Our recent trip to Roanoke and the Taubman Museum have really made me start to focus on the design of a city rather than solely the individual design of each building.  I used to overlook how a city fits together until we explored Roanoke.  Roanoke is such an ecclectic mix of buildings and design but somehow it all fits together.  I now look at the interaction of building materials, proportion, scale, pattern, etc of buildings near each other as well as of the city as a whole.

Rediscovering models

In preparation for our final desk exhibition, I have been going back and redoing models that have deteriorated or were not precise.  After remaking a few models I have learned that chipboard is not a durable or long lasting material.  The models I remade are much cleaner and sturdier. I also learned about the construction of my models that have deepened my understanding of the material and how the pieces fit together.  By remaking my models I think I have obtained a better grasp for design and it’s never ending endeavors.

12″ x 12″ box

We have been tasked with constructing a box or envelope type container to hold our 12″ x 12″ color studies.  I contemplated how I wanted to approach this project and decided that I would construct a wooden box because of the durability and longevity of the material.  I considered other mediums such as foam core, bristol, and chipboard but ultimately decided that wood would be the best decision for me.  The material really does affect the craft of the finished product.  To me, this project really demonstrates attention to detail and overall craftsmanship.  I chose maple as my wood type because it is a harder would that will not chip as easily as oak and has a unique grain pattern.  I struggled with the dimensions because I did not originally connect the dots that the box would have to be slightly larger than 12″ x 12″ in order to hold 12″ x 12″ paper, but I think I have resolved that issue by creating a pattern and lining it with a border.  My box is almost complete and I am excited to see how the finished product turns out!


Projects that involved using the woodshop used to be pretty intimidating for me, but recently, I have felt more comfortable using the tools and machines available to us.  After our cube exploration in the woodshop, I have gained a greater understanding of the machines and when it is appropriate to use each one.  I think the only way to feel more comfortable and gain a stronger understanding of the table saw, sliding table saw, planer, etc. is to go into the shop and use them whether it be on a scrap piece of wood or on a project.

Water Colors

Water colors are a tricky medium.  I discovered through our project to create a color wheel through artificial color how hard it is to mix red, yellow, and blue to get secondary and tertiary colors.  I discovered that using the palette of water colors isn’t accurate when mixing colors because it is very difficult to reproduce and mix evenly.  Water color tubes proved to be much more accurate in mixing colors because I could control how much of each color was added before distilling it with water.  Green also proved to be a challenging color to create because blue dominates yellow, so finding the right combination of the two proved difficult especially while preserving the brightness.  Another discovery I made was the effect of a white background compared to a black background. I found that the black background actually brought out the vibrancy of the colors rather than making the dark colors feel darker like I originally thought.  In comparison, the white background kind of washed out the colors in my opinion.

Wood Joints

I never realized how many different options there were to join two pieces of wood other than a butt joint.  After our technical drawing discussion, Martha mentioned that we need to consider how the butt joint would affect or detract from the hierarchy and focus of the cube and also that it is one of the weakest joints.  This didn’t occur to me that I had this corner construction issue until I talked to Mark in the woodshop.  He asked me how I was planning on joining the corner and I thought wood glue was the answer, but he said that it wouldn’t be very effective because it would have opposing wood grains glued together.  Mark suggested that I look at the Joinery book by Gary Rogowski in the shop.  I found so many different options and possibilities that would be sturdy and effective in connecting two long-grain pieces.  I would definitely recommend spending some time looking at the book but in the mean time here is are the scanned pages of the table of contents with the name and image of each type of joint.
Wood joints

Wire as a material

Each material holds a form differently than another.  Wire and metal are technically the same material, but why do they react so differently to being manipulated?  Working with 22 gauge sheet metal is nothing like using 22 gauge wire.  They don’t hold right angles the same or provide the same amount of stability and structure.  Making a cube out of sheet metal is easier in a sense because each piece that is cut out will hold its shape.  Bending sheet metal is much harder to do compared to bending a wire.  After working with wire to suggest a 6 inch cube, I’ve discovered just how frustrating it is.  Wire doesn’t hold a straight line perfectly or a right angle.  After trying to bend wire into a perfect angle or even replicate the same angle multiple times, I’ve gained a better understanding of characteristics of wire and when it is and isn’t the ideal material for a design.


Every material has a different texture, effect, and reaction to folds, bends, and cuts; but I never really thought of a material as design itself. Bristol reacts to a fold entirely differently than regular computer paper, and cardboard and chipboard have different levels of stability in terms of which will support more weight or what will hold its shape.  I knew material choice was an important decision leading towards the overall success or failure of a design, but it didn’t really hit me until I was given the choice of what material I wanted to use.  It really made me think when I started to look at the differences between each material how much it truly impacts the design.  Materiality is an element of design that affects the principles of design.  Choosing a material will no longer be a minor decision, but one with many itterations in different materials to experiment with how it impacts the overall design.