Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DIY/Guerilla Hurricane Books

For my project I created a quick booklet with some information on what to expect and guidelines for hurricanes.  I made it with the premise that it was something small and to the point that could be taken with ease if need be.  I didn't have much "in situ" to document but above are just a couple of pictures of the finished books and then all packaged up to be sent to various locations of Louisiana and Texas at local chapters of The American Red Cross and The United Way.  Somehow my mailing pictures are missing (due to me dropping the camera prior and them not saving on my card, but in the camera battery, so smart!! But as soon as I can retrieve them I will add them in this post, not too exciting but still part of the process.)  I created my books with InDesign, my first run at the program, and I wish I had pictures of me crying at the computer every 5 seconds.  In retrospect it was probably better than my first choice of PhotoShop but it was a good learning experience and in the end creating a much better product. I sent them off with a little letter and background on the project, hopefully I'll receive some responses and feedback from them, that would make it all rewarding on my part. I'm sure I could also create a read-online version from my PDF file on a blog type website open for further input, that way the information is out there and people could print it for theirselves at their leisure.  I really enjoyed this project, it was fun, I learned some new things.  Ideally if these ended up being helpful, and that I could compile some more in depth help and guides I would love to create them with something like Blurb Books so they could be bought when wanted, perhaps on a donation type basis.  I'm happy with my end result, even though my more sustainable materials, like Tyvek paper didn't lend  much help, the book is still pretty durable and waterproof, with the small on the go and lightweight size.  Overall I'm very happy with my turnout on this project, I'd love to add some more to it at a later time, and further explore ways to shed light on this social issue.  

Friday, September 26, 2008

AAR : Deconstruct/Reconstruct.

  • Implementing brass plates into the die; I worked very hard for symmetrical dies, but felt even with immense attention to detail and work at filing and correcting flaws, the brass plates helped with human error.
  • Overall chasing force/weight.  Not too hard; not too easy, could be more fine-tuned, but overall a uniformed quality; easier to deal with in the long run
  • Trial and error - I wasn't afraid to push the metal to the limit; I tried out the natural rubber on my pieces; something I had yet to do in tests; that technique also helped to mend an accidental hammer blow while chasing.  It wasn't the greatest time to try out a new variable, but it worked, and now I will add it into the process for my next project to get even more volume.
  • Get the die right first THEN glue together.  I came up with a very precise; symmetrical, and easily manipulated form for my exercise.  However I did not start with brass plates, only added after the masonite modification to fit the plexi, which lead to a series of modifications and design tweak.  
  • Create better templates for cutting die to cut down on many variables
  • Go with better form
  • Decking technique - work and filing/sanding to fit better; show less glue/gaps; blend together
  • Cutting die/ die forms efficiently, larger overall die. I'd rather not have such a tiny form,  it made it a lot harder to cut and manipulate.
What Ifs:
  • Correct die formation process; that would have lead to the more interesting end result/form
  • Better bonding techniques applied.
  • If the die was a bit larger scale I feel I could have gotten a much better outcome.
  • My first 2-3 forms were by far the most successful, well constructed pieces all around. They were the best pressed sheets, chased better than the rest, cut to size, and not painfully hard to combine, with little sanding to fit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Iconic Design

Here are some instances I think of when I hear the words "Iconic Design"

Coke Bottles
The "Bird's Nest" Beijing
Ikea Poang Chair
Hanging Ball Chairs
Energy Efficient Bulbs
Chrysler Building (top)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Horrible Day!

This whole week has been very stressful, but today takes the cake as the worst day in a while.  My boyfriend's dog, basically my 3rd dog was put to sleep.  I really wish she could have at least gone to a rescue where someone could take the time to train her and break her bad habits, but instead she is gone.  It's very hard, in less than 2 years I became just as attached to her as my own dogs, she was like my own, and treated me the same way.  Even if she would squash you on a bed while you sleep, whack you with her tail violent with excitement, play swat you with her paw, or drool on you like theres no tomorrow, some of it was funny.  I even put it past her that she tried killing us both on the way home by jumping to the front of my car and slamming the gear into neutral, then trying to sit on my lap, in traffic; on a hill!  And Kyle and I can laugh hysterically at the fact she pooped all over his back seat on the way home from Petco, although at the time we hated life having to clean that out!  I was planning on blogging about 4-5 amazing ideas and things in my mind today, but I'm done mentally, I need the weekend.  I know tonight is going to be very hard.  I'm crying again just thinking about this.  I just saw her yesterday at work and played with her and hugged her and let her lick my face even, and its sad to think thats the last time I ever got to see her...I will really miss Lilly, even though she didn't quite get along with my Brooklyn, that was still good entertainment.  I love you Lilly!  Here's some cute pictures I found on my computer, and I have more pictures of her on my phone than I do of my animals!

