Autumnal Maker School: Art Exhibit

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This fall, I’m running the Autumnal Maker School (AMS). What’s required to be in the school, and to graduate? Make ten things between September 21 and December 21. Preferably useful things, but artistic things work too. I have made a Volvelle, a computer program that calculates the area of a hexagon, a graphic design sample that shows how to make an Egyptian god, a braiding disk, and picture IDs for my school. 

Part of me feels slightly guilty for sharing this as part of my Maker School series. The paintings were produced between August 2014 and October 2015. Most of them were finished only in September and October of this year, as in a couple of weeks ago.

But I also wanted to create an online record of my art show, and give blog-readers a chance to see the images I created for this art show, called Golden Mysteries: Paintings inspired by Traditional Geometry.

There will be a “meet the artist” evening on November 12, 2015, from 5:30 pm to 8:00pm, at Klekolo World Coffee, 181 Court Street, Middletown, CT 06457.  I’ll be there.

Golden Mysteries

It was a lot more complicated to set up an art show than I thought it would be. There was the question of positioning the hooks on the wall, and then writing up the descriptions of each painting, and deciding on a price (I’m thinking the paintings are overpriced, really… even though they’re priced to sell.) And there’s the added challenge that I walk into this coffee house every day, see the paintings, and — I’m dissatisfied.  I’m sure that I could have done better with these paintings than I actually did.

That said//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Click through on the image to see the full 35 pictures on Flickr.

Autumn Maker School: Manufacturing Process

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Various Images

This fall, I’m running the Autumnal Maker School (AMS). What’s required to be in the school, and to graduate? Make ten things between September 21 and December 21. Preferably useful things, but artistic things work too. I have made a Volvelle, a computer program that calculates the area of a hexagon, a graphic design sample that shows how to make an Egyptian god, a braiding disk, and picture IDs for my school. 

What’s the point of AMS? How is it possible to learn how to do something — as opposed to learning about something?  Largely, the answer to that question is trial and error.  Or, as the alchemists said, Solve Et Coagula: dissolve and recombine. When you make a mistake in a design or creative process, largely what one has to do is disassemble the thing, and re-assemble it correctly.  Or at least, one has to acknowledge the mistakes, and note what one would fix in a future effort.  This is hard work, but it’s important work, because it shows us how to learn from our mistakes.  I maintain that the purpose of these kinds of physical projects is to help us see and learn from our mistakes, and to learn the process of trial and error.

Manufacturing Process

In the photograph above are two boats.  It’s supposed to be the Mayflower, because it’s November in New England, and that’s what we learn about in school in third grade around here: the pilgrims, the first Thanksgiving, the Mayflower and all the rest.  We’ll leave aside the issues of colonialism for the moment, and focus on the model-building The hull of the ship is a block of 2×4 untreated lumber.  One end is cut with a 70°-ish cut to be the stern of the ship. The other end is cut with two angled 70°-ish cut that is supposed to resemble the prow of a ship.  It does on one of the ships, and not on the other — where the cuts are angled in the wrong direction.    The masts are 1/4″ doweling; the spars are 1/8″ doweling. The sails are white felt.  The black rigging on one model is 75-year-old waxed cord from my grandmother’s attic, from a box of leather working tools my Dad had hidden away in his attic after finding it in her attic.

There are a lot of flaws in the model. The masts are the wrong length. The sails are the wrong size. There’s not enough rigging on either ship, and the rigging is HUGE compared to the design of the model. The hull is square and blocky instead of round and pointed. The angles are wrong, the hull is the wrong shape… the list goes on and on.

But what’s not so interesting about the models and their flaws (and there are lot of them), is that they were made through a manufacturing process.  The ninth grade made these, in part through me guiding them into a ‘skilled craftsman’-style workshop in the Design Lab.  One group of students designed the template for the sails — place the template onto a square of felt, mark and cut the felt through the template, and voila! Sails. Put this dowel into this jig, cut the piece of wood in these six places in the jig, and Voila! Spars.  This other jig produces masts.  This other jig? (helps with the) cuts for the stern of the ship. We never really designed a good jig for the bow of the ship, and some pieces got cut upside-down.  But we still produced fifteen model ships in about six hours of work.   More

Tai Chi Y4D234: Dunno What to Say

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Did tai chi this morning.  Shoulder is better but still sensitive.  Did a simple run through of the form, some squats, no push-ups, and a little bit of standing meditation.  No druidry, because I’m in someone else’s house without much privacy.  Maybe when I get home tonight I’ll do some of that.

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