The second Studio project this semester was to adapt an animal to emulate the aesthetic of the famous Eames elephant from Charles and Ray Eames. The main goal of this project was to develop an understanding of plastic forming and to hone our ability to abstract forms. The prompt was to design a simple animal to be made out of laser cut and bent acrylic with simple rivets to hold a minimum of two and a maximum of four pieces together. Being assigned a whale I started by cutting draft models out of bristol paper and experimenting with how I could bend and attach the model. Eventually, I came up with a design where the belly was one piece and the body and fins were an upper portion. This lower portion was attached to the tail and eye area. Through iterating in plastic I figured out I could also attach the bell portion in a way where the rivet also represented the blowhole and I didn’t need a fastener in the rail region if I bent the sides of the tail region in to trap the tapering end of that part. This helped to really simplify my design and make it more pleasing to view. Overall I am very happy with my result as I think I was able to find a good balance between detail and abstraction.
In 3D Realization which is my shop/model making class, we started our first major project in low density “blue foam” material. This is formed primarily on a hot wire cutter and by file/sandpaper. After doing some quick practice assignments we were tasked with choosing a small item and scaling it up tenfold with a partner. My partner and I chose to do my apartment keys because of their challenging jagged cutouts while still being a very recognizable item. We started by tracing the overall profile of the keys into illustrator from a picture we took. Then we scaled it up until it was 10 times as long as the actual keys. We took this path to the laser cutter and cut out some templates out of chipboard. At this point, we glued the templates to the foam and cut out the profiles on the wire cutter. Finally, we carved and sanded the negative cutouts of the key and inlaid or overlaid the lettering. I think our final product came out really well!
As usual, it has been a busy semester so far with lots of improvement in my abilities as a designer. Today I am going to take the time to post about a handful of my early projects. The first of which is my Studio 3 cantilever project. The goal of this project was to practice the design project in a very extreme case. Our objective with this project was to suspend a two-pound weight as far from the center of a 6-inch circle and a minimum of 7 inches from the surface of the table. This distance from the center of the base would then be divided by the weight of our model to determine the ratio of distance to weight. This ratio along with the thoroughness which with we executed the process of developing the cantilever would then be used to determine our grade. In our cantilever, we could only use super glue and balsa wood sticks and a single 1-pound counterweight. In the end, after at least five iterations, I was the student with the best ratio! I have attached a picture of my final winning design. It is a simple bridge-like truss with side supports to prevent torsion from the weights. My key development was using a single truss instead of two parallel ones which significantly cut down on weight. My final model weighed only 26 grams and extended 14 inches!
Now that it had been a couple weeks since classes started, I figured I might write about my roster for this semester. This semester, similar to the last two, I have 19 credits of mostly major required classes. My core design classes for this semester are Industrial Design Studio 3, 3D Realization, and 3D Visualization. Studio consists of primarily more major projects that focus on developing the design process and tying together the many different skills developed in the two other design classes. 3D Realization is the design class which has replaced the more graphic design esk classes from last year. 3D Realization focuses on teaching different modeling and machining practices. So far we have learned to safely use the laser cutter, foam cutters, plastic ovens, band saws, drill presses, mills, and metal lathes. The laser cutter and plastic ovens already played a major role in our second studio project. 3D Visualization is my drawing class for the semester. In 3D Visualization, we moved from using black colored pencils as we did last year to using various types of pens and Copic markers for shading/color. I took me a little while to get back into the drawing flow but recently I have been very satisfied with some of my work.
Aside from my design classes, I have a social studies elective and a mandatory physics class. For social studies, I decided to take design history. Both classes are very well organized and have a regular pattern which is something I appreciate. In History class, for instance, there is always an online quiz due on Tuesday before class and the writing homework is due by midnight Friday. In physics, the online homework is due every money before class and the quiz is due by midnight Wednesday. This makes it really easy to keep track of all work and get it in on time. Overall I am very satisfied with all of my classes and professors this year. I will continue to write posts referring to individual projects as I complete them.
September was a busy month. After flying in from California on the 30th of August I went to my roommate’s house in Rhode Island from which we prepared to move into the apartment on the 1st. When we moved in, the apartment was left in pretty poor condition so we spent the first three days driving in from Rhode Island in the morning then cleaning or painting for a few hours and in the evening driving back to Road Island to sleep and eat. While it would have been nice to be able to move into the apartment the day we got to the city, having to do some work wasn’t unexpected and the real estate agency was willing to reimburse us for the materials we needed to buy. Now that we have moved into the apartment it is really nice to have a clean, open, and most of all a personal room. Hopefully, this whole endeavor is rewarding enough for the time and energy spent on it.
So far I am happy with living off campus but there are some cons to renting from a private company instead of getting a dorm room on campus. The most noticeable is that if I lived on campus my classes would only be about 5 minutes away while from my apartment it takes about 15. On the flip side of this, the grocery store and Target are only 5 minutes away instead of 15 which makes it easier to go grocery shopping and prepare meals myself. Another mark against the off-campus apartment would be that we are on the fourth floor and don’t have an elevator in the building. However, I quickly got used to walking the steps and now appreciate it as a mandatory workout. Overall I am happy with my choice to move into the Fenway but I understand that it wouldn’t be the best choice for everyone.
