Wooden Planar Forms– Continuation of Traced Golden Section Forms (Space and Materiality)– Final Planar Project

Coming back from Spring Break (unfortunately…sigh), I was tasked by my professor in my Space and Materiality class to update him on my progress regarding the cut out Golden Section shapes, my grid traces, and my enlarged paper forms overall as well as the status of my project. Seeing as I was not required to move on past what I was told to do for Spring Break (trace my forms on gridded tracing paper, and cut the paper forms after enlarging them by 1.25), I told my professor that I was in pretty good shape (despite the fact that other students had used styrofoam to build their 3-D models already). At this point, what I needed to do is think of a material to use to replace my paper forms so they could actually be used for a comprehensive 3-D model. Initially, I was ambivalent between choosing metal, wood, styrofoam, or something else. However, I could not afford to purchase yet another styrofoam core board and hand in a modestly good project because of financial reasons (low on money in my bank account), and I wasn’t too sure about jumping into metal with the Laser Lab seeing as an orientation for all of us in the class would not be available until next week (and individually, I wouldn’t have time). Therefore, using deductive reasoning, I thought the best material to fashion my forms out would be wood since I could simply rummage around the compartments in the Making Center were recycled plywood is kept and reuse it for my project. Prior to this project, my experience with wood was relatively little, but I decided to go to the MC anyway. And wouldn’t you know it? I found a treasure trove of wooden slabs of all shapes, sizes, and depths crammed into little compartments. Trying to be economical about things, and knowing the size of my paper Golden Section forms, I picked out the largest wooden recycled pieces that accommodated the most space. I then brought these pieces back up to my Space and Materiality class, and managed to successfully lay on top of them my original paper forms to trace the shapes over. Once I did that, I went back down to the MC, and cut the forms on the traced wooden pieces with the cutting machines and their blades.

Things didn’t go as smoothly or as easily as I thought they would for the creating of the pieces that would eventually interlock in my “Golden Section” Model. In the process of doing what I did, I accidentally broke the cutting blade of one of the machines TWICE because I was turning the wood I was cutting as the blade was going through these wooden slabs, which destabilized the blade and caused it to come out of place from inside the cutting machines where the blade revolved around its giant geared wheel. Thankfully,  nothing horrible happened to me, although I came close to possibly injuring my finger more than once because of the delicate cuts I had to make in the wood, and the way I had to bring the shrinking wooden pieces into the blade and back our (as my technician instructor told me), then rotate them to isolate my desired traced shape out of the rest of the wood. In addition, I could not cut the wooden pieces I had to make them thinner by their thicker side (or rather to make them less thick) because the blade from the machines would not be able to cut that high into the pieces of wood). The sawdust was insane from all the woodcutting I had to do, but eventually just as class ended, I managed to cut all 6 pieces of wood I needed. Below are pictures of what “models” I managed to create by interlocking the wooden forms together at my house.

UPDATE: I am contemplating cutting large slots into the wooden forms I created to make them interlock easier and to preserve the overall structural integrity and stability of the 3-D model I am and will finish creating. The problem with this is that some of wooden pieces are too thick for the slots to be practical.

UPDATE (as of April 9, 2017): I went to the Making Center numerous times over the past few weeks and overhauled my previous plan to cut slots into the wooden forms I created. Instead, as per the directions of the professor, I began to drill holes in specific spots in my wooden forms so that two or more pieces could be bolted horizontally, vertically, or at angles, so as to create more interesting forms using intersecting pieces of wood. After drilling my holes, I bolted large screws through the thick wood of my Golden Section forms, and, after much work, managed to create a fascinating new planar form completely different from the ones from the pictures I took below when the wooden pieces were NOT bolted or drilled into. Adding bolts and screws increased the durability and strength of the entire planar form, and, when I was done with it, I was marveled to see that in almost no matter what orientation I placed the entire form in, it could stand with minimal assistance because of the evenly distributed weight among different pieces of wood. Disregarding my previous wooden forms (pictures below), I shall post below pictures of my final wooden form, bolted, screwed, and drilled and everything.

