Updating the checklist

  1. Assemble Diorama #7 (it's built and painted, but in pieces)
  2. ***I set it up with lights today and I was surprisingly happy with it. It's a recreation of the bedroom from scene 1, but when I did a simple lighting test with just the bed, Balder, the Sphinx, and the map in it, it looked way better than when I added the replicated toy chest, chair, and bookcase from the first scene. Without those elements, it had that "just moved into the house" feel, which is more or less what I'm going for in the final scene. And the lights look good; I'm very happy. No pics, I didn't bring the camera....

  3. Clean up dioramas (with paper mache)
  4. ***(They still need painting)
  5. Put in the order for vinyl lettering at Kolossos
  6. Build the frames (I have decided to use mat board; Michael's framing is too expensive and I didn't like the frames, and any self built wood frame will not have a smooth enough look or a crisp bevel to it. Matboard isn't the fanciest thing ever, but its simple and subtle, and that's what I need.)
  7. Wire as many of the lights as possible in prep for installation next week.


Tasks to complete before leaving for Big Tens...

  1. Assemble Diorama #7 (it's built and painted, but in pieces)
  2. Clean up dioramas (with paper mache)
  3. Put in the order for vinyl lettering at Kolossos
  4. Build the frames (I have decided to use mat board; Michael's framing is too expensive and I didn't like the frames, and any self built wood frame will not have a smooth enough look or a crisp bevel to it. Matboard isn't the fanciest thing ever, but its simple and subtle, and that's what I need.)
  5. Wire as many of the lights as possible in prep for installation next week.


Diorama #6

...The tests for the lake/ cliffs scene happened tonight. I know I said I wasn't going to post more photos, but I had the time to take a couple of shots and I'm too excited not to share one of them.

The light scheme for #6:
-Red LED Bar
-Yellow LED Bar
-Orange and Blue Spot on the Jester
-Orange dim spot on the boy
-Flickering lantern
-Lightning flashes (maybe)

It's incredible how much the lighting can totally change the surface and feel of a piece... it makes me wish I had more time to tinker and experiment, even though I'm happy with what I've tested so far....

Two more lighting tests to go, numbers 5 and 7. The difficult ones....


Light Tests - Forest

Tested diorama number 3 today (the forest). I think I'm going with the following:

1. Yellow light bars for ambience
2. Blue LEDs for additional ambience (from the other side)
3. White spot LED

I also practiced putting all the toy stuffing on the top/ sides of the forest, and it looked pretty good. The window itself is a bit too low (how did I measure wrong?!) but not disastrous by any means.... I might be able to raise the viewing window or just make do with how it is now without too much hassle.


Lighting Tests Begin

Wall Pieces (stacked, you can see one of the cutouts). The shelves are tables, at least temporarily, to make for easier moving while I do tests.

Testing the lights on diorama #4.

This may be one of my last photo updates before I post about the installation itself on April 5th. You'll just have to wait and see the final product (April 12th is my deadline).

In short, I have all wall pieces built, holes cut out, and shelves built. I did light tests for diorama #4 today. I quickly discovered that there are so many possibilities for lights. The piece looked good with blues, oranges, yellows, and even blue+orange lights (the combination added a nice variety to the surfaces)....

I think that I'm gonna go with the following setup, though:

1. Red LED light bar, from bottom front (ambience)
2. Violet + White LED on the center tapestry
3. Orange LEDs on the 4 smaller tapestries
4. Warm White LED spots on the two characters

^I need to have a plan like this for all 7. Right now, I have lighting plans for the 1st, 2nd, and now 4th dioramas, so 4 more to go.... I actually feel ahead of schedule? This is weird, but at the same time I feel behind because I have so many choices to make about how to finish up many of the pieces.

***This may be too many lights to create an effective focal point, so I am either going to wire the red LED bar to a potentiometer or cut segments off, or put the potentiometer on the orange lights. We'll see....

Enough talk. Back to work-


Wall Building

All of the frames are built for the wall sections and I have two frames attached to drywall as of tonight. My goal is to put the rest of the drywall on tomorrow and have the shelves cut and installed by Sunday night.

