Thursday, March 29, 2012

IP Weekly Progress -- #23

What I’ve Done:

Saturday: (6 hours) Glued ash splints and built an additional ash frame (for "inside" dome which is the heart and center of the Jelly), applied tissue paper to top dome structure,

Monday: (8 hours) Started folding tissue paper to attach, sealed with tyvek, started folding large petal forms, sketching out creature

Tuesday: (10 hours) Tissue paper attachment, glueing to wood, planning out transportation of installation and thinking about problem solving issues (Listed down below)

Wednesday: (11 hours) Folded tissue paper and continued to attach, cut shapes, experimented with mini modular forms

Thursday: (2 hours) Light testing, made some small paper scales to layer the Jelly, supplies replenished

Friday: (2 hours) Photography


Now that the ash wood armature is completed, the next step was to start folding. I sketched out what I was thinking the creature would look, but as time went on I came across a few challenges with trying to build parts like the tendrils. Because of the limitations paper has when it comes to folding I was forced to make adjustments where I won't get the exact tendril appearance, but with careful thought I can achieve what I want.

What I’ve accomplished/discovered/ encountered:

The part of the inner dome structure that will hold the long tendrils -- I made a wire frame just to see what it would look like.

Small drafts of what I was thinking of making the inside dome portion (The Heart and Brain of the Jelly)

The drawing on the left -- is what I imagined originally, but the right side is an actual sketch of what the installation ended up looking like after starting to work (And some major adjustments because I'm folding paper and therefore I cannot achieve what I want in some cases). In all honestly it looks so much better than the first sketch.

So this week a lot has been accomplished, but there is a ton of problem solving I need to think about:

How to transport the piece from Stamps to the gallery space

how to display and hang it

how to light it and minimalize the visablity of the cords for the florscenct bulbs

keeping the bulb centered inside with fishing line

mutting the brightness of the light inside by covering the bulb with a heat resistant material and maintaining a safe atmosphere

When I get to the gallery and attach the modules together by composing a separate piece that will be torn each time I am required to move my installation. Chances are I will be 85% done and by the time I have to get my work into a gallery space I will have to complete the rest there (Setting up lights, problem solving any electrical issues, hanging, and combining module pieces together)

A scale Lauren Korany placed on top -- an idea I didn't think about until now. Thanks Lauren!

Inside the belly of the beast!

Taken in Half light -- half lit Jelly form.
Light shining on top rather than inside

Lit on the inside with Tyvek covering the lightbulb. The lightbulb is really dense and allows everyone to "see" everything. Let alone it's too bright and allows for no shadows to develop in the folds.

Some other things I've been thinking about is how to display my piece. Rather than have a single installation, I would really like to display my sketches and today in small group it was suggusted that I compose a mini journal with my notes and discoveries found while learning about the Siphonophore and plants I was studying this year. I would scan my sketches, clean them up in photoshop, and print on colored paper (Like brown, cream, or sepia to represent the aged journals early explorers kept when they first explored a new world. Though IP I followed a similar experience and naturally it makes the most sense to document and display my personal research to show how much began to develop a love for mysterious deep sea creatures. I'm thinking about having the Jelly near a window for natural lighting so less light is involved on the inside, but there is something really magical about seeing this creature in a darker space as the major source of light. In the studio light the creature is completely different when lit in a dark room -- and I feel when I reach that point my creature shows it's true intent. It becomes the creature I've been visualizing all year. It's weird, because over the semester I had this "idea," but I wasn't able to completely visualize it. When I sat down and constructed the Jelly creature by folding paper I took my time playing with various types of folding. I never had a set plan because I wanted my imagination to kick in and take over my process -- and right now that is exactly how I feel about the situation.

Possible titles for my piece:

Symbiosis (First choice) -- Spending a year thinking and working alongside my Jellies.

Imagiphora creatutica -- A scientific name of some sort

Evolution of the Imagination

Biological Evolution



Artist's statement:

I'm not sure what I will write, but I want to highlight my experience of growing with this creature for a good portion of the year. I did a ton of research, and even eventually started spending quality time with my creature (Eating next to it, taking a nap under it, reading and sketching near it even if it was completely unrelated) I developed a relationship and love for my Siphonophore so much that I even dreamt about it. We co-exist as human being and creature and though this creature is inspired by Jellies, flora, and deep sea creatures, it is a product of my imagination and an emotional response to nature and it's entirety. Nature is a constant inspiration and I'm amazing at the life products it produces. There is life everywhere and life evolves and expands when it resides in a place unscathed. A large creature is difficult to see in person and even harder to believe when it's an animal that has existed all our lives, but never known it's existance. It's not a bad thing at all however, because the creature is allowed to grow and through it's growth, or evolution, the creature lives a fulfilling life. The evolution of larger body size is that rapid rates of increase that are often seen over relatively short time intervals are not sustainable over much longer time periods. Their existence is a timeline of what nature's true beauty is when untouched.