Happy Halloween!!
Valentine's Day

Sleeping at the office; just a normal day's work for Lilly
Bad manicure, all daddy's fault!!!
Wanting my lunch more than I wanted it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Connecting the Dots - Social Design

I started my Connecting the Dots as a document, and since I'm not able to copy and paste here very well I've thrown in my images of the preliminary research work.

Furthermore I'll describe my creative process in a broad view.  Many things spawn my creative process, anywhere from magazine clippings, photos I've snapped, while reading, music, tv, news, existing objects I own or see out and about, even people, so basically anything is fair game for inspiration.  I can't control when ideas pop in my head, many times I will be in class listening to a demo or discussion and one little thing will spark in my mind and if I try to suppress the thought, its just like gasoline to fire.  I'll run with it and jot down what's going on in my head along with my notes.  I never abandon a thought; once something makes sense even in the least bit in my head I need to record it immediately before its lost forever.  For that reason I always have some form of notebook in my purse; if not multiples.  If by chance I don't or my purse isn't on me, I'm almost always certain to be holding my cell phone; which the notes come in severely handy.  I've got many lists in my phone, just looking now to name a few: Google This, iTunes, Jewelers, Books, Plexiglass, General Ideas.  Then I'll jot in the respective category what I'm thinking and save it and go back later and then firm it up by jotting it down in a notebook and then disposing of the reminders.  I frantically type in my phone ALOT.  People think I'm either insane or being insanely rude as I normally type away while they're talking or explaining something to me, when I get the questioning looks I explain I'm not cutting them off, I'm still there, but I've got something I need to get down so I won't forget it before I respond to them (my family and boyfriend just LOVE this, I'm constantly doing this while talking to my mom when were out, and the the "finished yet?" incessantly)  I love the quote on the direction sheet saying if need be buy another purse if you need to in order to contain a sketchbook.  That's going to be my next excuse, because I ALWAYS want a new purse, they're my simple (and guilty) pleasure in life.  If I give my mom that line she might shoot me in the head, but I'm running with it, thanks Jan! But seriously, my purse is usually filled with little notes or ideas on ripped out note pages or in the pockets of my wallet.  I even have a post-it pad in my car; not too safe, but it's ok at red lights.  I tend to snap a ton of pictures as I'm driving; if its pretty out driving down the road it puts me in the best frame of mind (if no idiot drivers are surrounding me, or else it could be gorgeous but I'm too annoyed to care)  So I take pictures as I drive hoping some of that will translate when I get the chance to look at it later, and most of the time I love the results, good and bad.  Thats a quick set of what sets of my creativity, anytime, anywhere, anything, and once the bug hits me I run with it and jot it down, and later I'll either pursue, expand on, or trash the ideas, but at least I keep track of as much as possible.

Arthur Hash is AMAZING!!!!!

"This stuff is so cool"  I wonder how many times I said that in the last 3 hours or so!

Ok so I just looked at my phone and went "holy shit its 10:00 is that possible?" I was at school for roughly 13 hours then came home and talked like crazy for an hour with my mom about Arthur Hash.  Sadly, I was hoping to come home to my plexiglass, because on top of my ideas I'm crazy inspired and excited after listening to Arthur Hash talk.

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE casting, probably my favorite metal working technique (that I have learned) by far.  But I'm also drawn to the acrylic jewelry and casted 2 part plastics.  I did some experimenting with that last year, and I need some more work but its fun and effective.  And die forming made me want to make my own plexi creations.  Far end of the spectrum of casting, but I love the look.

Arthur's stuff was just so great!  I love all of it, and he is just such a cool person, so funny, and down to earth, very nice, and upfront about everything; such a great thing to hear!  I like all the different materials he utilizes, reminded me of our alternative materials project in metalsmithing.  The hot glue necklace was gorgeous.  But I LOVE all of his brooches.  The whole series from the digital photos was so ingenious; I love the installation display.  The pink chainsaws were so much fun too!  (Can't wait to see what our new powder coating machine can do!!! Now I'm REALLY excited for that demo!)  And the mixers; come on, that was just too cool.  I'm jealous I really want one.  The forms are so simple, yet effective.  I've been sketching what I want from my plexi creations and I'm striving for that same simple yet graphic quality; the 2D aspect works so well with the objects!  I'm only more inspired now. And when I saw the machine gun image in the slideshow I was so excited; I'm still not beyond making my red AK-47/guns charm bracelet (funny thing is my crappy first try Michael's resin ones are actually dry now, only how many months too late for Blood Diamonds!)  So one of my sketches is an array of guns, planned out for the red plexi.

