Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Aesthetic Enhancement Devices On Display!

Bridging the gap between art and design with the launch of the Aesthetic Enhancement Device System next Thursday, here in Portland.
When I moved out of the Buttjoint Studio last July,  I took a look at my work surfaces as I dismantled the werkshop.  I have always loved the look and feel of a really worked surface. Layers of deliberate marks, gouges and spills create an Uberpatina.  It is a caricature of natural distress. Rich.  
So I chopped them up into 1' squares, framed them in mod bamboo, shellaced and waxed them, and boom, they are ready to hang.  Of course, I could make a dead cat look good with that scrumptious shellac and wax.  I freakin' love it.  There have been many occasions where my mouth starts to water as I gaze upon a waxy wood surface.  I have not yet actually taken a bite but I would not write that out as a potential future furniture faux pas on my part.  I almost chomped a WWI rifle stock I saw at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum last week.  My restraint is weakening but my resolve remains unscathed.
They are not art.  They are product. Actually they are a by-product.  They are ironically hectic remains from the fabrication process of all that clean lined, scandinavian inspired furniture. Each mark is explainable and has a reason.  As chaotic as it looks, each blemish is because of something and that justifies it for me.  

I think it would make a great architectural feature.  Sell it by the square foot.  Fake it.  Write a random program for the cnc router and start crankin'  sheets.  Word to your mother.  (ref: The New Old School Design Collective, 2002) 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby

One of the 39 coveted spots is MINE!!! The Adult Soapbox Derby is one of the best events I have ever been involved with.  This will be the second entry for me.  In '06 we were 11th on the waiting list and got the call a couple of weeks before the race, notifying us that we were in.  We managed to fabricate a rickety rig that ended up looking like a pile of dead pelicans on the side of the course 3/4 of the way down our first run.  
This year is going to be different.  Inspired by both the tenacity and the visual impact of an unflushable flake, Team Floater is poised to make soapbox history with the new concept vehicle.  I can't say I have seen one of these before.  It is basically a giant two wheeled skateboard made with a couple of wine barrels.  (UPDATE!  As inspiring as the unflushable flake is, we have changed the team name to the more appropriate "Twin Barrels Burning")
First order of business is to drink 120 gallons of wine.  
Here is the doomed pelican.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Padulo Bench

Here are some images from a bench table thing I just completed.  The wood is some crazy African spalted something.  I couldn't tell you.  I also have a video of one of my interns at the Kapow Design Extreme Furniture Fabrication Facility applying some shellac.  It is an old school method and I love the results.  A few million coats of shellac and some clear, not-so-hard wax and you have to be concerned that someone will come by and try to take a bite out of your furniture.  It looks that good.  It really makes my mouth water.

Here is some cool leopard looking spalted African Whackywood.  

Here are a couple of slabs under clamps at the South Facitlity

This vid is 3 about minutes long.  It shows one of our star interns applying shellac using the same technique used by Thomas Chippendale back in '54.  That would be 1754.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

When my cell phone rings I look to see who is calling then I answer, "hello?" like I don't know who it is.  Sometimes I will even go another step and follow with a "Oh, hey!" adding the notion of surprise to my misleading greeting when I fake find out who it is.  Why?
The reason is that I was brought up on phones that rang and you answered them with sincerity.  It is a lingering habit formed before ATMs existed, and I have not been able to shake it.  I have taken note, however and was inspired to think about how we initiate phone conversations.  As an experiment, my friend and I are attempting to dispose of salutations and get right to the point of the call.  RING RING.  We are shaving ten, even fifteen seconds off the front end of each conversation.  So if you do some simple math:  2 billion cell phones on earth, averaging 6.5 calls per day times 10 seconds of vaporous hellotalk is about 4122 years per day!  Check it.  Go ahead.

The big idea actually hit as a result of this line of thinking.  Too big, really. I am going to bury it for a few years.  Let things mature.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oh No! A Grad School Story!

I had a teacher at Pratt who was as inspiring as he was detestable.  (I actually had a few of those) That doesn't have a lot to do with the story but it was the case.  One class he announced that we were going to take ten minutes and make paper airplanes and whoever made the plane that flew the farthest wins.  So we all set about folding up the best planes we could remember how to make.  I think I just went with a dart style plane with a folded over nose.  Ultra creased and absolutely symmetric.  Not too inspired but it was the best I could come up with.  Everyone else did a version of the one I did with the exception of this one guy who crumpled up his paper into a tight ball.  When it was his turn he just chucked this thing and beat everyone soundly.  It was great.  

As ironic as it sounds, it takes a lot of discipline to think freely.  To control your mind and not allow yourself to drift over to the gutter that is the way things have been done before, is a real talent.  Of course, when someone says "plane" you think of some wings and a fuselage because that is what the Wright brothers made them.    

So when Leo (our 4 yr old) called me over to see the paper planes he made, I felt like the The April Fool for spending all that money on grad school when I could have just observed a bunch of kids and learned the most important thing Pratt taught me: how to think.

I have to say, those tissue planes fly wonderfully.  They fly like the bag in the film the kid made in the movie, American Beauty. You know, the movie where that guy does that thing?