Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In Class Test: Ching Book Exercise 6.15

Recently, the class was given a quick "test" to practice our shadowing. We used the Ching textbook, focusing on exercise 6.15. Below is the test I turned in:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

What I learned in Design Visualization through the year and my Monticello/Fallingwater book process.

Design Visualization Course Completion Thoughts:

With the last class of Design Visualization wrapping up today; I can look back and see how much I've learned since the first class last fall (fall semester 2013). Though I've learned many aspects, principles and rules of drawing and design in both classes, I have to say by far  my favorite study subject was drafting. I really enjoyed working in scale and applying the measurements taken and scaling up/down for various reasons. I'm not sure why I liked this so much; my husband told me at the beginning of the spring term he hated drafting in college so I thought I would as well. My best guess would probably be due to the analytical thinking process I tend to use in my work. Drafting has a very clear set of rules you must follow in order to produce accurate and polished work-and I think that works well for me; (although I'm not saying I can't be abstract when the time is called for).

I do feel I need further work and practice on my rendering skills and plan to give myself "homework" or small rendering projects over the summer to try and build on this skill as I feel it is an important one to have within the career field of design.

Monticello and Fallingwater Book Process:

After my visit to Monticello and Fallingwater two or so weeks ago, I began working on polishing the very rough and incomplete sketches I'd done while there. Those sketches were then turned into a book to be submitted at the end of term illustrating the different views and aspects of both locations I found to be interesting and beautiful. After completing the drawings, renderings, floor plans, sections and elevations of both locations (as well as a small bit of the Unity Temple-which we didn't visit) I worked on the organization of the book; trying to make it flow well and be consistent. Once the physical book was complete, I redid the process for the digital PDF file we needed to make for submission at the end of term.

For examples of the drawings done for the book please visit my previous blog post here. (Click on the word "here").

Monday, April 21, 2014

Re-Facing Project/Body Mask Studio Final

When we began our final project in studio, we were asked to study/research another culture we were unfamiliar with and put together a board and mask that related to their own interests/creation story. I chose to focus on the culture of Hungry.

Below is an example of the board I created for my culture:
 
The images on the board all illustrate important aspects of the Hungarian culture. Beginning with the Black Pottery of the Mohacs. This pottery has been made within the Hungarian culture since it began; however, it has changed somewhat through time. The Hungarians used to believe in a mythological beginning/creation of time (which involved a "world tree") however that belief has since been lost in popularity due the adoption of Catholicism in approx. 978 A.D. The black pottery made by this culture illustrates popular beliefs at the time it was made-making an interesting historical artifact. The pottery also illustrates the cultures love for folk art in the patterns shown on the pots. Embroidery is also a very important aspect of Hungarian culture, and is held with high regard within their communities due to its elaborate intricacy. Lace making is something done by women for family members or close friends going through important life events such as weddings or baptisms. The lace is displayed within the home in special places and is a very sentimental object. Lastly, the costumes/masks shown in the upper right hand side of the board are an illustration of a festival held each year before Ash Wednesday (it lasts a week, ending the day before Ash Wednesday).
 
From there I created a mask embodying the culture of Hungry.
 
 
I chose to make the mask as more of a representation of the culture, rather than a literal translation; pulling from different aspects of what I learned about the culture I came up with this design.
  • The black is a representation of the black pottery of the Mohacs
  • The hand embroidered flower (done by myself) represents the embroidery held in high regard by the Hungarian culture
  • The black lace is a representation of the lace women make for loved ones during special occasions.
  • And lastly the feather represents the "animalistic" costumes worn during the week long festival held annually. 
After completing this study on Hungarian culture I began working on my own creation story. I knew when beginning this project that I wanted to focus on the creation of Butterflies to honor my mother-my own personal creator. With that in mind I wrote my story:
 