So here are just a few pictures of some of my favorite pieces.  I absolutely love the ring thats plastic cured in the bag; I would definitely wear that.  (I'm such a ring freak, just bought a new poppi ring this week!  I have so many rings I can't keep track of which ones to wear)  The form in that is so awesome, like Jeff Koons' balloon animals, I love the crinkles and seams in the bag as well as the transparent coloring.  And of course the pop out ring; I immediately pulled up the etsy site to see if I could buy one of these, unfortunately they aren't up on there; but they are so great!  Hopefully they'll go back up.  I really hope he does get ACC; I'm sure I'll be shelling out some serious money! This was one of the best experiences and most excited I've been about making my own stuff for a while, I feel like its all coming full circle and by the end of this semester I'll have many more skills and will be cranking out some stuff for my personal portfolio/collection that are of nice defined skills to be proud of.  Tonight was awesome, great info, inspiration, and cake (thanks Liz!!!)

Now I'm just bummed out that my plexi isn't here; I'm sure it will come when I'm away for the weekend in Deep Creek, but then I'll come home with even more ideas, since that ALWAYS inspires me up there; it is so beautiful!  I'll be blogging some more in a few minutes for social design; I'm on a roll tonight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Social Design: Hurricanes

Lately there have been many social issues that require a huge amount of focus in the "social/people induced issues" realm, but as human beings thats something we have the power to control, what we can not control is nature. As I keep skimming the papers and online news outputs the one thing that sticks out to me is all of the Hurricanes and Tropical Storms, within the last 2 weeks we've had Gustav, Hanna, and Ike.  I just can't get beyond all of it and I keep thinking of what I could do as a response, at first for my personal want, even before being presented with the premise of the Social Design class, but now it just makes so much more sense.    Even last Saturday we felt some (VERY mild) effects of Hanna in our area.  Its always odd to have this happen in a place like Maryland.  Yet we've had a few hurricanes hit through the Chesapeake within the last 10 years that caused many problems, even cancelled school, very odd.

But on Saturday after I got home from class my mom's boyfriend told me that Grand Turk had been demolished by Ike.  We had just been there at the end of July and it is just shocking to hear that it's all in disarray.  I checked up on CNN to find articles about it.  Nearly every building on the tiny island sustained damage.  The island is only roughly 6-7 miles long by 2 miles wide.  The storm hit at a category 4 level, sustaining winds up to 135 mph.  Grand Turk relies on tourism as a main source of revenue.  The damages are a huge hit to the economy.  The cruise companies will not be able to enter port for weeks if not months, after the damage has cleared.  Grand Turk is the capital island of Turks and Caicos where many people work for the government or at the resort locations.  The outlying islands were not affected as much, but it's crucial to rebuild quickly to get a money flow back into the economy.  The estimated number of tourists for the cruise industry alone will drop dramatically, loosing a great deal of money on top of the estimated over $10 million.  There are around 3000 people that live on the small island, and 80% of homes were damaged to some extent.  Plus Hanna had also ravaged the island, killing at least 167.  Ike also hit Cuba, caused major flooding through Haiti.  To me it is so surreal that only a short bit ago I was sitting on the beach at the outskirt of the island under a huge palm tree feeling like I was in the one of the most beautiful places in the world.  The island is so small!  It was by chance we went there, we were destined for Tortola, but we would fight the current and use up too much fuel so Grand Turk was an easier route at the last minute.  The island has no outer protection, it actually is home to the largest ocean drop off in the world, only 300 yards out from shore the ocean floor drops from 30 feet to over 7000 feet.  I was never so peaceful and relaxed than laying on the beach or swimming out in the ocean.  There are also beautiful opportunities to see beautiful coral reefs (and with my coral obsession I'm surprised I passed it all up!)  My cousins swam with huge sting rays on the other side of the island as I waded in the ocean.  My aunts and uncles sat at Margaritaville watching crazy contests and drinking insanely overpriced pina coladas ($9.50 for a tiny cup, but it was good!) My mom watched a surf simulator wave thing, and shopped at Ron Jon, one of her favorite places after going to 2 in Florida with me.  I walked into many little shops, and saw a massage hut right at the corner of the island watching out over the ocean.  And to think now that all of that is not the same in such a short time is baffling.  Sure we have political problems, wars, and social misconceptions left and right in this world, but thats controllable (yet we have no good solutions there either) but this is uncontrollable.  Severe weather sets its path, ruins anything in its way, and we're left to pick up the pieces, and it is never easy.

