I have been focusing on artworks that have functional aspects, but I feel I need to also look at art outside of the gallery too if I want to look at the many types of art that have a connection with everyday life. I am struggling to work with three chapters, I don’t think that three ‘topics’ are going to be enough for what I want to look at. I am going to expand to four, one for a historical context and theory, one about functional objects becoming art, art that is functional and also one to discuss art outside of the gallery. I think this will allow me to make a more whole point, but each one will need to be shorter (somewhere between 1,500 to 2,000 each) to allow for my introduction and my conclusion. I have already written a significant amount about functional objects becoming art, a historical context and art outside the gallery. I am struggling to think of art that is functional and I also need to develop a sort of argument for the autonomy of art to give a reasonable discussion in my conclusion.
I have been experimenting with the perspex wedges for the bendy light. These designs allow for the wiring to be put through the light or not to be. The main problem with the wedges is the tolerances. The CNC machine loses some of the material when it cuts so the wedges do not have as close a fit as I would like. I am working to fix this problem.
I have been experimenting with solid wood to create a bendable and directional light. These two pieces are cut from lime wood and oak, it is important that I use hard woods for this concept as the soft woods such as pine do not have the strength to withstand the bending. This is because the rings are further apart in soft woods due to the speed at which they grow, a hardwood tree will grow slower meaning that the rings are closer together.
This is a piece in pine, which broke as the bend reached its limit and illustrates why it is important to use a hard wood.
Now I have successful experimentation I need to work out how I will wire up the light, I can either attempt to conceal the wire within the wood, which will mean creating the piece in sections as a hole will need to be drilled through the wood. The alternative is to use fabric flex, in a similar way to my flatpack lights. This will make a feature of the wiring as well as the bend of the wood.
Because I want the lighting to be adjustable I am going to need to be able to fix the light in place at varying angles. I plan to do this using wedges of perspex that will slot into the cuts. I have created a prototype below using Rhino and then cut in model board using a CNC milling machine, it gives an idea of the size of what can be inserted into the wood. Because the size of the cut is 3mm I can only insert something that goes up to a maximum of 5mm. This is a very tight fit, so perhaps losing half a millimetre from the end would make it easier to insert and remove. A number of these will be needed to create a larger wedge, so I want to use a material that is clear. I will be meeting with Dipec, a company that specialises in fabricating 3D plastics, in the next few days to find out what they can do to help me create accurate perspex versions of my designs.
I now need to focus on designing a suitable base that will also have storage space for the wedges.
Here are two of the laser cut “kits” that I am working on. The first has not yet been successful, but when hun the springyness of the cuts is something that I want to develop and use. I was hoping I would be able to get these to slot together, but I was not precise enough when drawing them out to be cut. I am hoping that I will be able to find a solution to this, as I like the idea of creating a cone like structure. I will also experiment with cutting the hinge design at an angle, to allow a wrapping effect for another kit.
The second kit is almost there, it slots together nicely but there is a slight overlap of the materials. I also feel that the little notches are too small and fiddly and will not work well in wood, so I am going to make these larger before the next cut. I will also add a fitting for the light bulb to be inserted, but I am not sure what to do with the base. This light could be created as a pendant, or with adjustments, to turned into a table light.
I have taken a break from laser cutting and have decided to play with strips of cardboard instead to get a feel for what these lights could look like.
The first design is quite simple, created with two pieces alternately cut and slotted together, this design has potential, but a “kiss” cut using a loser cutter would also be needed. This type of cut does not cut all the way through the material, but comes close. It would allow more bendability of the material.
The second involves a fluorescent (or LED) tube fitted through the middle. The bends in the wood could be made using the living hinge designs that I have created, or through a method of cutting wood called “kerf” cutting, where a cut is made using a circular saw that can be adjusted so it does not cut all of the way through the wood. I am yet to experiment with this method.
The third simply employs the use of a living hinge but is tapered at the top. This design could use individual LEDs that are slotted into the gaps at the bottom (it would also aid the tapering of the material). It would also be interesting to see how this would work with the use of conductive ink, eliminating the need for wiring but adding the difficulty of concealing a power source.
My fourth design could also benefit from the use of conductive ink and LED bulbs. I want to further explore the idea of creating layers of the laser cut material and the possibility of allowing these layers to be moved up and down with the use of a threaded rod. Adding this to the design of a hinge could prove difficult, so a method of slotting each hinge into another piece that could wind around the thread would need to be employed. The design could also be turned ninety degrees to allow for a design that could move from left to right. It would be a useful light to have above a workbench as the lighting source can be adjusted to different sections of the bench.
The fifth design is relatively simple and allows for any number of parts to be added on. This would need to have conductive ink to allow for the design to work, as wiring would compromise the concept I have created and limit the possibilities of an infinite number of parts. Again, barely power could become an issue as one battery would be needed to power a small number of these loops.
I think some of these designs allow the potential to create a variety of kits that allow the consumer the choice of purchasing a kit that is simple to put together or can become quite skilled and complex.