In regards to the technical specifications of the piece, my final wooden form had 1/8 inch drill holes, with 1/8 bolts and screws going through it. Some of the wood was 1/4 to 3/4 inches thick. I had issues on multiple occasions getting various parts of my final wooden form to clamp together so I could drill holes through them, and bolt them in one way or another. Last Wednesday (April 5, 2017) was when I finished my piece, but before then, I had issues bolting and fixing a thin piece of wood I wanted to place on the wide side of a thicker piece of wood at an angle. To solve this issue, I thought of adding two wooden blocks next to thin piece of wood positioned at an angle and bolt these blocks to the thin piece of wood AND the initial thicker piece. When a tried drilling holes and bolting these small wooden blocks, I was met with a small setback in that one of the blocks was almost split in half— probably because it wasn’t clamped properly over the drill holes at the bottom. Besides getting everything to clamp and hold itself together, I also had issues in general with structure and making sure the entire wooden form didn’t fall apart (I also kept using screws and bolts that were too long, thicker than the wood I was drilling these bolts through, and struggled to make the pointy (rather than round side) of these bolts and screws get into the holes I drilled into the external connecting wooden pieces). In the end, after completing my final form, I was very proud of what I had done, considering the numerous challenges I had to tackle in getting the piece done– especially in a field outside of my comfort zone. I even managed to bolt and screw a hinge or mobile  mechanism in my otherwise static piece using only one bolt, so that the free hanging piece functioned as a leg, a support, and even a wide base! This free hanging piece gave my wooden form balance when it normally wouldn’t, and really enhanced the quality of my project. Once again, below are the pictures.

UPDATE (as of April 10, 2017): The final critique for everyone’s pieces was today, and much of what I said above in my previous update is what I said when I presented my project. Compared to my previous projects, I was not only much more passionate about my result, but I also did not need to use a model before I created my final piece since I somehow built my wooden planar our of pure intuition. I simply thought (or felt) that certain pieces of my planar would go well here and there, or would complement other pieces excellently, or would even out the asymmetrical imbalance of one side of the final piece. Decisions like these demonstrate that I worked harder in this project and pushed myself much more than in my other projects. Might as well end on a high note, right? If I had to say anything more about this project it’s that, for the first time in my Space and Materiality class, I didn’t feel like I was being rushed or confined to use one material like with my plaster form project (I hated it). Instead, I was given extra time, and an additional amount of freedom in the material I could choose to create my planar form out of. Wood is so much better than metal or styrofoam when creating projects like these because it is sturdy and reliable, among other things. There’s also one other thing: I felt, for the first time since my Space and Materiality class started, like my professor actually had confidence in me with this project– and his words of encouragement, his refusal to give up on me was what pushed me to do more in this class than I would ever have accomplished otherwise. I have as much of a right to thank Derek Haffar as he does to me, because I didn’t give up on him, or let him down with my planar project (unlike, of course, my past projects for his class, especially the plaster one) like he didn’t give up on me. So, in essence, Thank you, Professor. 

BONUS: There’s one more question I need to ask after reflecting upon my wooden planar project: Where’s the Visual Culture in my “Swan” Planar Project? 

Wooden Form 1 Angle 1

Wooden Form 1 Angle 2

Wooden Form 1 Angle 3

Wooden Form 1 Angle 4

Wooden Form 1 Angle 5



Wooden Form 2 Angle 1

Wooden Form 2 Angle 2

Wooden Form 2 Angle 3

Wooden Form 2 Angle 4

Wooden Form 2 Angle 5

FINAL Wooden Planar Form (with Screws and Bolts)– Form 1: “Ruins” OR “The Headless Swan Reflects upon Itself”

Form 2: The Chicken (or Rooster)

Form 3: The Dragon

Form 4: The Elf Boot

Form 5: The Crystal Monolith

Form 6: Nessie?





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