My Full Fall Semester

Another rocking semester at Tyler School of Art comes to a close.

I’ve been swamped since the semester ended in early December, but I wanted to put out a summary before I’m whisked off into the next adventure.

I took three studio courses and two gen eds.

One of the GenEds was Intellectual Heritage II. Interestingly enough I took the first half of this in Fall 1984 and it was nothing like this one. At least, from what I remember anyway. We covered a ton of material, many of which were books I’d been planning to read for years but never got to. The Origin of Species by Darwin stands out as something I think everyone should wade through at some point in their life because nature is not so organized, but much more persistent than we think. I could have done without Homer’s Illiad, a bit bloody for me, but now I’m hoping to get to the Odyssey sometime. More’s Utopia was kind of ridiculous and interestingly enough, was kind of meant that way. I had no idea that Marx’s Communist Manifesto had such a glowing opinion of capitalism. The Art of War is what I would call deep, light, yet succinct, reading and should be required reading for everyone who votes. Walden was surprising to me in that I believe it’s a call to wake up and live right where we are. I had expected something completely different. Although Intellectual Heritage was a lot of reading and work, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

My other GenEd was a digital mapping course. I love maps and I guess I figured this would be fun to update my knowledge on maps. Sadly for me, it was geared to students who are less familiar with mapping and mapping technology than I. But I did very well and had a lot of fun.  The final project involved mapping something we have an interest in. I chose to map handicapped houses in Philadelphia.  The professor pointed out an event that was happening as part of the Center for Disabilities at Temple which enabled me to make some connections there as well as attend the event.

Which leads me into my studio courses. I took Sophomore Metals and the first project was an iphone holder from PVC, elastic and brass. It was inspired by the fact that we never did find one that worked for Jack. I’m happy with the final result, but feel that I will have more to say in the field of design for the disabled or more perhaps universal design that can make things easier for all of differently -abled. My second project in metals was an object for the hand in which I created a suspension bridge between rings on two fingers. I’m finding myself thinking of more ideas of architectural jewelry. We shall see.  One of the best things to come out of my metals class is learning to work with plastics, I can see a lot more of that in the future, especially as I go into CAD/CAM.

My Sophomore Sculpture studio was interesting in the approach of the professor.  My first project was a stop motion video that I projected in the big green hallway. It was created with salt painting and a pair of clock hands I created from sheet brass. My second project was a three seat couch that featured USB and power plugs to charge your devices while resting between classes. It was a hit with many students and I got a lot of compliments. For the third project we finally got to work in the metal shop. I created a small twisty fence to match my contorted hazelnut bush in my front yard. It was fun to forge, but I’m not sure that the metal working tools in the sculpture department are compatible with my style of working.

But the course I have been waiting for was CAD CAM. This was taught online and I worked independently for the most part. The coursework is all online and every week an assignment is submitted. I ran into some rough water when we started rendering our designs using a separate software package. Since I was working at home, I bought all new versions of the software and the course work was geared towards the old version. It was a ground up rewrite, so the new version works quite differently. I spent a lot of time on it and finally got it together. But truly the best part of learning this software is that I can finally use a computer to work out many of the three dimensional ideas that I have. I even used it to work out the parts lists  for my Bauhaus sculpture project. My final project was based on the pennanular pin form I’ve been using for a few years now, but in a square. Even though I’m not taking CAD CAM again until next fall, I’ve not stopped using this software. In fact, I’m working on designing some tooling for my brother who makes lutes, but that’s for another post detailing what I’ve been doing since the semester ended.

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