Experimenting with the ShopBot, By Jason Gray
Recently I took a three-week summer class covering digital fabrication. We had the opportunity to work with a ShopBot CNC router, a laser cutter and a few 3D printers. I focused on the CNC, as it is the most useful in the scale I work in, and the machine I am most likely to use in the future.
While there are many examples of CNC-built furniture and sculpture pieces, most of them use off-the-shelf plywood and were obviously designed on a computer, using generic mortise and tenon shapes.
My goal for the class was to find a way to use the CNC technology in a way that did not scream "I made this on a cnc and put it together!" but also take advantage of the machine's capabilities, creating something that would be extremely tedious and nearly impossible to cut by hand.
I found my inspiration in living hinges. A living hinge is a hinge made with the same material as the two solid pieces being hinged, such as a styrofoam take-out container. The whole thing is made of the same material, and the hinge is made by a skinnier section of the styrofoam. The book cover on the right is an example of how living hinges are made in wood; this one was laser cut. It is the same principal as kerf-cutting plywood to make it bendable, but this method makes perforations through the ply rather than shallow cuts. I was curious as to whether or not this idea would work on thicker material.
The examples on the left are my test pieces. The plain plywood ones are 3/8 birch, and work fine. They bend to a degree, but are pretty basic in appearance. I wanted something more interesting, using a pattern that was more organic but still had the same capabilities. Which is where the black one came in. It is much more interesting, and even more flexible.
This was my most successful test. Again it is plain 3/8 birch plywood. As you can see on the right it can roll back onto itself. What happens with this forms is the skinny parts of the patter are actually being twisted, ever so slightly. One or two sections won't do much, but when the slight twist is added up over several sections, it becomes a significant curve.
Once I knew I could make the thicker ply bend, I had to decide what to do with it. My first goal was to get rid of the store-bought plywood. Aesthetically it is unappealing to me. I ended up making my own plywood, what is called solid core or lumber core ply.
After I had the idea of making my own ply I had to decide what to do with it. I could attach it along a curve, making a chair or any number of things. I didn't want the beauty of the shape to be hindered by the support structure, so I decided to make it a simple cylinder and turn it into a pendant lamp. Down the road I may try other forms and uses, but I am really happy with this final object as it is.
There's still a little sanding to finish in this picture, but it gives you a better look at the details.
It was a fun process to learn, and I intend to experiment further and see where I can take it.
MFA thesis exhibition, Hans Gottsacker, April 19th-24th, 7th Gallery, Humanities Bldg
In Hard to Hit, I am directly exploring my Midwestern roots and that which contributes to my social makeup as a Midwestern male artist. I am interested in recreation and male forms of communication and bonding. Sports, hunting, religion, and bar culture are all a part of the physical and social strata that contribute to the exhibition. Physical artifacts and raw material are taken from these concerns and manipulated as a way to discover how fellowship, brotherhood, and competition contribute to the human condition. I am particularly interested in the primitive human desire and ability to simultaneously cooperate and compete and the role of the autonomous wild psyche when submitted to a pack.
By: Nicholas Stawinski
The neighborhood my father grew up in was located near several of the major automotive plants in Warren, Michigan, just outside of Detroit. It was a working class neighborhood. Many of the neighbors worked at the plants or at jobs connected to the auto industry. Today, you can still drive down Mound Road and see the plants—but many have closed. The industry has moved on to “21st Century Manufacturing,” they say. What is left are the neighborhoods adjacent to those factories: small, post-war, single-family houses like the one my grandparents raised four boys in, the one my grandmother still lives in today. This house was also where they made their living, the basement used as the workspace for the upholstery business.
I have recreated such a house from memory, rendering it in upholstery, the material and processes of my family’s trade. In this way—swathed in fabric and propped up on legs— I present the house, itself, as a piece a piece of furniture. Accompanying it are objects one finds in any house: a fridge, a radiator, a water heater. They are commonplace and utilitarian, lacking the personal touch and feel that a piece of furniture has. But by transposing these objects in upholstery, the industrial edge is softened and they become specific and personal, even ornamental.
The furniture form is a placeholder for memories of the work ethic and daily grind of a blue-collar town. The objects sitting atop the platforms weigh down the soft, upholstered surface leaving their impression, just as industry leaves its impression on the community. This work is about the documentation of the shared stories, the architecture of the post-war industrial suburban sprawl, and the idea of furniture.
By: Nicholas Stawinski
I was selected to participate in the Furniture Society Booth this year at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Convention Center, May 17-20 in New York City. This years participants were juried in to the show by furniture legend Vladimir Kagan. Follow the link to vote for my piece and help me win! http://www.powermaticicff2014.com/entry/p/nick-stawinski/15
by Jason Gray
I recently capped off my time here at UW Wood with my MFA show, Carcass. Held in the Image Lab of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, it was a continuation of the fictional world I started last year with the Werner Gray Monstruary.
Werner Gray dedicated his life to preserving the memory of monsters, through the reliquaries that he built for their relics and later with the Monstruary and its various forms.
Here are some process shots from the build out of the cabinets, as well as the newest monster reliquary. Check my earlier post to see the beginning of the cabinets.
Many thanks to Professor Lynda Barry, who graciously let me take over the Image Lab for a couple weeks. And also served as bartender for the opening reception.
The two cabinets that comprised the Carcass show have moved upstairs in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, as part of Prof. Barry's Stealth Sculpture project.
READY AND WILLING
MASTER OF ART EXHIBITION BY ROBERT AIOSA
The exhibition is an attempt to showcase the commonalities between skilled labor and the artistic individual. Vernacular forms and structures along with building materials commonly found on construction sites and within existing architecture are used to conflate artistic sculptural process with skilled labor to start a dialogue on class division within our society.
On Friday February 21st us woodworking students visited the Design Gallery in Nancy Nicholas Hall. The gallery is filled with a variety of different boat related material curated by Liese Pfeiffer. Of particular interest was the UW Madison concrete canoe team project. The head of the team, Nick, brought us over to their workshop space and gave us a thorough explanation of the concrete canoe research, development, and construction. We wish the team good luck at this year's competition! Thanks Nick
Location: Haigo and Irene Shen Architecture Gallery (2nd Floor)
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, School of Architecture
2410 Campus Road
Gallery exhibition dates: March 20 – April 10
Gallery Hours: Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To play, to twist, to bend, to mold, to shear, to connect, to stretch, to color, to discover: all the many ways to manipulate wood is what Tom Loeser teaches and practices. The School of Architecture at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is excited to host an exhibition by Tom Loeser called “Details, Details, Details.” The Exhibition runs from March 20 – April 10, 2014 at the Haigo and Irene Shen Architecture Gallery, 2nd floor. Tom Loeser will present an open carving and milk paint workshop on Tuesday, March 18th from 12pm – 3pm. Loeser has exhibited widely in the United States and internationally since the 1980s. He is a Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, head of the Furniture/Woodworking program and currently serves as Chair of the Art Department. In 2013, Loeser was elected to the American Craft Council College of Fellows. In a video on the American Craft Council website (link below), Loeser comments that people are familiar and comfortable with furniture forms, making furniture derived objects particularly accessible as a starting point for questioning issues of functionality and social interaction.
Link to American Craft Council video:
“2012 American Craft Council Fellow: Tom Loeser“
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Open carving and milk paint workshop: 12pm-3pm, Haigo and Irene Shen Architecture Gallery
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Artist Talk: 6pm-7pm, Room: Arch 215
Opening reception: 7pm-9pm, Haigo and Irene Shen Architecture Gallery