Day 45 – Insides

So much of my personal interests are directly connected to the mind; the space that lays behind two eyes, between two ears, and above one mouth.

[I was sort of lucky having to take an x-ray of my face because I get sick. The pattern is from my window cover.]

Beaded Prayer

My school has an amazing habit of setting up all these interesting workshops and lectures through out the year. Though towards the end of the semester I didnt have time to make it to even the lectures I really wanted to hear, on the second day after we flew back from Amsterdam I attended a workshop that I had signed up for weeks earlier. Honestly I was surprised I had the energy, but it was really worth it. The workshop was by the Beaded Prayer Project.

The name of the Project comes from the shared etymology of the words “bead” and “prayer.” In Old English, biddan, from which “bead” is derived, means “to ask” or “to pray.” The concept for creating packets with potent contents was inspired by traditions among different peoples from Africa and the African Diaspora.

In this workshop we were given pieces of fabric, bits of string, and some beads. Each person wrote a prayer on a square of paper, placed it in the fabric, and stitched it up with string and beads. After walking around the gallery a few times I decided I wanted to make something really special, and I wanted to play with the properties of fabric (yup, my materials class was always on my mind). Anyway, I knew I wanted to make something out of an Origami fold, but what? When I wrote my prayer, realized it was mostly about achieving inner peace and happiness, and so I decided it had to be a crane (which is a symbol for happiness in wisdom).

We only had 45 minutes to put our prayers together (did I mention we had to make two? One for ourselves, and one for them? though we could keep both or give both).. had I known how long it took to fold and sew each fold I may not have done it.. thank God for ignorance.. In the end everyone in my group got to hang our prayers on the same wall.. it felt nice having my prayer mix with everyone esles. And the whole process of setting down to sew was very calming.. I really enjoyed it.. hope they come back next year 🙂

M&M + Design Studio Two

As part of the second half of my Design Studio Two future design prototype project I redesigned a familiar childhood toy. I don’t want to say anything else about it because I should have filmed people interacting with it before spring break, but I ran out of time.. and I don’t want to give away the main idea before I’ve asked people to play with it. Luckily Tom Modeen saved the day by letting my take stills of him interacting with it so I could have something to use in my presentation to the class. I think Paolo wants to kill me because I keep producing some pretty neat ideas, but then by the time I’m done working them out and putting them together my presentations suck.. I have one last chance to redeem myself in his class.. This time all the other classes will be put on hold for his class because I am super excited to get this idea worked out so I can finally see what people think about it.

For the Materials and Methods class we had to use paper pulp and an LED light to create anything we wanted. I actually got really stuck on this project, I found the paper to be extremely uninspiring for some reason. Their critique was that I was the only student who didn’t show off the qualities of paper and how it can interact with light.. I totally agree.. at least they said it had great balance as a piece.. I’m thinking of taking Ban’s sculpture class if he is offering it next year..

Know Your Jinn

Well, here it is.. my first MFA project..

In my fabrication class we were supposed to learn how to use the laser cutter and the vinyl cutter while producing an installation piece for the lab. I really wanted to try something I had never done before, so I drew up all sorts of crazy installation ideas, but nothing really seemed like my work. In the end I did what I always do and looked at my surroundings for inspiration. One of my closest friends was telling me how their mom had been attacked by Jinn in their house. This friend went on to tell me that they bought a pigeon that is supposed to eat the Jinn as protection for the family. The whole situation really made me think about our culture.. and being surrounded by westerners everyday I wondered how odd it would be to talk to them openly about what my friend was going through.. so I decided to start a Jinn awareness campaign to help expats understand our culture better. The image above is the installation I made for our lab, its supposed to be minimalistic (the bird has Surat AlKursee etched on it for protection against the Jinn). Click here to see the stickers from the awareness campaign hanging all over VCUQ.

I know the project is kind of quirky, but it was really nice to step away from what I normally do.

Some fun things that have come from the project include seeing images of my stickers as chat icons for various students, being told that some students are freaked out by the campaign, and finally being approached by a colleague to possibly work with them on an illustration book.

MakerBot Makes

Yesterday we took our MakerBot for a test drive. It wasn’t until we actually ran the MakerBot did we realize how appropriate it was to choose to print Yoda. Apparently the MakerBot makes all these crazy beeping noises as it works, and it sounded just like R2D2 while it builds. As you can see we had a few technical difficulties from the get go, starting with our raft not printing because the plastic wasn’t being fed into the nozzle by the motor. Once we worked out the motor issues everything seemed to go well until the barring fell out and the whole platform started to shake, we quickly fit it back in but it fell out several times during the build. Finally we were getting pretty excited to see Yoda almost fully built then the computer crashed.. we tried to reboot and resume the print but it was getting late and we decided to just start fresh today. Wish us luck.

“Neither Here Nor There”

The lovely people over at Confashions From Kuwait have posted images from their trip to see the Neither Here Nor There art exhibit that is going on at Dar AlFunoon until May 19th. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to stop by before the show ends, but now I plan to definitely stop by. Amazing photos, Confashions.