I took the table top and the metal strips that I had to weld to Didier, and this was my last step. I told him and showed him photos of the design that I wanted and with a few sketches and chats we began the welding process, well actually Didier began the welding process, due to safety reasons and my complete lack of experience, he took the reigns with the welding. He used a metal electric saw to cut the sizes of metal I needed. He then created the angles I wanted by using a metal vice and an incredibly hot flame to soften to metal and bend it in place. He did this with two bits of metal. He then cut four small strips of metal and screwed holes into them. He then welded them onto the legs with the angles on them so that I could screw the legs easily onto the table top. Using a drill I screwed them onto the table. It was here that the design had a flaw in it, because the angles in the metal were slightly different and it also wasn’t screwed perfectly straight onto the table top, it was wobbly when put on a flat surface. Which is possibly one of the most annoying traits that a bit of furniture can have, so I really wanted this fixed. I took our the screws and did it again, this time trying to make it perfectly straight. When this still didn’t work, Didier placed a heavy metal object on top of the table and re-welded the corners until they sat solidly on the ground, without any wobbles. This ended in success and I felt like I had completed the brief in redesigning the mundane.
I went up to my Dad’s workshop on a Thursday night and spent all night learning how to use the tools and then doing it myself. Firstly I cut 77 small strips of ply and put them all together and saw the shape that was created was rectangle, that could be used as a coffee table, this suited the shape most. I then created a right angle shape by using two bits of wood and screwing them to a big flat piece of wood so that each bit of ply would be pushed up against this so I knew it would be the straight. The next part involved using a roller and PVA glue to stick them together, and then using a staple gun to strengthen the shape. The next step was using three clamps to hold them all together whilst I sanded both sides so you couldn’t feel the ridges of the wood and so it was smooth. In the end the shape was still not strong enough with the glue and staples, so I screwed four planks around the edges of them to ensure it was a strong structure and making the screws a feature to add to the industrial effect. I then took it home and oiled it, however the oil took 24 hours to dry so I only managed to do the top of the table.
*THE PROCESS IS ALSO PHOTOGRAPHED BELOW*
I had expanded on my idea, however I still hadn’t quite managed to understand the practical side of it, the actual process of making it seemed awfully complicated and I began worrying about my amount of time and if I could complete it. I spoke to Lucas and he also seemed to share my concerns of the complexity of it. So I began researching for more ideas that still used that metal aspect of it. I still wanted to use the metal as a large part of it. I thought of a table that had metal legs in the shape of a triangle that supported a wooden table top. I wanted my design to look semi-industrial and metal and wood used together could achieve this look. I spoke to my dad about the materials involved. Initially I wanted to use Tasmanian oak because it was the most beautiful and rich wood I knew. However when I rang the supplier I was planning to use, the amount of wood I intended to use would cost around $175 dollars, and that was well outside of my uni student budget. So I began thinking of other, more affordable resources. Even though I don’t particularly like the look or colour of ply, I had much of it to use. However instead of simply using a flat bit of ply, I decided to cut many strips of ply and turning them on the side and gluing a number of them together. I also had purchased flat bar mild steel that was 5mm thick and 40mm, under Didier’s recommendation, as I consulted with him about the welding aspect and he said that it could be done and that particular metal would be the most effective.
Our next challenge in class was rendering a chair using photo shop and illustrator. For me, this was more challenging than designing something, being fairly Photoshop illiterate. However once each part of it was explained to me I began to get a hold of it, and it was incredibly satisfying having an end result that did actually resemble a chair, so I was happy. I could also see the value in doing this, so that you and also a potential client can grasp the idea you have. The result is below, through shading and many tedious techniques, such as assuring each bit of the wood correlated with how the grain ran, makes it look quite realistic. It took nearly 8 hours to complete this, two 4 hour practicals in the lab and it was complete.
Initially when I knew I was doing object design I had wanted to do a chair, purely for practical purposes as I needed a chair but when our class went to the salvos I found nothing inspiring to create a chair. I did however find a small cup that had metal clasping around the circumference and curved up to be used as the handle. i then had to take the most interesting characteristic of this object and apply it to another object. I wanted to take the characteristic of the metal being used as such an important factor, and the way it curved to be used as the handle, I thought this had potential. Unsure if I had the welding resources I asked Trent and he said it was possible. I then had to start designing my new object using the metal characteristic. Knowing that I also had resources outside of class, being my dad who has a workshop in Sydney that had extensive tools and wood that I could take complete advantage of, I thought it was smart to do exactly that. So I designed something that involved wood. I am always drawn to creating something solid and that is not just practical, but also beautiful. So I did some research and drawings and designed a bedside table that used the metal as the legs and also a metal circumference around a wooden circle. This was my beginning but I needed to expand on this drastically to understand each detail and know each aspect of it, both in the design and the creation aspect of it, to know if my idea was even possible in my short time frame.
So almost immediately I decided I wanted to work with paper. Its something I’d never done but always admired because of the delicacy and detailed effort required. My end work consisted of six, quite small square works with a range of differently rolled paper.
The reason I chose to do six smaller experiments of this rolled paper is because I believed it suited the delicate nature of the rolled features, instead of one large piece that was more bold. I was, from the beginning trying to convey a sense of quaintness.
I began experimenting with different papers, and different colours. Although I didn’t vary in colour too much because I was seeking a simplistic approach that couldn’t be executed with a bright range of colours. So instead I chose; black, brown, white and beige. I also chose to coffee stain some thick paper to create a worn and vintage effect.
I worked with smaller pieces of paper when rolling and then larger, thicker pieces and quite thin, and essentially tried to create different shapes with my paper.
When gluing I only created random shapes, I didn’t want to make it look too neat, more focused on looking a bit odd and abstract.
Conclusively my end project is the result of many experiments that turned out well enough for me to create a six piece work.
So I continued rolling and was using the colours, black, brown and white/beige. I wanted to experiment with coffee and water to create a light brown and semi-old look. I soaked the paper in a mix of just coffee and water and left there for almost half an hour. I then put it on a drying rack and waited till it was nice and crisp. It created a really nice effect on the paper. I used thick paper so it could withstand the soaking more effectively. I then rolled and bent the paper to create a triangular effect, as I’d tried this and it seemed to add something to the simple circled rolls. It looked better with the coffee stained paper than it did with normal paper.
The colours I used were chosen to simplify but also subtly contrast against each other and make the rolled paper stand out more dramatically.
From the rolling I began experimenting with different papers. I found that the thicker papers, when rolled, would create less spirals than the thinner papers. However the thicker paper worked a lot better when gluing it to the paper and utilised more of a simplistic look. However I still liked the looking of the thin spirals as it created more lines and was a bit more intense. I ended up liking the different aspects of the different paper and used them to contrast each other.
My first step towards my project was choosing my medium. Before this project began I already decided that I was interested in using paper. The difficulty still remained though, as I didn’t know in what way I would attempt to utilise the paper medium.
A workshop in CAVA foundations lead me to start rolling pieces of thinly stripped paper and creating a spiral effect. This started me off and from here I began making different shapes with the spiral effect. If I slightly bent the spiralled circle it created a triangular/diamond shape I began gluing this onto small bits of square paper. I also created different sort of circles by loosely rolling them, or tightly rolling them. These were the basic things that lead me to experiment more so with the paper and the rolling.