Travel back to a time long past and stroll through the land of the rolling fields.  There you will find a lonesome budding flower, in a sea of his brethren, eager to stretch and feel the coming warmth of the new day.  The flower enjoyed spending its days basking in the radiant energy of the sun but what it loved above all else was to dance freely with the wind.  There was something about surrendering itself to the will of the wind that made the flower feel as if it were in harmony with the world.  However, the flower had a secret desire that he dared not share with those around him. The flower wished that one day he might be able to follow the path of the wind and dance with it whenever and wherever the desire struck him, but alas he was stuck.
On one fateful day, as the bright sun inched its way towards the clear sky above, the flower felt a tickle moving its way slowly up his stem.  By the time the sun reached the top of the sky, the flower knew the cause of the itchy sensation as a young caterpillar climbed onto his pedals.  The flower was about to tell the caterpillar to go away and that he wasn’t on the menu, but it was then that a light breeze had rolled in and the caterpillar suddenly did something very odd and unexpected.
Instead of taking a mouthful out of one of the flower’s pedals, the caterpillar raised itself up and stretched its body tall.  The flower could see that the caterpillar was mesmerized and moved by the sight it beheld.  “What is it you see?” asked the flower but the caterpillar didn’t seem to hear.  The flower turned ever so slightly only to catch a glimpse of all of the other flowers in the field dancing with the wind.  “Have you never danced with the wind?” asked the flower, startling the caterpillar back to reality.  “Why no” said the caterpillar, “I could never be that graceful”.   “But surely you can”, replied the flower, “You are free to move about where you will, unlike we who are stuck and cannot move to where the wind goes”.
The caterpillar and the flower became fast friends.  Over the passing days, the flower would teach the caterpillar to dance with the wind while the caterpillar would tell tales of its journeys through the land.  One day while the caterpillar and flower were dancing, a fierce storm had rolled over the field and with it came a harsh and angry wind.  It was a wind the flower had never known before.  The flower wrapped its pedals around the caterpillar in an effort to protect it from the gusts, but it seemed like the storm would never end.
All of a sudden a powerful gust came through, stronger than any other before.  It was so strong that no matter how hard the flower had tried to hold on, he couldn’t keep himself and the caterpillar from being flung straight into the air.  They had no idea what to do let alone how to save themselves from their impending doom.  When things looked their bleakest, the caterpillar grabbed ahold of the flowers pedals and used them to glide their way through the storm.  Just when they thought they were out of danger, BAM! They were struck by a stunning, blinding light and they fell to the ground.
After the storm had passed and when they had come to, they realized that they had become one.  Soon they understood that what they had desired separately had come true.  They now had the ability to not only dance with the wind but also travel alongside it, wherever and whenever they willed.  The duo had decided to give themselves a new name, one that would symbolize the union of freedom and beauty and that name was Butterfly.
From there I began brainstorming ideas on possible costumes I could wear during the final presentation. I knew I wanted to do something that I could transform out of, or into during my presentation; but I had to figure out how to do that in a seamless manner... Below are some sketches done for possible costume ideas...
 



After some thought I began "hitting" on the right note, coming up with a costume design that I felt would work well with the story line and the idea of "transformation" that I felt would add to the presentation. The following sketches were the costume ideas I went through leading me up to the actual design I would use:

 

 
After solidifying the final design I would work with/create for the presentation, I then did some quick sketches for the "props" I'd use/wear in the presentation while acting out the story.

 
 
*On a side note: I also did a quick precedent study on caterpillar's because I knew I wanted a certain one to represent the caterpillar in the story. The caterpillar I was looking for is called the Yellow Bear Caterpillar, which is one I frequently saw as a child in my yard. Again, incorporating my own personal creation into the storyline.
 
 
After figuring out the costume I would like to wear for the presentation, I began working on the physical pieces. I started by working on the "props"/accessories I would wear/use with the costume. I chose to crochet these pieces because it would add a bit of "me" into the project, keeping with the theme of my own creation being integrated into the story. From there I began working on the clothing. I knew I wanted a longer "maxi" length skirt made of a vibrant green shade that would allow me to look like a stem (for the flower). So a trip to the local fabric shop was required. After finding the perfect fabric, I began cutting into it and pinning it together in preparation for sewing. When sewing it together I made sure to allow it to be easily removed (allowing for a dramatic and seamless reveal of the butterfly skirt I would be wearing beneath it during the presentation). I achieved this by using a string closure rather then your traditional zipper/buttons. I then found, by chance and a great deal of luck, the perfect butterfly skirt at a local consignment shop. To add some more flare to it I sewed a few scattered sequins throughout the skirt to add to the dramatics of it during the presentation. With all of that completed, the costume was coming together quite nicely and all I had left to do was record the story and practice my performance.
 
