These images explore the use of light in a design that incorporates a light box and a shelving unit.
This concept came about through increasing the scale of ideas and moving away from simply creating decorative lighting. This idea can function both as a storage unit with an adjustable front to accommodate larger objects as well as a source of light that can be controlled through the movement of the hinges.
The use of steel wire or elastic cord would allow the hinges to run independently of one another and to easily slide back and forth within the design.
More experiments with light need to be done to play with objects within the box creating shadow and blocking the light source. These objects could create pattern and more interest in the shadows created by the light.
I have acquired a sample piece of Valchromat, which is a wood fiber board, similar to MDF, that is coloured with organic dyes and bonded using resin to create a material that is strong in colour. It is available in a variety of thicknesses, beginning at 8mm, which is what I plan to use.
I have had problems laser cutting this because there is not a laser cutter with enough power to cut through the material, but I have created files for the CNC cutting machines in the Soft Modelling workshop to test the flexibility of the material. The issue is that I am not used to creating files for this machine, so have only managed to create samples that are not flexible enough or with cuts that are too large. This has given me insight into how I need to cut the material for a successful cut, so it has been a helpful exercise.
I am planning to outsource laser cutting to experiment further with this material and to see if it is viable to use it instead of birch ply for the degree show.
I want the pulley light to be able to move away from the wall and possibly be attached to another surface like a desk, as it would add versatility to the design. This would mean that a number of different pulleys and ways of fixing the light would need to be devised.
After a visit to the chandlery shop on Penarth Road I have decided to attempt to create my own pulley mechanisms. I bought a couple of pulleys and cleats and plan to take moulds of these to cast parts in pewter or aluminium and laser cut other sections. The design of the light controlled by pulleys still needs a lot of development to successfully hide the bulb and fittings, but I think that developing my own mechanisms will help to create a piece that is quite unique and different to my other designs.
Some more experiments into the control of form. The first images use wire, which I find less effective than the other material I have experimented in. Perhaps a more flexible aluminium wire would be more suitable than the steel wire I have used here as it would allow for more flexibility. What I have been trying to achieve is to put a strip of wire through the hinge to allow it to be bent into different forms that will be supported by the wire.
I have also had a play with clipping smaller hinge parts into larger pieces, this has happened completely by accident and I need to experiment further to see if it can be further developed.
Controlling a living hinge using pulleys will allow for the design itself to be interactive and easy to adjust. The idea for this could be based on the vintage French pull lights that are now typically found at flea markets. I have found a few on pinterest, and a few modern equivalents: https://www.pinterest.com/aliceelliott92/pulleys/
These designs need a pulley system and a weight to be effective, I plan to cast these in a metal such as pewter to add a hand made element to the design.
Experimenting with components to control the shape and bend of hinges whilst still allowing the design to be fully adjustable and easy to manipulate.
The use of string or rope can allow for many other components to become involved in a design for an object. Rope or string can be manipulated the most and also threaded through the hinge design as well as simply through certain parts to really limit the movement. String allows for a pulley system to be involved which means the hinge design can be controlled using cleats, ties and weights.
Elastic bands are also a successful way to control the hinges but only in one direction unless a frame is used to increase support of the hinge.
I think that my dissertation proposal was well thought out and focused on my interests as an artist whilst still maintaining links to my practice despite feeling rather under prepared to begin writing a full dissertation. This is perhaps because I do not feel that I have undertaken enough academic reading prior to this or written an essay since the first year of university. Although my dissertation has changed drastically from my initial ideas the proposal has helped me to stay focused on the topics I have chosen to explore. This is because I have had the ability to look back through the document. I play with the idea of functionality within my work, so it feels natural to look at how function has been explored throughout the twentieth and twenty first centuries as modern art is always more interesting to me than classical styles. I have based my study into works that I already had an interest in, with the one exception of functional art, and I think this has helped me to keep an interest in my what I am writing about. At times I have struggled to generate ideas of what to write about, but once I have remembered about a particular artwork or artist that I had previously researched for another work I found I had most of the knowledge in my head, and just needed to read further to gain an academic perspective. Linking all of this knowledge back to the idea of autonomy was not easy at first, as it is a lot to take in and begin to understand in terms of work it is not commonly applied to, especially as some texts are not an easy read. However, I feel I have managed to harness this to keep the theme throughout my dissertation.
I did not write my dissertation in the order it is presented, and I don’t think that has helped me to stay focused and write as efficiently as I could have. I began with the first half of the first chapter, then moved on to the second chapter before starting the fourth. I then went back to work on my first before starting my third. I found it difficult to begin my third chapter as there is so much out there I could have potentially included, and I had little base knowledge of it, or so I thought before I began to remember previous lectures from my art foundation course. My biggest feat when writing this chapter was through a text I was reading for my first chapter, on autonomy, which also discussed the work of Superflex. From there I was able to build a knowledge of their work quite rapidly thanks to their website which is full of articles and information. This also refreshed my mind into the recollection of other projects that I had not thought about for a number of years.
When reading texts I have made sure to keep a record of the page number, or written the quote down. Although this has been a lengthier process than simply writing them into the text it has meant that I have been able to go back to a text which I read earlier in my project and add it without having to search for the reference by reading again, and it also allowed me to overcome the problem that there are limited copies of the books that heavily influenced my dissertation. This has also meant that I have referenced my essay as I wrote it, which I feel has kept me more organised. Another helpful tool is an app I found for my phone (RefME), which has helped me to reference and write my bibliography by simply scanning the barcode of a book. It also organises all of my references so I am easily able to find anything I need. My bibliography has simply been exported from the app’s website into a word document and edited, which has saved valuable time and eliminated some of the stress and bore of formatting.
The conclusion has been tough to write and I do not think it is a strong enough piece of writing. I feel that more advice would have been helpful, as it is sometimes hard to generate valuable ideas from a text I am so engrossed in. I struggled to pick out the main topics of my dissertation at first, but have found that proofreading multiple times has allowed me to realise the main points of the text.
To improve my work I have chosen to work in the library on a number of occasions as it helps me to focus. It has also meant that many of the books I have needed have been at hand as well as books that I simply wanted to query items in. It has sped up my writing dramatically when I have needed to produce a chapter in a small amount of time. It also meant I would be less likely to procrastinate, its hard to focus when you’ve hit a bit of a wall and have such easy access to the internet and are spending so much time with a computer.
Overall I think I have achieved a successful piece of writing, but have struggled a lot with small details. At times it has felt like playing Chinese whispers, as a lot of information about presentation and formatting seems to have been left unsaid and when asking peers for advice everyone has been told something different by their tutor. However, I think that this has been overcome through a peer support system that we have created out of necessity.