Sunday, 23 September 2012

Modular Structures

The Autumn Material Knowledge term started on Monday 10th September by exploring modular building. This is an easy way to construct quickly and can utilise multiples of existing and found objects or you can create your own.

When browsing for materials for this session I was immediately drawn  to some contrasting blocks of plasticine. My inner child squealed with delight at the prospect of handling this wonderful material again and my artist educator agreed that this was a practical choice that could be applied to a broad range of projects, ages and abilities. This childhood classic allows a tactile 3D experience with minimal mess and comes in a great range of colours showing the movement of the makers hand embedded in the object.

I rolled 21 white balls and 21 black balls to begin with and using cocktail sticks to join them together started assembling. I recommend using a board so that projects can be easily transported to safe storage. I had no fixed idea of what I was going to make when the basic framework of a chair appeared.

I could easily take this idea  and explore designing a whole range of modular furniture for practical use. Flat-pack furniture need not reside at the lower end of consumer design as there are many things to celebrate including interaction, interchangeability and the eco-friendly way that it is transported using minimal space for packaging. However this quickly evolved into a small scale sculptural piece.

Apparently a very similar technique using marshmallows and dried spaghetti sticks is used in schools to see who can build the tallest tower in design classes!

I am very glad to say that we had our first community centre user join us for this session who, along with one of our artist educators looked a duplicating a modular paper origami design.

Working alongside each other, our centre user and artist educator learned how to make the individual components with one sticking to a replica of the original and the other scaling up the project with the idea of producing a collaborative piece of work with a class of approximately 30 primary school children.

By using modular units and a bigger scale, collaboration is built into the technique and a large piece of work can be produced. There is also a positive message of each individuals contributuion being important to create a greater whole being taught and experienced.

This session is directly informing this artist educator in helping to devise and practice sessions for the classroom which is one of the core reasons for it taking place.

Another of our artist educators was inspired by a found object to figure out how it may have been constructed and with a good deal of concentration and experimentation produced a very pleasing prototype by the end of the class.

The next session will take place on Monday 08th October 6-8pm @ St Luke's Art Studio, Level 2, 90 Central Street, EC1V 8AJ.

We will be continuing with the Modular Structures theme so please bring cardboard, paper and/or collected found units such as bottle tops with you for use.

Alternatively, if you wish to work on a personal project in this social and informal environment then please feel free to bring your own activity and a mind to share.

No comments:

Post a Comment