Junior Year at Tyler- Part I

Junior year at Tyler has whizzed by and there was not much time for updating here during the semester. My last exam was the other day and now I have a few short weeks to get ready for the next big adventure: The Tyler Metals Summer program in the UK. So as to not be rambling too much, I’m going to break the past two semesters into a couple of posts.

This past Fall I took three studio courses, Junior Metals, CAD II and Computers for Design along with an online writing intensive, gen-ed requirement on education and and art history course on the history of modern craft.
Our first project in Junior Metals was to utilize a ball bearing in a piece. I chose to create a ratcheting mechanism in a pendant connected to a cord around the neck for an adjustable length neckpiece.

I used brass and bronze for the pendant itself and fastened a delrin carving on the front to wind up the ratchet. The cord was made from fishing line covered in a light fabric that would bunch up as the cord was shortened. A lever on the side of the pendant released the ratchet to unwind or loosen the cord. I really enjoyed making a prototype of the ratchet and then the final piece.

Our second project in metals was to create something with an O Ring. I decided to create a vessel of some sort to hold some of Jack’s ashes while I traveled. Naturally it because a kind of camera. The opening and closing diaphragm mechanism was another mechanism I enjoyed researching and designing. The back cap with the O rings became a lens to peer through the vessel. The vessel shape and mechanism were created using Rhino CAD software to help me layout the patterns and then I used traditional metal fabrication techniques. The materials are sterling silver and clear Plexiglas.

CAD II is the class where we get to make our designs in real life using the Z-Corp gypsum printer. The pieces can be made in full color and come out as very fragile objects that have to be stabilized with infiltration of either epoxy resin or a thin cyanoacralate (super glue) It was a challenging class, I’m sure this isn’t my best work, but I learned so much. Printing full color pieces allowed for a sense of whimsy that I usually don’t have in my work, one of my CAD II pieces was based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail and another was my idea of St Basil’s Catherdral in Moscow with spinning towers. Our final project was to create a ring which I sent out to be printed with an online service bureau over the Christmas break.

For my 3rd studio class I still needed to fill one more sophomore level elective, so I took Computers for Design. This class covers basic Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign. I learned so much in this class that I began using in my other work almost as soon as the semester ended and I’ve been using ever since. But one lesson that this class really drove home had nothing to do with graphic design. It was that I need to communicate better when I am feeling behind and make sure to reach out for help. I tend to be stoic and think I’ll figure it out. This certainly didn’t help me and I’m hoping that I’ve learned this important lesson.

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