Thursday, September 23, 2010

Canadian Urban Sprawls Under a Cup

Inspired by one of our past project - lost waxing: 'Map of Winnipeg' - made by Heather. We decided to take it one step further and design some laser cut coasters of Canadian city urban sprawl. The 3 cities (for now) we picked to prototype were the three Canadian cities that meant the most to us; Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Toronto (where all 3 NDC members currently live). The highways were represented in the thicker lines, major roads are the thin lines, and the rivers and lakes are etched out in Grey.

For our prototype, we used the fast and easy Ponoko as our manufacturer. The material we choose was a 5.0mm double core Maple veneer (Maple eh?). You can see from the pictures below how precise laser cutting can be, there are sections where it is as thin as a hairline. We learned that when the lines were too close together, it actually burns the back side of the wood, and makes the wood 'smells like burning'.

freshly laser cut pieces before taking it apart

Back side of the coasters, burnt.

The devil is in the detail (not literally...)

Urban Sprawl of Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg

Ah! It's too pretty to be a coaster

For the next batch, we'll definitely play with the line weight. We really enjoy the look of close hairline neighborhoods, so we might put more details in neighborhoods we like, and less on others. We had the idea of playing with the elevation as well! This is definitely the beginning of a series of other cities, any suggestions?

- Jess

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Speghelling it out

While shooting some images for another project, had some spare time to find all 27 letters of our name. I got to say, it doesn't taste half as bad as i thought.

Uh Oh Alpha-Spaghetti-O

- Jess

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cat Vinyl

December 2009,
Cut vinyl wall graphic.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Slip Casting - Mold Reveal

After waiting 24 hours to reveal the mold, we finally took it apart! The wing was easily removed with a few hair stuck within the plaster. We used a tweezers and a toothbrush to clean up the mold and deepen a few features to really shape the chicken wing. The mold fits perfectly together, but smells absolutely disgusting. It will stay wrapped up in layers and layers of plastic wrap until the moment of slip casting.

Even Craig hated the smell! Yuck!

Top and Bottom of the two part mold

Side View - It fits perfectly together.

- Jess

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Slip Casting Step 1 - Mold Making

Having an interest with Slip Casting, we went to our friend Sherry's clay studio to experiment with slip casting. Sherry is casting a clay Russian doll and we were casting a (real) chicken wing!

The first step of slip casting is making the plaster molds. Both being first timers, we've only had extensive google and youtube research and an old casting book to blindly guide us, luckily we had an experienced potter at the studio who taught us tips and tricks as we went along the steps. We used clear plastic for the walls of our mold so the process can be easily monitored and recorded.

+ step 1: We made a 4 wall mold that will fit what you want to slip cast, make sure the mold is built in the right orientation so it's easy to place the chicken wings in, and at the orientation that allows the mold to have no undercuts.

Lining the bottom of the mold with clay

+ step 2: Because we want all sides of the chicken wing, we're making a 2 part mold. Fill up the bottom half of the mold with clay. place the item you want to slip cast into the clay, push it all the way down to the widest point and fill in all the holes so there wouldn't be any undercuts. Brush a releasing agent (we used soap water!) over the exposed surface so the clay, chicken wing, and plaster will separate easily. The last step of this before you make your plaster mix is to use the end of a pencil to poke locater holes in the flatter areas of the mold. This allows the 2 pieces of plaster mold to join together easily when casting.

Filled up the mold half way with clay

+ step 3: Mixing the plaster is a science in itself. we made the mistake of stirring the plaster as it was being added in. The correct way to make plaster is to measure out the water in one bucket, weigh out the plaster in another, and sprinkle thin layers of plaster into the water and watch the water naturally absorb the plaster. Once all the plaster is poured in and absorbed, put your hand in and mix it while crushing all the remaining clumps of plaster. There is a specific ratio of water to plaster to follow, but the consistency of wet plaster should feel like pancake mix!

Mixing plastic to the consistency of pancake mix

+ step4: to get the details of the skin and bones on the chicken wing, the best way is the flick your hand and sprinkle the wet plaster onto your mold. This creates a thin layer that will eliminate any large bubbles and retain the highest detail on your model. Once that is done, pour the plaster slowly from the side of the mold (not on the chicken wing), and vibrate to get all the air bubbles out.

Sprinkling wet plaster gently onto the mold

Pouring plaster into the corner of the mold... slowly

+ step 5: wait 20 - 30 min until the plaster is dry, flip the mold over and remove all the clay (make sure to keep the chicken wing (item) untouched). Apply releasing agent over the plaster and repeat steps 3 and 4 to create the second part of the mold.

Removing the clay

Part 1 of the two part mold

+ step 6: Once the second part of the mold is poured, make sure you wait 24 hours to let the mold set before the big reveal. We still have 5 hours and 23 minutes to wait ourselves...

Overall, we learned that...
1) Making plaster is an art and science, needs to be done fast and precise and that plaster hardening is a chemical reaction (which is why it heats up!).
2) Like concrete, do not pour plaster down the sink!
3) Raw chicken wing sitting in a plaster mold will not smell great...

- Jess
Special thanks to Rachelle and Sherry.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Table Assembly

I swear that this will be the last table post! Well... before the final table post. Here are some quick shots of the final assembly and finishing.


The three bent wood profiles were trimmed and then laminated together to form the each leg. The insides had to be stained before the lamination because it is impossible to get in there afterwards.

Together at Last

Before trimming the laminated pieces the legs were assembled to test the fit of the middle connector. This was the first time that the legs had gone together to give us a view of what the table will eventually look like.

Checking for Level

The legs were then trimmed to length and the table was assembled again. A temporary top was placed on the legs and it was checked for level. Final trim cuts were done, and the legs were sanded smooth. The next step is to seal it all and get the glass top in. The next table post will be the final assembly!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We Need Your Help!

Hooking people up since 2010

We've had a special creative request from someone who is looking to repurpose one of our M3 rings.

If you know someone or are up for the most romantic challenge ever, feel free to contact us and we will put you in touch with this person.

So I love a special lady. I am going to ask her to marry me on a camping trip in Maine, sometime soon. But not before I work with someone like you, a creative jewelry designer who is open to exploring new process, methods, and growing as an artist. I'm writing to introduce myself and tell my story. I'm a design student at the MIT Media Lab. Last year I was the TA for a class called "Design for Fabrication". The idea was that we can bypass traditional systems and make our own electronics, do industrial design with 3D programs, and do things like work with other professionals to design a ring for someone you love etc... It has an M3 thread, and a tiny screw at the moment. I am seeking a jeweler with a portfolio who will skype with me to brainstorm about what stones I can put in this that are not diamonds. I have been reading the Economist, and don't like what the diamond industry is doing to war torn african countries like the Congo. So, I'm looking for creative alternatives. My philosophy is this: be open to your collaborators ideas and trust their expertise. We will agree on a stone, and a price. I'll send you the ring, and you make me two fittings for it. One for before the wedding and one we can screw in on the wedding day. I would like to establish a relationship with a creative jewelry designer who is interested in doing this as the years go by. Just as we have to renew our understandings of each other and adapt to new situations, I think our jewelry should be adaptable, and I would love to be able to design fittings for this with another creative professional.


- Heather