Archive for the 'handmade' Category

RAW Design Build – Dakota 2017 – Outcropping

August 6, 2017

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Six years passed between my first RAW Design Build days and this year’s reunion was a great chance to revisit the kitchen/dining structures we built in 2011 and create a new destination on the 1000 acre tree farm outside of Custer, South Dakota.

This project was truly about working around nature – whether it was the almost daily rain and lighting shows, the quite chilly nights (we camped about a 5 minute walk away from the site), to the steep slopes, ever-varying rock faces, and weaving between bonsai-like pines and groves of aspen. This was a build-it-and-they-will-come project. It’s on the forefront of a vision to cultivate more outdoor experiences  and destinations on the land to encourage authentic outdoor activities (getting away from the variety of kitchy attractions that dot the area – Reptile Gardens, anyone?)

Ponderosa pines dominate the rocky terrain. Recently, the pine beetle’s wrath has allowed for new aspen groves to pop up, creating a new food source and habitat for deer and other critters. Julie Oswald, the client and owner of the property, said this year has been the year of the Aspen, as she’s been thinking a lot about how it fits into the overall forest management plan.

This year’s challenge was to create a place that could change the visitor’s view and perception of the place. How can we get visitors to look at the site differently? Scrambling on the rocks, I realized that there were a few different view ranges – one, below the canopy, through the valley – two, in the canopy of aspen and ponderosa pines, and three, above the canopy to the distant Black Hills.

Here are a few sketches thinking through initial concepts (shelter vs exposure, seeing above and below the canopy, framing views), key drawings that we based our lumber counts on and figured out structural components. Also included is the custom bracket detail (Drawn by Charley Umbarger).

It’s one thing to focus on the view and the big picture, and another to pay attention to the smaller details like the lichen thriving here. Zooming in, one notices the brave trees growing through slender cracks in the rock. Four different kinds of lichens and their vibrant colors are specifically sited on different rock faces. Shadows are constantly shifting across the varied surfaces. Trees sway in the breeze, cueing a vertigo feeling if you happen to be leaning on one while standing on the newly leveled surface.

We decided not to build on the very top because anything we build would do little to enhance what is already there. We chose a high rocky gap with a natural and easy to access slope up one side and a lower, corner-wrapping spot that will tie into a future campsite and provide adventurers a platform for rock sitting and scrambling up to a higher view. Each platform gives visitors a new experience that they would not have gotten the chance to experience otherwise.

Here are photos from the first 3 days – actually using our shelters built in 2011, exploring  the site and zooming into our locations, finding the floor height, locating columns, chiseling columns, pouring footings.

We had locals make custom brackets for our tree columns and the rock-to-beam interface. This next series shows the tree columns going vertical (ironic that they were once vertical and now it takes so much energy to get them vertical once again?) We couldn’t have done it without Andy’s help on his various pieces of machinery and extra tools. Beams and joists going in, and the space starts to form. We take a break and go to Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. All this weaving between thunderstorms.

Time is our most challenging constraint (though nature is not far behind!) and we push on to get the finishing touches of the rim boards, scribing the rock for the decking (my personal favorite), railing design and decide how to treat the columns. We run out of time for benches. That could be a whole RAW assignment in itself. See below for the final shots!

I’m looking forward to going back soon to enjoy the space we’ve created!

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Gratitude

October 31, 2015

Change is hard. But gratitude and appreciation make it easier. Here are the latest collage creations for my coworkers before I transitioned into a new job. I think about the personality of each person as I make. It’s a way to guide decision making.

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Latest Makings

November 2, 2014

Here is my latest collection of collaged cards, petite postcards, wallets made from paycheck envelopes…

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Target drawstring saddle cover!

April 2, 2014

Target drawstring saddle cover!

I like the Target plastic bag design, so why not make it into a tailored bike seat cover? It’s also good camouflage for nicer saddles.

Underside view of the drawstring

Underside view of the drawstring

Bearings to Bicycle Bling

January 18, 2014

I admit that I sometimes peer into the trash, out of curiosity. You never know what you can find. I got lucky this particular time, when I spied a collar full of ball bearings – a part of a headset for a bike. My friend thought it was beyond its useful life. Because it is a cool object, I thought there must be some reuse…and sure enough – a necklace fits the bill!

necklace

Bike bearings as bicycle bling

Best of Map Made Cards

January 18, 2014

December was a rather prolific card/art making month. I picked up these maps from a librarian friend, and I, in turn, remade them and gave them to friends. Here are some of my favorites.

topo card

One of my favorites. Tracing topo.

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Mapping and the void

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Rivers and lines

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I love the water lines

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Together and apart

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A Rapha advertisement turned postcard. Front and back shown.

These 10 were donated to a friend's art auction.

These 10 were donated to a friend’s art auction.

 

 

 

 

Cans to Cards

January 18, 2014

My business card holder-making has come back, this time with a Jam Session can from Noda Brewing Company. More to come on this venture!

Jam Session can to card holder

Jam Session can to card holder

Bicycle mechanic tool belt / apron

December 27, 2013

It has been too long since I had a good sewing project, so I leapt at the chance to tackle a request for a bicycle maintenance tool belt/shop apron. As it turns out, there aren’t very many other examples out there, so I did a little of my own customization. Working with a limited selection of fabric colors and weights made it extra fun. There are 7 big pockets, with 10 places to hold Allen keys or other tools/rags. It’s a woven grey now, but won’t be for long. The dirtier the better, because it will be getting used!

Tool belt - laid flat

Tool belt / Apron with 7 large pockets and 10 smaller places to stash Allen keys or other tools.

allen key holder detail

allen key holder detail

mechanic belt stitching detail

Stitching detail

Tool belt

Tool belt

Tool belt demonstration

Tool belt demonstration

the water line

January 22, 2013

the water line

I am interested in showing the presence of something that is absent…I’m also interested in how water lines mark, thinking of this as a mini model of flooding. This, of course, is a more every-day water mark we look right over.

stretched to the end

January 20, 2013

stretched to the end

A friend sent me a picture of the wallet I made him some 3 years ago. He tried to make it last forever. I’d say he did pretty good. I’m really impressed he used it so well. I like to see the things I make wear and travel. I still remember this mesh came from a rice sack from Mexico, found in Illinois. The plastic edging came from a bag found in NYC. The wallet has lived in Iowa.

Thank yous

January 14, 2013

For some reason I really enjoy making thank you cards and postcards. I get into this introspective mood and realize how much there is to be grateful for. I think about the person as I make it (even if I dont know them very well), and somehow that informs my decision making process, in a strange, sub-conscious kind of way. Here are a few of my latest.

Rome + waves

Rome + waves

 

Berlin + waves

Berlin + waves

Stockholm pictures

Stockholm pictures

coy koi, okoy?

January 14, 2013

I need to keep track of the things I make. This particular found-fabric found its way into my latest gift projects quite easily. I started with the apron – for a favorite chef of mine. The vertical piece turns into a towel hook over the koi fish pocket. If you’re into cycling, I was inspired by Rapha’s clothing line off center design.

koi fish apron

koi fish apron

And then I made an all purpose pouch. Friends have turned them into wallets, card holders, places to carry flash drives, phone cases…it’s just fun and versatile.

fish all-purpose pouch

fish all-purpose pouch

And last, but not least, are my koi pot-holders/hot pads. It’s fun covering poorly designed ones with whatever design you want! Plus you get an extra layer of fabric protection….

Potholders / hot pads

Potholders / hot pads

Do you have other ideas you could see with this kind of fabric? I’ve got a little big left….