Form Building.

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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.


Visualisation.

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Its hard to know how the light will look when it is created because there is a lot of material I am planning to cut out to make a less bulky design. I have found creating drawings in this way really useful to help me plan where to cut the shades and join them to one another. I have simply washed out the images and drawn over the pieces I plan to keep, although it is only two dimensional it is the closest thing to actually having the cut materials in front of me. I’m sure that these drawings will be useful too during the making of the lights as I can refer back to them to know how I have planned to reconstruct the artefacts.


Experimentation.

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I’ve been experimenting with the forms hung up. This is definitely the direction I want to be going in. It also seems that having the lights suspended above one another is also more appealing than slotting them together. It doesn’t look as “thrown together” and it has more of a thought out look.

I feel that they are still too bulky. The lights work where the curves of one of the lampshades come out of the outer one, but they do not sit well inside. I now need to decide where to cut the lampshades to make them fit together more smoothly. I feel this will mean they are also less bulky.


Having a blast.

 

Sand blasting induction. Because of the thickness of the ceramic I decided to give sandblasting a go to thin out the surface. Unfortunately the ceramic is not a consistent thickness and the nature of sandblasting means that holes were created where the ceramic was thinner. This is unfortunate, but I have plans that will incorporate my thick and thin pieces.


Nice to handle, nice to hold.


 

The first trial of porcelain is out of the kiln, it has only been put through a combustible bisque at 1000 degrees so it is not as translucent as it potentially could be. The ultra bright LEDs do not shine through the ceramic at the moment, I am hoping this will change after the next firing. However, I like them as objects to hold. Many people have commented on the smoothness of the object and how appealing it becomes when held. They feel fragile, as if they could be broken easily yet their structure is strong and they have a weight to them. I want the final instillation piece to involve light and also be an interactive piece of work. I want the objects I am creating to look touchable and to be held by the onlooker.


Porcelain. Finally.

 

My first experiments in porcelain. These forms have been inspired by the Ikea paper light itself, I have dismantled one by taking out the coiled wooden support. It still has a spherical shape,  but this can be manipulated to created more interesting deflated forms. I have recreated these forms using balloons, newspaper and tissue paper.

The porcelain slip is much thicker than the earthenware I have been using previously so I have only dipped the balloons once. They were also harder to coat as the porcelain retains a memory so wants to return to a lump like state. I have more to “dip” ready for firing next week.


Round two.

 

Second attempt at ceramic balloons. This time I have popped the balloon whilst the slip is “leather hard” (hard, but not quite dry.) The waiting time was awkward, I was advised it would be about half an hour but it turned into fifty minutes. the balloon on the right had three layers of slip, not two so was not quite dry enough when I popped. It sunk as soon as the support was removed, but this could be more interesting. I am still waiting for them to be fired to see how they come out.


Pop.

Clear glaze inside.

 

Balloon experiments. Previous paper mache balloons having been dipped in clay slip and hanging to dry, the ceramic outcome after being reduction fired at 1000 degrees, experiments with glaze. I only put two coats of slip onto the balloons as I want the final outcome (in porcelain) to have a translucent quality. Unfortunately this makes them weaker, and the clay did crack as it dried (this was also because the clay shrunk at a faster rate than the balloon). When I went to pick them up not all of the material had burnt out (steel wire) so this has put more strain on the clay and increased the fragility. However, glazing the shells will strengthen them – I have put a clear glaze on the outside and just need to spray the glaze on the outside and they will be fired again to see if this improves their strength.


Metal forks.

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Plasma cut forks. I used sheet metal to create the basic shape without the prongs, I am going to make these using wires that will be spot welded on to the end of each fork. The quality of the cut left by the plasma cutter is unique, and the almost charred look is appealing. I could colour the metals using a flame. There’s still a lot I could do with these shapes. Bending them is something I know will happen.


Printing cutlery.

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First 3D print!! After the usual issues with Rhino I managed to print a fork.. I drew the shape using a scanned image, created a surface and extruded it before using the bend and twist tools. I then took a 2D drawing of the object and further bent the form. The print only took about 20 minutes to complete. The forms that are printed can be built up to create a further abstract form.