What I should do next:

KEEP BUILDING! Photoshop sketches and print on nice paper and think of how to display this all together. Lighting problem solving. This is going to get donnnnne!

Friday, March 23, 2012

IP Weekly Progress -- #22

What I’ve Done:

Sunday: (4 hours) Glue Ashwood strips, made ash rings

Monday: (4 hours) Glue Ashwood strips, wove strips of ash wood together, and replenished supplies

Tuesday: (8 hours) continued weaving ash wood strips together

Wednesday: (12 hours) Wooden armature construction until completely finished.

Thursday: (4 hours) Spilt ash wood and reglue/reattach parts and Materials gathered for lighting, cut out tissue paper to cover and DOPE. Quick sketching to plan out the bottom modules of the Jelly.

Quick Vocab:

Top module: The dome, or top of the Jellyfish

Bottom module: The body, or the inside of the Jellyfish that comes out from inside the dome

Tip module: The very end of the body, where it will hold a lot of thin strips of paper tendrils at the very, very end.


I finished the wooden armature, woohoo! Wednesday night I finished the very top and decided that I was going to go ahead and finish the other pieces. By Thursday morning I had finished the entire wooden frame. Next part is thinking about how I will attach the paper and the aesthetic of the “tail” portion. I also need to figure out how to hang this piece in a gallery setting let alone where inside Slusser/WORK.

What I’ve accomplished/discovered/ encountered:

I finished constructing the ash wood armature Thursday morning. I originally stayed up late just to finish the top portion, but I became super motivated just to finish the entire structure. I reallllly wanted to get it done and move on to the next step. I'm really estatic with finishing that part because now the most enjoyable portion of paperfolding comes next. Can't wait!

Right now, after building it the armature looks stiff and immobile, but the beauty of the ash wood is that it’s easy to influence and bend. With fishing line, I plan on bending and pulling the ash hoops so the hoops are no longer a circle, but a realistic organic shape. There are no perfect circles in a lifeform and in order to depict movement better, these hoops shapes will curve and curl inside so if there is a lit source tucked away then the inside will not be perfectly oriented. The light will be present inside the top and down the bottom will be thin enough that small LEDs will be present, but no major source of light will be located down there. The transluscent nature of the tissue paper will be lit naturally -- but I have to make sure there is enough light present inside the gallery space.

Next stage is as follows:

Wiring -- I have the materials, the batteries, the LEDs, the wire, etc. Now that I'm finished with building the structure I can place tissue paper so the LEDs can be placed physically anywhere on the Jellyfish. I wouldn't be forced to place it on the wooden armature, but even the floating space between each ash splint are an option. I probably won't encase the entire structure in tissue paper and just apply it where it needs the absolute most which is the very top portion since it handles a majority of the weight. The bottom modules require little tissue paper inside, but I will cut strips of it to seal the joints of ash wood that meet and strips to placed on top of the fishing line/wiring to prevent them from shifting around inside.

Little hard to read the writing, but on the right is sketches of bending the ash wood to make the sculpture look more organic for the Jellyfish body module. On the left side is how the wiring works. 4 D-cell batteries can provide energy for over 100 LEDS (I'm sure closer to 500) so that would be all the energy I would need! The wiring would be wrapped in strips of paper to bind the two wires (One for positive and negative flow) and combine them as one white line. There are 3 ways of exit points on the sculpture itself and that being 1) the very top of the Jelly, 2) the very end of the tendril trail where the collection of wires would be hidden in a tendril, and 3) slip out from underneath the top of the Jellyfish and mask it as a long and thin tendril.

Lights -- All set here -- now I just need to wire. Rodemer is helping me on Tuesday with this part. I hope to be all done with this portion by Wednesday.

Paper -- I have all the paper in my studio so I'm ready to go. The major thing is that I need to carefully plan how to attach and piece together the folds on the armature itself. There is a thin tissue paper to be wrapped over most of the top portion and some parts of the bottom two modules. Once that is settled, I will fold the final forms over For the top module this will come last. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do from folding a lot this year, but now I to bring everything together as one. I'm capable and confident in my skills of making interesting paper pieces, but I need to carefully plan out the placement of some of these paper pieces should go. The bottom module (Body) holds the most interest since it's the longest and easiest to spot. The dome will be the center piece, but I feel that everyone will spend more time observing the body because of the high amount of detail and many kinds of paper folds will be present on it. The tendrils will start at the middle and collect (Like a cluster of tendrils as one) at the very end split again and I will let them fall naturally.