I chose to have the story professionally read because I did not have the proper equipment to do it myself (it sounded very "gargly" and unprofessional when I practiced). However, I ran into a small snag when having the professional record my story... We (the class) were told to keep the video/audio under 3 min in total length, and with my original story I was running to about 3:40 or so. So, some editing needed to happen, which resulted in the following story:
Travel back to a time long past and stroll through the land of rolling fields.  There you’ll find a budding flower, in a sea of his brethren, eager to feel the coming warmth of the new day.  The flower enjoyed spending its days basking in the energy of the sun, but what it loved above all else was to dance freely with the wind.  There was something about surrendering itself to the will of the wind that made him feel as if he were in harmony with the world.  However, the flower had a secret that he dared not share with those around him. The flower wished that one day he might be able to follow the wind and dance with it whenever and wherever he desired, but alas he was stuck.
One day, as the bright sun inched towards the sky above, the flower felt a tickle moving its way slowly up his stem.  By the time the sun reached the top of the sky, the flower knew the cause of the itch as a yellow caterpillar climbed onto his pedals.  Just as the flower was about to tell the caterpillar that he wasn’t on the menu, a breeze had rolled in and the caterpillar did something unexpected…
Instead of biting into the flower’s pedals, the caterpillar raised its body tall.  The flower could see that the caterpillar was mesmerized by something.  “What do you see?” asked the flower but the caterpillar didn’t hear.  The flower turned only to see the other flowers in the field dancing with the wind.  “Have you never danced with the wind?” he asked, startling the caterpillar.  “Why no” said the caterpillar, “I could never be that graceful”.   “But surely you can”, replied the flower, “For you are free to move about where you will, unlike we who are stuck and cannot move to where the wind goes”.
The caterpillar and the flower became fast friends and over the days, the flower would teach him to dance while he would tell the flower tales of his travels. 
One day a fierce storm had rolled over the field and with it came an angry wind.  The flower wrapped its pedals around the caterpillar to protect him, but it seemed like the storm would never end.
Suddenly, a powerful gust came through, stronger than any other before.  It was so strong that no matter how hard the flower had tried to hold on, he couldn’t keep himself and the caterpillar from being flung straight into the air.  They had no idea how to save themselves from their impending doom.  When things looked their bleakest, the caterpillar grabbed ahold of the flowers pedals and used them to glide their way through the storm.  Just when they thought they were safe, BAM! They were struck by a blinding light and they fell to the ground.
After the storm had passed and the two awoke, they noticed that they had become one, realizing that what they had desired separately had come true together.  They now had the ability to dance with the wind and travel alongside it, wherever and whenever.  The duo had decided to give themselves a new name, one that would symbolize the union of freedom and beauty and that name was Butterfly.
With the edits made, the audio/video was the perfect length, and I was now able to practice my acting/dance for the presentation.
 
The video used for the presentation can be seen here.
 
My final costume is shown below:
 
 
I feel the presentation went really well. I was very nervous to begin with, as I've never acted in front of people before so my stomach was doing a few jumps. But after a few seconds, I was in the "swing" of things and found it to be quite fun! I felt that it went really well and would honestly love to do it again!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Trip to Fallingwater and Monticello

Before taking off on a trip to Monticello and Fallingwater, the class was asked to complete some section/floor plan assignments of the Unity Temple as well as both Monticello and Fallingwater via the Ching textbook assignments or handouts given in class. Below are images of the sections/floor plans completed for that work:


Monticello and Fallingwater Floor Plans (Drafts one and two)

Monticello Section Draft 1

Monticello Section Draft 2


This last weekend, the class (and a few upper class IARc students) took a trip to visit Monticello (built between 1768-1808, start to finish) in Charlottesville, VA to learn a bit about the country's third president, Thomas Jefferson, as well as some background information about the interior and architecture of his house. From there we drove up to Mill Run, PA to visit the famous Fallingwater home built by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann family in 1935.

I really enjoyed visiting both locations while on the trip, but, I'd have to say I enjoyed Monticello a lot more due to the historical background behind the home. I love history, and enjoy being able to physically take part in it; and I felt being there was more "special" because of that than Fallingwater felt. Although, I feel Fallingwater is more beautiful aesthetically (partially due to the nature surrounding the home, not the home itself) I still prefer Monticello due to the historical context behind the home. I also had a bit more fun sketching Monticello than I did with Fallingwater; I'm not exactly sure why that is.

While at both locations I sketched a bit while going through the tour and took plenty of photographs to document my time there (and to also sketch from at a later date, which I'm currently working on). Some photographs and the sketches I did on the trip are shown below:

Brief sketches done while on tour at both Monticello and Fallingwater.
 
 A few photographs taken while at Monticello.
 
A few photographs taken while at Fallingwater.
 
Once we arrive back home I began working on polishing sketches and renderings that were roughly sketched (started) during my trip to Monticello and Fallingwater. Below are examples of the finished sketches and renderings done for both locations:

 
Once completed,  I worked on further sections, floor plans and elevations of Monticello, Fallingwater and the Unity Temple. Below are images of the sections, elevations and floor plans done for this sections of class:
 

 Although two of the three images are repeated here, the Monticello section has been added and is new.
 
