Thursday, 12 October 2017

I am ready for the new project, and so the journey begins….

I am working on the Seed:
largely inspired by microscopic images of pollens and seeds, and configurations of bubbles. It continues the exploration of the infinitely small, microscopic and seemingly insignificant, and at the same time explores the symbolism of the seed as the nucleus, the essence of being, the creative starting point and the potential for renewal..

The configuration of bubbles.....
It all started with the notion of the membrane separating the inner and outer space. Living in the bubble, blowing bubbles, bursting bubbles....there are plenty of metaphors to play with.
And then I came upon the exploratorium  web site and found this:

If you take two sheets of clear glass or plastic separated by about one-half inch, soak them in soapy solution and then blow bubbles between the sheets, you will get many bubble walls. If you look closely, you will notice that all of the vertices where three bubble walls meet (and there are always three,) form 120 degree angles. If your bubbles are of uniform size, you will notice that the cells form hexagons and start to look much like the cells of a beehive. Bees, like bubbles, try to be as efficient as possible when making the comb. They want to use the minimum possible amount of wax to get the job done. Hexagonal cells are the ticket.

And so the journey begins.....

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Bubbles,seeds and geometry…

Starting with hexagons, pentagons and triangles (with all the permutations), searching for the shape that is the right fit for ideas in my mind....
Bubbles and seeds…

From the book:
Uber die gleichecking-gleichflachigen, diskontinuierlichen und nichtkonvexen Polyheder.
von Prof. Dr. Max Bruckner. Oberlehrer am Gymnasium zu Bautzen
Halle. 1906.

Another look at the platonic solids:
How about Icosahedron? Those triangles could be divided into the further triangles....
Starting point:.

...but not there yet....

the triangles work with the ability to repeat elements....but I am looking for more dynamic form.....bubble bursting, seed opening, the moment of change......

And this is it. Final concept.I like the new direction it is starting to take....

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Ideas bubbling

This sculpture has several new elements that I need to investigate, and at this stage I don’t know if I can achieve what I am looking for.
Unlike the previous sculptures where I was looking for the light, airy, delicate and almost weightless feel, this one doesn’t have the look-through-holes and I want it to feel solid and dense. It is a Seed, full of life potential, not an empty husk.

I know that no matter how much I try; there will be the inevitable gaps between the clay tiles and the empty space inside will be visible. I don’t want to create solid wall (like concrete) and grout the tiles on… I still need to be able to move the sculpture without the heavy machinery, so in looking for other options I started thinking about LED lights. 
Not long ago I attended the “show and tell” by company called Light Applications which have designed lighting for many public art installations. I was intrigued and inspired to include (if possible) some lights in my work….and so the idea of the LED light “travelling” through the gaps in the tiles, reminiscent of the neurons firing in the brain, started to take shape…

The first challenge is…I know frustratingly little about lights. To me they are just magic to be enjoyed. Where do I start?

Thursday, 23 November 2017


You kind of feel that you are on the right track when you are looking for a way forward and the metaphorical doors open.

I have to admit that when it comes to electricity, lights, LED, programming possibilities, energy sources, battery capacities … … it is all a foreign language and a strange land to me.
I sense a steep learning curve ahead.

And then a friend tells me that her son was working on a project at his high school, and I should talk to him. Not only that, but she also mentions my project to the teacher, and it turns out that the school is interested in a “real life collaborative project”.

This is really exciting! At the meeting with the teachers I learn that All Saints’ College has HotHouse andPropellerEnterprises. On the ASC web site I learn that the HotHouse is an incubation environment where unique and experimental ideas are given the necessary raw materials to grow into whatever they are destined to be; and Propeller is new hub for innovation at All Saints’ College. I think I fit right in!

And so, I have packed up Seed -
 "sculpture in progress" and transported it to the All Saints' College.

A few images from the brainstorming/workshop sessions with the students. I was really too busy to take photos.....

To make it easier for us to work, I have made several models of the Seed,and it made me understand its geometry better.
Here is the net:

Folding lines are blue, orange and beige are the edges of the tiles.

If any of you want to make your own model, print this image full size on A4 page 3 times:

Next week will be our last session together as the school year is drawing to a close, and some of the participants will be already on the school camp. We have made good progress in problem solving LED lights positioning and programming, but there is still a way to go before the sculpture is finished.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

puzzles and brain teasers

A month later and there is not much progress.
 Oh, I have spent hours and days working on “it”, avoiding “it”, looking at “it”, making models of “it”….but to tell the truth, I feel that I am waay out of my comfort zone. Maybe writing about “it” will help….
There are couple of big – and quite obvious - changes here in comparison to the previous sculptures: the addition of acrylic panels and LED lights. Unfortunately, the way that I have designed and made the metal frame is very suitable for my ceramics, but not necessarily for acrylics and LED’s. The problem is that I haven’t fully considered attachments of those elements at the planning stage, so now I have to, kind of, retro-fit them.

Those hexagonal gaps in the frame ....
.... get filled with ceramic elements:
But those are also spaces where I'm planing to have LED lights, and at the moment, nothing to attach them to.
And there is nothing to support the acrylic on top:
On this photo I have a  cardboard template that is light and only needs couple of bull clips to hold it,but it is not necessarily accurate, so I have decided to make a new one out of 6mm MDF ( much cheaper to play with than the acrylic, and it will be handy when ordering a real thing). It is also much heavier than cardboard.
The first problem is: How to find the right height point in the middle of the frame to create a support for the acrylic without distorting the frame, keeping in mind that the actual frame is not necessarily as symmetrical and accurate as the drawing.

After a lot of trial and errors, I have found the perfect tool to help me - a tripod. Why didn't I think of it hours ago?
we have progress....

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Bursts and spurts and lights

The frame for the acrylic has been welded; although I am still not sure how will I attach the panels to the frame.Before I make the final decisions on that front, it is time to look at the LED’s…
I have purchased 50 meters of individually programmable LED's (they come in 5 meter lengths) and couple of Arduino computers. 

Until a few months ago (before I met with All Saint's College students) Arduino's were not part of my world. Now we have been formally introduced, but not really acquainted.
This is the part of the project that I am totally relaying on help from my friends: Silas (ASC student) and my Arduino whizz, his dad Chris who knows how to power the whole set up (just look at the board at the forefront of the photo), and my son Robert, a software engineer

While they are working on the programming and powering, I'm figuring out how to physically wrap 50 m of LED's around the sculpture with the least amount of cutting and soldering. We have worked it out nicely at ASC, but with 10 x 5 m of LED's, not 1 x 50 m.
But I have the starting point:

No, no, no yes!
First mock up:

Ups, lights will be interfering with acrylic. Back to the drawing board:
Second mock up (now we have movement, not all LED's lit at once):

Ooohhh yes!

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