29 June 2010

How These Things Begin (sort of)

Here's my sketch for the 16 windows of the
previous few posts. It's kind of similar, and
kind of ... gestural. Doing the drawing functioned more to give me the sense of what kind of lines I wanted the frames to have, than to give me the precise shapes for each of the 16 windows.

In some ways this stuff would all be easier if I were the type to plan my projects out to the last and tiniest detail before beginning to execute, but I have tried that in the past, and invariably been horribly, horribly frustrated. Because when I plan that way, I give myself no leeway for adapting to the unexpected. Materials or processes that don't work out quite as planned. When I do that much planning, I damn well expect it to work out like that!

On the other hand, when I do it this looser way, just kind of rolling with the ideas as they come, I tend to change course a bit *too* much, whether things are working or not, and I tend to waste time and effort and often materials. In this method, I have to be very careful to set firm deadlines and I have to set budget limitations, material limitations, and lock down how many changes I let myself make along the way. Project managing, basically. That turns into a tough line to toe, because it wars with my desire not to stifle creative urges. (The alternative being, frustration because my creative urges make it flat out impossible to get anything done, ever.)

26 June 2010

If at first you fail, try, try again...

Tried to post this four times yesterday, and somehow the post got wiped out four times. Finally I gave up and took a little nap instead. I'm sure you understand!

What you see here are two panels of wood with sixteen different shaped holes cut in them. Each hole has a corresponding glass piece, and a matching wooden frame piece. The glass goes inside the hole, and the frame piece sits on top.

Since cutting out the sixteen holes, it has taken me almost two weeks to get the sixteen pieces of glass cut out and ground to fit.

Two damn weeks.

What yo are looking at here is a closer view of a single glass-frame-hole set. Click through to see it a little larger.

I have learned a valuable lesson in that time. Several, in fact. First, never ever try to cut out glass in shapes like these. Because it's a pain in the ass.

Second, if I do something like this again, I'm going to cut out the glass FIRST, and then do the wood cut out and fitting AFTER, because sanding wood to fit something is a hell of a lot easier and faster than sanding glass. Not to mention safer!

These two close-up shapes are the two worst of the lot, I think I had to cut these each four or five times to get pieces that did not break and become useless.

25 June 2010

Not Slow & Steady... Just Slow.

I have not disappeared from the planet, I have been actually working on this thing. Slowly. Veeeerrry slowly. Partly because working with the Dremel to grind the glass down aggravates the nerve pinch in my neck, and partly because I've gotten a bit frustrated... trying to cut out shapes like these from glass. It's not easy, my glass cutter isn't great, I'm not a fantastic glass cutting expert, and doing things that potentially fire glass shards all over the universe is the type of activity one tends to limit in terms of timing and location. If you see what I mean.

However! I believe I have finally –finally!– cut all 16 pieces, and gotten them ground to fit, and manage any further fitting by sanding the wood down a little. And I have learned a valuable lesson about (next time!) cutting the glass FIRST and cutting the wood AFTER because it is so much easier to shape the wood than the glass. Dur.

The two pieces that you see close-ups of here are the two that gave me the most trouble. One, I had to cut 4x and the other I had to cut 5x to get usable pieces. All the other attempts had broken-off corners (or middles!) that were of no more use to me than a monkey with only four asses. I had to burn the laboratory down.

I'm not dead, I swear!

Been working on this project a long time, and I *am* making progress, but it's slow going. Partly because I'm inventing the wheel here. The oddly-shaped wheel. I'm not working from any kind of a real plan or anything ('cause I'm an idiot like that), and this is my first project of this kind, and it's almost certainly over-ambitious for being the first of its kind and also fairly spontaneous.

The sixteen holes, sixteen matching wood frame pieces, and sixteen custom fitted glass pieces have taken me (in round numbers) a long goddamn time to get cut and fitted. A couple of the glass pieces had to be re-made several times.

Here you see close ups of the two worst. I think I cut one of these four times, the other five times. These two shapes *nearly* had me convinced to abandon the glass altogether in favor of something more... reasonable. But i

The great thing is, I'll be thinking fondly of this project every time I handle anything acidic for the next couple of weeks. It is amazing how a teeny tiny little cut can be utterly below radar until you go to squeeze a lime or wash a window with some vinegar based cleaner solution.