 
From here I created a book containing all the physical images shown above to be included in my portfolio at the end of term.
 
Visiting Monticello and Fallingwater was a very fun and unique experience. I'd recommend anyone go if they want to enjoy a bit of history, various pleasant environments and nice architecture/design.






Sunday, April 6, 2014

Novem Mason Symposium and Habitat for Humanity Volunteering

Last week our department held a symposium in honor of Novem Mason and Mary Miller, two former department chairs for the IARc program.

Prior to the symposium our class got together and divided into groups to help "decorate" or prepare the department for the shin-dig. I was placed into a group with Amy W. focusing on way finding from the elevators and stairs in the basement to the wood shop. We began the process for this design by doing some prep work which helped up both hash out the final design we ended up installing for the symposium.


After the prep work had been done and discussions between Amy and I were had about the final design, we began working on the final piece.

 
We chose to focus on the color purple due to a group discussion held within the entire class in which we agreed each floor should be assigned a specific color (The basement was given purple, which I had no problem with as its my favorite color). Using three shades of purple was used to add interest and dimension to the overall finished installation/design. (This was an agreement Amy and I came to as a group). From there, Hundreds of triangles were cut out of scrap wood found around the department and painted prior to installation day. Amy and I agreed that recycled wood was best because it played well the departments idea and love of sustainability and being green, which also incidentally was a theme Novem Mason pushed to be taught within classes in the department. 

On Thursday April 3rd, 2014 seminars were held throughout the day (from 9 am to 7pm) by a diverse group of individuals speaking about different aspects of the creation/design process one may or may not go through. I attended 4 seminars held in the morning hours with topics ranging from design failures, being green, technology and preservation in the design process.

During the first seminar, held by Tommy Lambeth, (also a former IARc department chair) we spoke about his own design failures and his process of learning from them on future pieces he made. During his presentation he showed the audience examples of pieces he felt were less than becoming and told us how he grew from them. The point being: don't be afraid to fail, its okay, don't stop working at it because you'll grow from it in the end.

During the second seminar, held by Beth McGee, we did a walk through of the IARc department library. We learned during her presentation that Novem Mason donated a great deal of the books currently available to students and staff for loan. We also learned a bit about the cataloging done within the library in order to organize books in their proper place. And lastly we talked about how the library is sustainable/green. This seminar was very informative personally as I learned a few tid bits about the library I hadn't previously known; for example: there is no sample room-it is integrated within the library and the sample pieces available can not be checked out, rather viewed and bought online on the manufactures website.

During the third seminar, held by Doug Leckie and Dickie Cox, we spoke the need for both handmade and computer fabricated design. We met within the Gallery on the first floor of the Gatewood building where we toured the pieces on display that used both handmade and computer fabricated pieces (CAM, CAD, Shapeways, etc.). Within this seminar the overall theme was stressed that both are needed to create a cohesive successful design.

During the fourth and last seminar attended, held by Jo Leinmenstoll, she spoke about the need and importance of preservation within design and communities. She showed examples of this with photos taken from her own classes she teaches during the summer and spring semesters. I felt this was a very interesting seminar because it taught me about courses offered within the department I was unaware of and hope to sign up for in the near future as I feel they would be very beneficial in preparation for a future within this field.

 
The next day students and staff from the department met together in front of the new CC-ED location on Lee Street in Greensboro for a speech given My Anna Marshall Baker (the current department chair), Tommy Lambeth and Travis Hicks about the new space and future hopes for the organization. A ribbon cutting followed, which I helped to cut (very exciting!) along with a brief tour of the space before everyone departed and headed to individual areas to volunteer our time for the day.
 
I headed over to a home being renovated by Habitat for Humanity to help in any way I could. While there I asked one of the men directing the site what qualified this specific home to be selected for renovation. He told me that it was once a home that belong to a veteran whom passed away. The condition of the home when he passed was less then ideal and went into foreclosure. Habitat for Humanity selected the home to be renovated so that the community value would be brought up and the home would be livable again. They place to re-sell the home once renovations are complete to a qualifying family.
 
While volunteering I helped rack up some backyard foliage then headed to the front of the house to fill in a ditch that was dug to put in some new plumbing pipelines. From there I headed indoors to staple down some plywood sub-flooring in the upstairs bathroom. After all those endeavors had been complete it was time to leave for the day. I felt volunteering was very rewarding and interesting. I love working with my hands/manual labor so I found the day to pass by quite fast while having lots of fun.