Today we learnt how to rewire and connect the main power source to motors and fans for the tree.
I decided to use a motor to create movement on the tree which I could connect leaf-like objects to spin from it.
The process involved cutting and stripping wires which would be soldered together or to a button to control it. This was quite a simple process but still involved some safety precautions i.e. not burning yourself on the soldering iron.
After soldering the wires to the button and to the motor itself I needed to test it using a power supply with crocodile clips. The motor has a positive and negative end however, unlike a fan or light by putting the clips and wires onto either end, this will determine the direction of the motor.
I will use this motor on the tree to create air flow and movement.
I have learnt to solder metal onto wire for conduction and am able to use the soldering iron on my own which has meant I have another signature on my passport.
We were inducted into the band saw, hand drill and sanding machine today in the wood workshop by the technician Nigel Williams who provided us with a detail breakdown of how to use the different machines and the health and safety which came with them. He provided us with stories which made us think about using the machines correctly to avoided injury!
We were given a piece of MDF board to try out the band saw and sanding machine and had to cut a curve and a straight line using the band saw and sand down the edges using the sander. By doing these exercise we were able to get signatures in our passports which allow us to use the machines without the technicians.
From this exercise I am now able to use the machines freely and safely throughout my degree to create sculptures for projects.
The Electric Tree Project will allow me to explore the issue of technological waste on our lands and to contribute to a group piece of art which responds to this worldwide problem.
We started by pulling apart computer screens, laptops and hard drives to find the inner parts including frames, power bank, motherboard, wiring, fans and screws which will be used on the tree. The parts will allow us to create a well-lit, electronic sculpture. We will be able to use the fans to create movement in lighter objects e.g. paper, cardboard and light wires. The screens could be used to reflect light and possibly provide internal light from them. The green motherboards could be used as leaves or decoration on the tree and the wire as fallen branches and leaves.
I only had one day to produce my sculpture because I went on a Venice art trip which meant I had less time to experiment with the steel and my design. I was forced to think mathematically and adapt my design quickly in order to produce an outcome. As I used cardboard for the maquette it was very rigid and square and stopped it from bending whereas the steel was easier to bend using the machines in the workshop so I decided to create a rounder body for the sculpture. I was limited to the amount of steel I could use so I decided not to give the sculpture a full back. This also gave a sense of involvement for the audience and would allow them to step inside the armour to wear it as you would a T-shirt.
I added shoulder plates to the sculpture to give the armour look but wanted them to be moveable on the body of the sculpture because it conveys the flow and movement of a T-shirt.
I decided to keep the shiny smooth surface of the steel because it depicted a strong impenetrable feeling to the piece which I linked to the idea that a logo T-shirt can be a form of armour and used to protect your reputation, status and also to make a statement to society.
I enjoyed this three week project because it give me a taste of the metal workshop and the opportunity to learn the basic skills needed as well as an understanding of some of the machines used for steel art.
I used cardboard to make my maquettes because it has a strong structure and is able to hold a good shape. This allowed me to make small design ideas for my sculpture and to start to put my mental ideas into practice. I experimented with different design ideas and used the sketches made in my sketchbook – documented in the previous blog – to create the sculptural maquettes for the project because I wanted to have a clear idea of how I was going to create my sculpture. I know the sculpture could develop further when I make it next week however, I would still like to have a good mental idea of how I will produce it.
Before making the maquettes I spent an hour sketching ideas and writing thoughts in my sketch book about how I would produce the piece and to iron out my mental images of the sculpture. I did this because it meant I was able to work out the maths and geometrics of the sculpture. I find drawing out my ideas easier and useful because it means I can create a better image of the final outcome.
I also experimented with giving the armour should plates in the drawings. I decided it was a good idea because it looked strong and more like a piece of armour than it would without them. The shoulder plates also reminded me of sleeves of a T-shirt.
I was contemplating whether to connect the front and back of the armour using a chain-like piece of metal to hold the sculpture together so I discussed the ways in order to produce this to come to a conclusion.
The contemporary artist David Smith who works using a base for his sculptures in order for them to stand works with a range of metals to produce abstract sculptures. I am fascinated by his work because they are created by bending and manipulating the metal into shapes which are fixed together to produce the sculpture. I am inspired by his work because it gives a mathematical sense and holds different shapes and geometric forms so the audience is intrigued and involves themselves. I also get the sense that his work is accessible to range of audiences and not just those in the art world which fascinates me and is an outcome for my own work. David Smith, Zig III (1961)
Smith also produces many drawings as part of his art career however, they are not usually related to the sculptures he produces which is something I admire because I believe your idea for a piece of art is constantly developing and improving.
David Smith, Untitled (1959)