the inspiration for my ring project

This is a picture of me and my little sister Tara in Las Cruces, NM in 1986. The relevant part of this picture is behind me. I had to walk about half a block to reach the desert, and an unobstructed view of the Organ mountains. As part of my ring project I have decided to use the New Mexico desert as my inspiration for making my pieces.
On a different note, this picture was taken for the local newspaper in 1996. I was a senior in high school. These outfits were heavier than you might think. It really was a lot of fun to play and sing in this group; we were called the Mariachi Diamante, I think. Go ahead and try to find me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

IDEO and the Art of Innovation, and another book I bought instead

Last semester, when we were given our book list, Jan required The Art of Innovation, by Tom Kelly for all of the classes I had with her. Being a little short on cash, I declined this one, and read various chapters here and there. I confess I shied away from actually purchasing it after reading some of the reviews on Amazon. However, I was able to download it from my local library, and now I listen to it (ten CDs, total) in the car when I am not listening to NPR, stories meant for children (I am a mom), or Christmas music ('tis the season, right?).

So, I keep coming back to a couple of chapters again and again, and one of them is Chapter Six, Prototyping is the Short Hand of Innovation. This chapter deals specifically with prototyping. I guess the biggest point in this chapter is that prototyping isn't just model-making to Ideo. It is sketching, doodling, drawing, making and testing the model until their team is confident the product is ready to for production. It seems that all of the prep work before the product comes out is prototyping. Everything has to be checked to see what is right and what is not right for the product. The author likes to point out that constantly getting thoughts out on paper is the way they are able to work out solutions to problems, and essentially have the tools to innovate.

I also liked the story about the steering wheel that could only be prototyped in a red plastic to show the client in time for their scheduled deadline and meeting. The client loved the color so much it inspired a wide range of colorful steering wheels that were manufactured as components to video games.

The chapter also focused on the variety of extremes their company has gone to test a prototype - it has to be tested in the real world under real conditions.

I suppose the other chapter I really enjoyed is chapter four, The Perfect Brainstorm - Really, all of us need to get over feeling like an idea is embarrassing or not applicable and just get out the first things that come to mind when we sit down to actually do a brainstorm as a class. I can honestly say I have enjoyed brainstorming with everyone in our metals classes much more this semester than last semester. That is because I have been very forward and direct with my thoughts and ideas during our brainstorming sessions, without really caring if everyone liked or disliked what I said. The idea was to let every crazy inconceivable notion come out into the open in the beginning, and sorting the better ideas would come later.

Brainstorms that were memorable this semester were on the "Definition of Hollow Form" and our somewhat informal "Iconic Form". I was pretty sad to miss our "What is a Ring?" brainstorm, especially since the Walters Museum in Baltimore really set me in the mood for challenging what a ring form and purpose has traditionally meant and translating that to a modern form today.

Things we are missing to make our brainstorms like Ideo's:

1) tell the boss to leave the room...is Jan the boss? Do we feel pressure because we don't want to come up with an idea that she doesn't like? Or are we more fearful of blurting out ideas in front of our peers?

2)chocolate chip cookies. Yes, the book recommends chocolate chip cookies to get the ball rolling.

Fun Facts: Ideo came up with the Coinstar machine. I haven't used one yet, but now I want to, just to get more of the Ideo experience, without buying a heart stream defibrillator, for example.

So I bought another book instead: IDEO: Eyes Open New York. It was passed around on the bus we took to New York City this year. I only bought it because I saw who the authors were (Ideo) and the reviews on Amazon were good. This book reads like a little guide into the speakeasies and not so well known places in New York that might interest hip tourists. Hey, I'm hip. I like off the beaten path places. And I especially like the small size of the guide with color pictures.

I have yet to visit one of those places, but I think Rice to Riches may be my first stop - the restaurant featured on page 23 has a sign on their window, "Eat all you want...you're already fat."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cooper Hewitt Exhibition - Fashioning Felt

More Felt!!

There will be an exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in DC called Fashioning Felt that will run from March 6 to September 7, 2009. Apparently this show is going to run the full monty of felt, from historical examples to current innovations, from wearables to architecture. This is going to be so cool.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Making Quick Silicone Caulk Molds

To ensure I had all the proper instructions, I went to Taxidermy.net for all of their advice on how to make quickie molds with silicone caulk.
**The molds you make with this process are not for casting food you will eat. You need to buy a specialty silicone for that.**
My supplies included silicone caulk, a caulk gun, soapy water in a cup, wax paper and newspaper and Murphys oil soap, just to make sure the mushrooms would pop out of the mold.

First, I got my fingers wet with the soapy water, and I rubbed a thin layer of silicone onto the piece and let it cure.
Then, after it had dried, I mixed acrylic paint with the caulk and thickend up the surface of the mold. The paint is supposed to aid in the silicone curing faster than it would normally if it had no paint (water-based agent)
to help it dry out. It works. Go to Taxidermy.net and follow Joshua Knuth's illustrated instructions.
****Beware the odor!!!**** Silicone is quite...potent.

My Ikea Hack-Job

This is the "Before" image of the Ikea child's table and chairs I bought and put together last year. This model is called Latt.
Here is the "After":

This is the finished paint and resurfacing job I did. I painted the whole thing with a primer, then I painted the wood black.
It is important ot note that the table top and chair tops were cheap, flimsy cardboard. But, I thought they could be strenghtened with a resin top.
I added little paint chips that you can pick up for free from the paint section of Home Depot or Lowes. (It took a while to cut with scissors. Next time I'll use a paper cutter.) I purposely placed them to look like I had tiled the surface. Then I mixed a two part resin epoxy for the hard surface on the top. Voila! A table and two chairs with a new twist. Not bad for a redo on a $20 set.