3D Design Project — Walking Stick

I haven't been posting anything from my classes because I've been working on them right up until the due date, and once I turned them in they were in the classroom until the semester ended.

So I've got all this stuff in my studio that I don't know what to do with. This walking stick was our penultimate project in 3D Design. We brought a 2x4 to class and then, after being shown most of the tools in the wood shop, we were told to work on that 2x4 until it was a walking stick. Many people's sticks were all naturalistic and such -- carved leaves and vines and so on. One very unusual one was a bright multi-colored syringe full of candy. Another very cool one was a sharpened stick with 3 carved fishes on it, as for a barbecue. Mine looks like a piece of furniture. I had fun on it, though.

I ripped my 2x4 into two 2x2's so it would be square, then mitered the corners of square on the table saw. The knob at the top is 2 2x4's glued together and then ground into a squared globe and doweled into the 2x2. Each section is a different experiment with the grinder or the drill or the Dremel or the band saw or the sander, or some combination of those.

I enjoyed the finish work: the rough sanding, the finer and finer hand sanding, the painting (cheap acrylic paints in the scrapbook aisle at Target) and the ebony stain over top that.

It's a big image, but you've got to click on the thumbnail to see it properly.

Butterfly Tunnel Book

Here's a the front cover of the tunnel book I did in my 3D Design class this semester. (Odd that I would have a tunnel book assignment in 2D Design last semester, and another one in 3D Design this semester.) I'll post the first tunnel book when I get it back. Julia DeHoff and I are exhibiting some of our artist books at the public library during the month of October, and that first tunnel book is on display there.

The idea for the book came from an essay on butterfly collecting by Ann Fadiman in her book At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays. She describes her childhood obsession with butterfly collecting, recounting in gruesome detail the catching and killing and mounting and collecting of the butterflies. This quote stayed with me: "When did we realize that this was horrible? My brother, Kim, and I had started collecting butterflies when he was eight and I was six. Shame set in about two years later. I remember a period of painful overlap, when the light of decency was dawning but the lure of sin was still irresistible." This seems to me an excellent description of our current relationship with our planet.

The left side of this image shows quotes from the essay written on the side accordion folds of the tunnel book. (You probably can't even see it unless you click on the image to get the full-size image.) The right side of the image is a view of the tunnel book from above. Since the view window of the tunnel is a magnifying glass, it was even more difficult than usual to photograph the view inside. The butterflies, cut from my stash of pasted-painted and decorative paper scraps, hang from the tunnel frames by strips of transparency film.

The back of the tunnel book was made to look like a Riker mounted dead butterfly, or perhaps ghost of a butterfly. I made a covered box and a lid which glass from a battered 5"x7" frame. I thought I'd have to secure it closed with some pins, but the fit was quite snug enough to stay closed on its own. If I'd had more time, I would have found some jeweler's cotton; as it was, the morning the tunnel book was due I was feverishly pulling apart cotton balls and trying to approximate that layer of cotton.

Such is often the nature of class projects. I have to keep remembering that they're not actually going in a juried show, for instance.

3D Design: the finished assignment

Here's the finished assignment. I've discovered a couple of practical things about cardboard and hot glue:

First, the Teflon thimble/burnisher (I was never sure what that thing is) that I got in a goodie bag at a calligraphy conference many, many years ago is very useful for pushing around hot glue. I'm not sure the thimble/burnisher will ever be useful for burnishing again, unless I'm willing to spend an awful lot of time getting bits of hot glue off first.

And here's a little example of the vagaries of human nature: even though this is the first time I've ever found a use for this tool, now I'm thinking how useful it would have been for folding paper if I hadn't gotten hot glue on it. I'm thinking this even though a bone folder is perfectly good tool for folding paper and I have 8 or 10 bone folders, and even though this tool has saved my fingers from multiple burns in its present use.

Let's see, what else have I learned? Hmm. Well, I'm recommitted to the idea of not becoming a sculptor. That's not a new bit of education, just a solidification of previous knowledge. I find it hard to think in 3D. We were supposed to draw a picture of what we planned to make, and I found that so hard as to be virtually impossible. So I followed the Jasper Johns's dictum: "Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that. " Without, perhaps, his results 🙂

3D Design

After 10 days in Mexico, I'm scrambling to complete projects due in classes early next week. Here are 3 views of my 3D assignment (at the taped-only stage), which requires 7 elements and a non-90-degree base. I think. I've read and re-read the printed assignment instructions, but it's no substitute for the classes I missed last week. All that's left to do now is to take the whole think apart, re-assemble it with hot glue, and paint it. That's all ...

As usual, click on the images for a closer view.