What I should do next:

Work 10 hours a day. Seriously. This weekend I am planning out the paper folding of the bottom modular portion before I move up top. I’ve focused a great time on the very top and now the very bottom needs major attention. It’s the most simple wooden portion and the paper portion for that section is not quite as planned out. Need to meet with Mark about where hang/how to provide an electrical outlet to light it up.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

IP Weekly Progress -- #21

What I’ve Done:

Sunday: (6 hours) Building the “cage” armature and figuring out optimal structural intergurity, made hoops for the inner structure for tissue paper, glued double ash splints together, properly bind it.

Monday: (6 hours) Glued more double ash splints, formulated bounding methods at joints, sewed tyvek + ash together to bind the top.

Tuesday: (9 hours) Glued double ash splints, added loops on the side of armature (to make it look more like a Jelly), more building of armature. Also met with Rodemer to discuss electrical wiring, LEDs, and florescent lighting purposes

Wednesday: (3 hours) Glued ash wood together and allow drying overnight

Thursday: (6 hours) Finished building the very top of the bell structure, glued ash splints, added wire to the armature for the tissue (To round the bell rather than have the tissue paper flatten) and brushed model airplane DOPE to help stiffen it. Met with Mark in order to figure out where and how to install this creature.


I’ve been really, really, really productive. I’ve spent a good portion of my time on Sunday really figuring out the absolutely best way for this piece to be completely stable. It took a couple of hours of “piecing it” together, but once I found a system I managed to break through and finalize my method of construction. Once I made it over this boundary putting the wood splints together was really, really, easy and I pieced it together fairly quickly. The hardest part of building the armature is over and now I need to do is figure out wiring with Rodemer while I build this creature. I’m whipping it out fairly fast and quite efficiently.

What I have accomplished/discovered

So quite a bit has happened this week:

The underside of the very top of the Jelly. It's really well fortified and the strongest point of the entire installation.

Placing the tissue paper around the ash splint to help strengthen the top of the Jellyfish. It keeps it altogether. Adding the DOPE helps with the tension of the shifting of ash wood.

I did a quick test of the completed dome by stretching and flexing it a few times to make sure it can handle weight. With the wire I'm very sure there will be no problems with strength. I'm extremely happy at my process/progress of the ash wood and from now on I have a newfound love for the material. Paired with the PVC THICK bookbinding glue from Hollander's and staples to reinforce it together they all make this structure unbelievably strong. Building the wooden frame was a little slow at first, but once I had a set plan of how to construct and piece it together it came out very quickly. I'm extremely efficiant in gluing ash splints together and switching to the armature itself once the strips are done drying. I have developed a technique where I paperclip two ash splints together and halfway through drying I make a hoop, paperclip it in place, and let it dry in that shape. Once I take the paperclips off the ash splint naturally curves and makes it extremely flexible and easy to round on the armature.

In terms of lighting this creature -- every week it gets closer and closer to figuring out the technical process of wiring and lighting. Rodemer came into my studio and helped fortify my plan for electrical plan. The LEDs are a great idea to spread along the sides, but I still need a major source of light to help the creature “glow.” I need to slip a cord inside, coat it in white paper wrap to hide, and have a bright white fluorescent light. It's energy efficient and doesn't get hot, which is a normal threat to the DOPE'd tissue paper. Mark asked about the lights that would be present inside and when I mentioned a 110 watt fluorescent light he said that it wouldn't be a problem. So it looks like I'm on track!

The light would hang just on the inside free form from a couple inches of cord, and the LEDs would be sewn onto the tissue paper while the wire rests on top of it like a web. It would look like thin veins, but chances are it won't show because of how thin they are. Instead of using AA batteries I will be using D-cells which generates more power and I can connect more LEDS to a single one. With resisters attached to each LED, it will prevent any random surges of power and overloading.

The place my Jellyfish will hang will be in WORK gallery and fortunately the spot it will be installed is over the stairs leading downstairs. You get to be able to take the creature head on and look from multiple views. Walking up and down the stairs gives you two, separate exeriences and now I have a new challenge to think about: how can I really enhance this space? Chances are after creating the very top of the dome of the Jelly, I will have to transport these in pieces myself just because it will incredibly delicate. Good thing this giant Jelly will be modular!

What I need to do next:

Follow a preset schedule religiously. Every day I will glue ash wood together when I'm not in my studio. Keeping efficient is the name of the game and so far I've done a good job. I have three weeks and I know I can do this as long as I contribute a good amount of hours every day! I need to finish DOPE'ing the tissue paper and attach the second portion of the ash wood armature to it. I'll have to multitask with constructing the actual sculpture and making sure I order and learn the right parts for the LEDs when I meet with Rodemer/Hendrik.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Avatar's James Cameron exploring the Deep Sea -- 1st time in 50 years

The real-life adventure will see Cameron travel 11 kilometres below the ocean's surface, where he will collect research samples for marine biology and geology.

