So, Vincent designed this one shortly before the studio moved to Michigan. We've built two of these so far - but you can see Vincent's progress below.
Size: 76"h x 16"w x 12"d
Concept sketches: February 2016
Solid models: September 2016
Materials: Solid Maple, Maple & Birch Plywood, Laser Engraved Clock Face, Glass Face Cover, Clock Movement, Stains, Paints, Clear-coats, and Nickel Knob
The following documents the design process of the clock to date.
Solid Modeling (Revision No.4) - Still refining... or wrestling, rather.
Okay, I've been wrestling with this guy. I spent a few hours refining proportions again and I think I've recaptured some of the original "willowiness" of the original sketches. Once I'm done with a piece's design, I usually forget this part... but sometimes a piece takes some real cajoling to make it shine. It's crazy how big of an overall effect 1/2" here and a 1/2" there can have on a piece. I also forget how important it is to set aside a piece sometimes. I get too close to my designs sometimes... and a little break helps me see them with a fresh eye. I'd like to say I'm finished with the form... but I'm not so sure yet. (Don't see a big difference? I'm narrowing in on the final design which is when it's my job to get obsessive!)
Solid Modeling (Revision No.3) - Placing parts & fine tuning
I'm in the home stretch with the solid model. I'm happy with the overall form and now I'm working on the arduous task of designing and placing every single piece of the clock. Every slot, hole, clearance, and angle has to be carefully designed so the final design is buildable. It truly takes longer to design a piece than it does to actually make!
Solid Modeling (Revision No.2) - Continuing refinement.
One of my personal design quirks is that I tend to sketch pieces too narrow. I don't know why, but I've learned that I have to widen pieces when the pass from sketch to reality. They end up looking a bit gaunt otherwise. So, this is when I thank the sketches for their contribution and then move on to engineering the piece in earnest.
Solid Modeling (Revision No.1) - Starting the journey from concept to reality.
Back in the old days, I used to use an opaque projector to shine my sketches onto a piece of thin plywood. I'd trace out the design as carefully as possible. Then I'd use a jigsaw to cut the pattern out and sanders to smooth it out as much as possible. It's easy to look back wistfully, but I certainly would not go back.
Today, I use a solid modeling program. This allows me to "build" the piece virtually. All of the design/construction problems that used to pop up on the first few prototypes now pop up in the virtual prototypes. It's a lot of work to model a piece properly, but the result it a piece that is designed correctly. (Bonus: it also means we can 3-D print a miniature version!)
This is still of process of refining and often times the first passes at the design are just simply not right. It took about 7 months of ruminating to take this step on this piece. This design has a few tricky areas that I wasn't sure how to solve. Sometimes, it just needs to sit in the little gray cells between my ears for a while.
Sketch No.8 - Refining the idea... time to render.
Here. This is my concept. I'm happy with this design concept. But, really and truly, it's still just a concept. A sketch on paper does not end the design work. It's time to begin the journey from concept to reality.
Sketch No.7 - A workable concept.
At this phase, my engineering brain is beginning it's partnership with my artistic brain. Shapes must be pleasing... but they also have to be buildable! I balance design goals with construction techniques. There is no point in designing something that can't actually be built Balancing is so intrinsic to my work that I don't consciously think about it... it just naturally happens.
Sketch No.6 - Still working on it...
In this sketch, I'm working to place proportions and angles and lines. This is an art & design process. How do my eyes flow on the design? Does it have a clear start and resolution? How to the asymmetric elements balance? How does the movement of the piece flow?
Sketch No.5 - Getting comfortable with the concept...
Once the design concept appears, I start to refine the idea. This is really still exploration. Once I have a concept I like, I still have to play around with the design. It helps me become familiar with the design concept and clarifies it in my mind. But the process is very much 2 steps forward and 1 step back.
Sketch No.4 - There it is! There's a concept!
First discovering a working concept is very exciting. It's like finding that rare plant you were searching for in the woods. It doesn't appear as a finished concept, but it does give direction and purpose to the design work.
Sketch No.3 - Still searching, but getting closer...
Often, as I sketch, a concept surfaces and that core design concept starts to reappear in my sketching. That core concept is what becomes the essential "spirit" of the piece.
Sketch No.2 - Still searching for a concept...
The hunt doesn't always start productively. But I've learned to be patient. I take time to explore concepts that I don't actually like, because it's the act of exploration that leads to the new design. In the process of looking, a concept starts to form.
Sketch No.1 - Searching for a concept...
When I start designing a piece, it's sort of like hunting through the woods to find a certain rare plant. You have to wander around, look in places you might expect to find it, check around rocks & trees... but mostly you have to keep your eyes wide open. I don't start with a design concept, I start by looking!