Tuesday, 18 March 2014

FUN at Home Depot: Copper Pipe Chair

Believe it or not, I get a lot of my arts/craft inspiration and materials from home improvement stores like Home Depot and Rona. So, one weekend + 5-6 trips to Home Depot + asking their plumbing department staff seemingly random questions later, I am proud to present a chair that I made using only copper pipe, ropes, and epoxy. (Note that I am Team Blue, but it's a bit farther away.) Although, without proper jointing techniques, this chair is probably only rated for children, small pets, or an extremely short person like myself. Nevertheless, it thoroughly satisfied my recent obsession with copper. 
Also, I just love my fig plant from IKEA.
copper + twine weave
PVC Prototype: I am your father! dum dum dum
I used the much cheaper PVC alternative for prototyping to get a sense of dimension and scale, and to figure out what works and what doesn't (i.e. those fancy 45-degree hind legs). So, don't be afraid to experiment with new material. Let's get weird at Home Depot!

Possibly the BEST thing about Making Videos

I received an email over my birthday weekend, from a mother in North Carolina, that reads: "My son Bennett, who is 7 years old, has been smitten by all of your videos and projects. He gathered all of the materials by himself to make the heart yarn and followed your directions by pausing the YouTube video every few seconds. I have a picture of his work that I'd love to email to you, just to say thank you for inspiring him and fueling his love of art, handcraft and math!"
Aww! It was seriously one of the best birthday gifts I ever got. I am so glad that my video assisted little Bennett's self-directed education in some way. And a few weeks ago, a teacher told me that she "put it together late last night and took it in to school today. Everyone oohed and aahed over. Happy Valentine's Day!"
This is becoming my favourite thing about making videos: bringing people together for a bit of fun and learningIf you created anything from watching my videos, please please please send them to me at justina@fiberlab.ca! I'd love to see them! 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

TED Talks 2014 + Catenary Action

So, TED has arrived in Vancouver. And like its brand new hosting city, this conference where the rich-and-famous share "ideas worth spreading", is offensively expensive yet so quintessentially cool that you cannot show distaste without being a rebel. But once in a while, you catch glimpses of beauty that make you understand all the fuss - like a rare, sunny day in Vancouver or this ethereal installation by Janet Echelman. This 745-foot aerial sculpture hangs between a 24-story hotel and the Vancouver Convention Centre, and gently melts with the sky. When the wind flows through the colourful mesh, creating mesmerizing ripples, it is pure magic. 
Physics and geometry may plainly describe this installation as a collection of strategically placed catenary curves. Catenary is the shape of a hanging string held at two ends. That is to say, catenary is dictated by the pull of gravity. So, when inverted, it becomes very efficient at carrying load, especially its own weight. This is why catenary exists commonly in architecture and engineering as bridges and arches, most notably in works by Antoni Gaudí. Here is a totally slick chair designed by Studio Bram Geenen dedicated to the master. 
I also came across this Catenary Pottery Printer by 'Great Things to People' that cleverly gets help from gravity to form these delicate porcelain objects. Check it out here!
Now, I am back to being melodramatic about TED Talks.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Asian Black Bear: The Disappearing V

In keeping with our "everything-paper" theme, here is an Asian black bear that I created, using only micro-shredded paper scraps, to bring awareness to animal protection. 
Like a superhero, the Asian black bear is most distinguished by its white V-shaped chest mark. Unlike a superhero, it needs our protection from poaching and deforestation. 
A close-up view
Paper paints: does not stain, easy clean-up with vacuum
Watch me work!