Back in 2004 I personally experienced a hurricane.  We were dropping my boyfriend off for college in Florida, just 20 minutes outside of Cocoa Beach.  We stayed for a week and were about to leave to come home when Hurricane Charley was expected to make landfall right where we were, obviously we didn't want to leave Kyle to fend for himself and rush home to Baltimore, so we were staying.  My parents and rest of his family were scared to death because all over the national news was stating that it was headed straight for us.  The day the hurricane came through was seriously the most beautiful day I've ever seen.  My best friend and I spent the day on the beach until we were sick of the saltwater, then moved to the pool.  We started to play volleyball on the beach and by the time we were through a few games the sky had started turning dark, it was an odd greenish color which later turned to black in a matter of minutes.  The storm had taken a new path and hit land on the other side of, yet it quickly swept through towards Orlando, not far from us.  We had filled the tub with clean water and bought a ton of food.  We were told by the hotel that the town is under evacuation, yet many of the shelters are already full, but we could still be evacuated even further out at any time if the need arose.  My parents kept calling scared to death, but we were ok.  The storm was bad, we held a sheet out on the balcony to watch the wind's strength and direction it whipped around so fast and changed directions violently.  At that point we were joking around and taking pictures, but within an hour we could not even stand outside. In the distances we watched teal blue flashes left and right, all of the transformers blowing out.  The storm was bad, but our hotel was fine.  The next day as the storm calmed we planned to head out, as we drove home we only ran through more and more storms and huge amounts of damage and detours.  We were lucky, but the Category 4 storm horribly damaged other areas.  I kept visiting my boyfriend every few months and 2 other times we'd experienced more hurricane after-affects.  Then a year later as I was down visiting again Hurricane Katrina was pounding New Orleans, I was so shocked and upset.  We just sat silent and watched TV coverage for hours in utter shock.  We went out and grabbed all kinds of newspapers and were just baffled at how horrible the conditions were.  It made what was very scary and threatening to us 1 year before seem like a little rain shower.  Now 3 years later Gustav came through the same areas.  There are new storms brewing, and hurricane season stretches on for months yet to come.  These people need our help immediately, it is one thing that really touches my heart and makes me want to reach out any way I can.  In highschool my best friend and I, along with some others, came up with a way to help with Katrina Aid.  We jumped on the whole "Livestrong" bracelet trend (at the perfect timing, right when they were the HOTTTTTTTTTT thing to have/support)  So we used our school colors and got Katrina bracelets made and sold them at school.  We raised a good bit of money and all felt so great that we had helped in even the smallest way.  We also donated boxes and boxes of food, clothing, and many school supplies and books to help out.  To me doing things rewarding or donating money makes me feel so great, even if it is only $1.  

No matter what people ALWAYS need aid in these situations, I really want to tackle this social issue in some way, not sure yet, but hopefully in a means that I could raise more awareness and possibly money to donate to rebuilding and relief funds to those who really need help.  I've got some easy ideas, maybe not great ones, but I'll iron that out later.  But since Saturday I've immersed myself into hurricane coverage mode.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

CAUTION: Danielle on Caffeine

I rarely drink coffee, I love the taste but it tends to make me sick.  If i drink iced coffee I'm ok though. So this morning I took a huge tumbler of iced coffee to my Saturday morning class. Then on the way home I stopped at Starbucks to grab something to eat quick, and a smoothie with 2 shots of espresso (bad move, should have known by the look on the girls face when I ordered it)  Needless to say I'm wired, came home and went through all my new books for school, and talked endlessly.   Then all kinds of ideas started flowing as I was going through my die forming samples and explaining it all to my mother.   

This is haphazard but anyway; I thought cutting plexiglass would be hell, but it wasn't at all.  I've always been attracted to clear/see through objects forever, and plexiglass/acrylics are no exception.  I love its uses and I have some great jewelry from it and its counterparts (see my Opulent Project earring post, AWESOME!) Another good example is Alex + Chloe, I have their Kate Moss necklace, but I just love all of their stuff, simple, easy, and fun! - check it out:http:www.alexandchloe.com/online_shop/ Then I started thinking on what I could do with it myself, immediately I thought of Ponoko, but that was too direct for me; I want to get my hands dirty and do it myself the old fashion way; jump right in!  I was trying to think how I could utilize this for a current project; but didn't rack my brain too hard, I figure I'll use this more to make stuff for the sales and whatnot, then came the frantic sketchbook grab and listing the possible subjects and quick doodles.  Then I googled colored plexiglass and found a site called Estreetplastics which has a great array of great priced options, so I'm definitely ordering a vast variety of colors and going to play and run with my ideas (for $3-6 a sheet how could I resist?) The more I think the more excited I get.  Just thought I'd share my impulse wave of creativity on this rainy saturday!

Now the coffee's caught the bad of me, now I'm really shaky, but thankfully not nauseated like usual, but still a nut, I think I could go run a marathon (in the rain) So I'm about to go eat with my boyfriend, then I'm dragging him to Home Depot to buy some plexiglass to play around with, then later I'm sure I'll take myself even more broke ordering the fun stuff!  All thanks to hydraulic dye forming; there's a new insight on my creative process; the wacky tangents I go on, but I think this one could lead me somewhere for once!