Then lighting tests happen from 3/22 to 3/30.

Then I go to Big Tens until 4/4.

Then installation in the gallery from 4/5 till I leave for NCAAs (4/12).

Then I'm finished.

Still tinkering with lighting when I'm at home, finishing up Diorama #7 and details on the other 6, and starting to explore the presentation of the installation (frames/ vinyl lettering)

Picture updates tomorrow, I think.


Quick Updates

Two important things happened today:

1. I bought all of the drywall and lumber. That was a huge hurdle, and thankfully it didn't rain at all while I was transporting the materials (I had bought tarp to cover it just in case).

2. I found code to make an LED pulse off the arduino chip (using a digital rather than analog input, no less). After some tinkering with the code, I think I found pulse cycles that will fit in with some of my scenes....


Thesis Work

...I spent some time tonight editing my thesis. The biggest change was switching it over to InDesign, giving it a 2 column layout, and adding pictures. I like the layout much better now and it's easier to manipulate than it was in Word (which dealt horribly with image placement....)


Bought a fluorescent tube + fixture today. I think I've got the circuitry figured out, I just don't want to electrocute myself now.

Also, here's a digital sketch of the wall I'm building, side view and front view (brown= wood, navy= dioramas, yellow= cutout windows, and the transparencies indicate the drywall sheets).

...It has to sit outside for another few hours while the epoxy dries. Luckily, it's nice out today.

The epoxy hardened pretty well! Not as smooth surfaced as I intented, but the water's kind of got a churned black-mud salt marsh feel to it (especially the way the black climbs up the edge of the island a little bit, it looks like tar.) I'll take it-



(If only the resin would harden looking like this, but it doesn't....)

Well my first post-spring break hack at my project is shaping up to be a disaster. The ventilated fume hood area of the plaster room is apparently not ventilated enough for my Casting Resin that I'm using for the 6th diorama, and after getting chewed out by the studio coordinator for not having a plan (I thought I did have one, but apparently I underestimated its 'neurotoxicity'!) I'm leaving it to dry in the plaster room, which means I've got to move it before students come in and knock the thing to pieces.

Not only that, but the resin isn't even doing what I want it to. Despite sealing off the foam base with thick acrylic paint, it's still finding its way through the base, eating away at the foam, curing consequently on an uneven surface, and generally during this cliff piece into an outright disaster.


Back in town....

We took a red eye back from San Francisco, leaving at 11pm and getting into Ann Arbor at 7AM. I'm not really sure where the separation between Thursday and Friday was over the past 24 hours - I felt like I was doing a Floor routine 5 minutes ago in California, and now I'm staring at my computer screen with that thick feeling between your eyes that comes with fatigue. And somehow, the day's only just begun....

Gymnastics is like an accelerated version of my creative process as an artist, I've come to realize. Much the same way this semester has been a roller coaster in studio, this past week was a roller coaster of its own in the gym. I went from highs - hitting my floor and vault routines in our meet against Stanford - to lows - our team losing by 9 points - back to highs - earning my first (and likely only) Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honor, and landing my harder vault in practice - back to lows - falling on the next 5 vaults in a row, botching a floor routine, and finding myself unable to vault decently at all on Thursday.

I have days where I'm "on" with my gymnastics and days where I'm "off." The same happens with art making. I set goals in gymnastics on a day to day basis, much the same way I set weekly goals in studio. Some aspects of my training are rigid, while others are organic and spontaneous (just like art making, etc etc, you get the idea).

Successes and failures come with each, but I feel like in Gymnastics these come at the speed of lightning, while in art they come like the slow movements of the tides.

Enough writing. Can you tell I'm loopy and just rambling on? Hopefully I'll get into studio later today, check on everything, and get back to the grind... once I wake up a little more....


Tree Tops

So I bought this toy stuffing material for $5, and it looks incredible (in my opinion) as foliage/ mist for the forest. It's light, clumps together, stays in place, can be lit from within, and provides the perfect kind of atmosphere for the scene. Sweet.