Since coming home in mid-April, most of my time has been spent trying to earn the money I will need to comfortably move into my off campus apartment for next year and for the trip I am planning for August. Shortly after coming back home to California I started working at a car dealership where I learned quite a bit about the automotive industry but once it became available, I moved on to a more traditional retail position closer to home for a more reliable paycheck. At this second position, I was also able to use more of what I had learned so far at Wentworth because I have to help customers design the lighting, furniture, and hardware of their homes. In researching for this position I was also asked to learn about a lot of the minutia surrounding the mechanics of door sets and lighting types. I am hoping that this knowledge will come in handy again once I am back at school as I know that we have a lighting project as upperclassmen.
Especially these last few weeks as work becomes a little more routine, I have been finding that I miss Boston and Taking classes at Wentworth more and more. While I am very satisfied with my working situation this summer, there is something about being at school and having several engaging design projects going at once that never gets old. I can’t wait until I have enough experience that I can get paid to do what we do at school.
On the 8th of August, after I have my last day of work on the 4th, One of my roommates from last year at Wentworth is coming to visit me for the rest of the month and after I show him the Bay Area where I live, we are going to do a week and a half trip to Yosemite and LA. It should be exciting because he hasn’t seen either and I haven’t been to the LA area in recent memory. Maybe my first post for next year can be about how that went.
The last few weeks in both Vis and Studio have been taken up with our final projects for this semester. In studio, we were instructed to design the packaging and form of a bar of soap, and in Vis, we were asked to design a poster for an assigned font type. For my soap, I chose to design a product that addressed the needs of a swimmer. Having been a swimmer for most of my life I knew that a crucial part of the soap would be addressing the issues surrounding chlorine exposure. To solve this, I added moisturizers and liquid anti-chlorine soap to the base we were using. In the packaging and the form of the soap, I upheld the swimming theme by using speedo products such as swimming fins as a reference. I really like the final product which I came up with and will have it at my year end show this week. I am also very pleased with my poster. After several iterations, this is what I came up with what I have attached below.
After coming back from winter break my classes started up again pretty quickly. Especially in my studio and drawing classes. However, I still found enough time to go to the gym here on campus and to go out into the city when the weather permitted. In addition to my classes this semester, I also made a point to attend the many guest lectures which the design professors organize for the students. My two favorites were from a Wentworth graduate who is now doing design work for Bose and the lead designer for Nerf at Hasbro toys. Both presentations helped me to further understand what life is like as a professional designer. After attending it was a lot clearer to me which skills are most emphasized by the industry.
Life in the Evansway dorm this semester has continued to be pretty comfortable. My suitemates and I all get along well and often help each other with assignments since we are in many of the same classes. The dorm isn’t far from any of my classes and is close enough to the Fenway to attend games and carry back groceries from Target or Star Market. The one thing I wish I had access to is a kitchen somewhere on campus or even just a counter to prepare food standing and not at a desk.
Even though I found that on-campus housing was a good experience this first year for the next three I will be moving off campus into an apartment in the Fenway area. I chose to do this mostly because as an out of state student from the west coast I found that moving in and out of housing every year and needing to go home over winter and spring break was extremely costly and difficult to organize. Off-campus housing, however, gives me a year-round space to live in and has the potential of being less costly than on campus housing if I stay in the city for my co-ops and organize a roommate. However, this does limit my flexibility when it comes to the location of where I could do my internships. During the whole process of finding an off-campus solution for next year, Wentworth Housing was very helpful in figuring out the logistics on their side of things and made the process really straightforward.
In all, I have really liked my first year at Wentworth and am really looking forward to my Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years. For these last two weeks, I have to focus on getting my final projects and presentations ready for my review. Once I have them figured out I will certainly write a post summarizing what I achieved this year in my classes.
Admittedly It has been a little over a week since I made my last Vis 2 post and promised to post this drawing. With all the work I had to do that week before spring break it slipped my mind to take a picture of my drawing before submitting it for grading. With it now returned I am able to put together this post. In this drawing assignment, each student was asked to come up with a recognizable form which could be composed out of the blocks we had become accustomed to in the last assignment. I chose to draw a boat, and after several iterative thumbnail sketches I came to this final form. Once the other students and I had completed the front view we were asked to draw a reverse view looking in from the back. I think both drawings came out really well In part because what I had learned about drawing cubes from the last assignment could be applied to this one.
One of my favorite classes after studio this semester has been visualization 2. Looking back at the drawing I posted from earlier this semester I think it is undeniable that I have improved quite a bit. We have moved from purely geometric shapes with sharp edges to cylinders, spheres, and smoother more realistic edges. Until this last project, which I have attached, all the drawings we did were purely imagined and realized on paper. However, this week’s assignment had us draw a block composition which our professor put at the front of the class. I am pretty satisfied with my outcome. Sadly, I realize now that by trying to include the blocks in my image I let the focus stray too far from my drawing which gave it a warped look. Our project for the coming Friday is to draw the front and back of our own block compositions which we came up with in class and have memorized. Mine will be a boat. I am planning to post that drawing later this week once I have it finished.