"Well you know Jacques Cousteau used to say, 'If we knew what was there, we wouldn't have to go.' So we have to go because we don't know what's there," Cameron said. "We have a general idea, we know that we're going to see very strange animals like anthropods and holothurians and other kinds of invertebrate, but science can't answer one very basic question. Are there fish? We don't know."

Friday, March 9, 2012

IP Weekly Progress -- #20

What I've done this week:

Saturday: (3 hour) Structure research

Sunday: (2 hours) Sketches

Monday: (2 hours) Acquiring materials

Tuesday: (5 hours) Material tests finalizing structure

Wednesday: (2 hours) Preparing ash wood by soaking for the next day, LED tutorials, eletrctical tutorials,

Thursday: (5 hours) Constructing ash wood hoops and thinking about how to incorporate it into current paper pieces now. Sewing and gluing it inside the current paper pieces made and thinking about how to attach the new paper pieces on top.

Friday: (2 hours) Blog update.


A little bit of testing and figuring out the absolute best way to utilize and exercise the material. I measured the size of the paper sculpture top and stuck a reed inside. I glued it, but I need to reinforce it with sewing too. Luckily the Tyvek paper can take the tension due to the fiberious material, but I feel the armature might expand and push against the material more than I originally thought after doing this. With the tissue paper I fear any pressure may tear it so I have to a layer of tissue paper around it covered with DOPE, then add the actual layer of tissue paper by sewing it loosely to the DOPE'ed tissue. I have really thought about all the problems I will encounter on the way, but I have great sources like Jan-Hendrik to help. I should be OK.

What I accomplished/discovered/learned:

After talking with Jan-Hendrik he gave me some great advice about material use and what to do with the construction of the project. This is a finalized version of what and how to do it. This is an incredibly dense post, but placing all this information together is incredibly helpful for my thinking.

For the past two weeks (This week and a little over Spring Break) I worked on the engineering portion of the armature.

The basic breakdown of the armature is as follows:

1) Creating a “cage” armature collaborating ash wood, wire, PVC glue, and tyvek material to bind the wood to the tyvek. The ash wood are long reeds used for basketry, but have a great amount of strength to them. The size I received is 1/2" White Ash 1/42" thick and 80' coils. The strips are long and therefore a little weak on it’s own, but once I soak them in water for a couple of minutes and begin to twist them into a circle they become a lot sturdier. However I have learned that I needed to glue together two strips of ash wood together to make the circle’s “retain” its shape. When soaking it the wood swells and suddenly condenses which is why it becomes stronger (It curls like paper when it dries basically), but wobbles a little too much when in action. I brushed THICK PVC glue on the inside and used paper clips and clothing pins to bind them together to glue for a couple of hours. Once it dried the circular shape held in place.

2) Applying wire inside the ashwood to give it additional strength and hold it better in place by using 16 gauge wire. Now it cannot sway nearly as easily. However, the armature itself isn’t meant to be completely immobile, but rather handle a little movement.

3) The cage appearance is simple, but large and delicate. Resembles the simple “cage” shape some jellies have:

4) Tissue paper will be layered right over the ash wood structure to help keep the ash wood together. Using DOPE, which is known for model airplane and cars, it petrifies the tissue paper so it can handle wind resistance and prevent tearing.

5) The armature is the “core” meant to hold the paper in place and prevent it from caving within itself. There are small sprigs of ash wood extending off it to help. An additional benefit to this is there will be some slight wobbling which can be a plus to allowing natural movement in the jelly. However, when I begin to add this portion, after the cage is done I may have to incorporate wire. This will be by a case-by-case basis.

Outside aesthetic portion:

1. There are two structures: Tyvek, the bell or top and the tissue paper, the bottom tendrils. Jan has suggested that I treat this like a modular piece. I’m keeping it simple and treat this as a two-part modular. When the core is done, how it’s incorporated inside is also two parts that can be unhooked from each other.

2. The paper on the outside, showing the folds will be glued and sewed on top of each other. Ash wood will be sticking from the inside to keep it from caving. The rings of ash wood will be the actual source of structure.

Rodemer happened to walk by and asked what I was doing. I explained to him I was using ash wood as my armature structure and he mentioned doubling up on the ash wood. So I brushed on PVC on one side and used paper clips to keep the wood together while it dried. Loved these spontaneous moments when a professor walks by!

How it will be hung is by fishing line. It's invisable, thin, and best of all, STRONG. I may ge the braid version just for additional integrity. I will need a ton of line to hold all of this together. The very top of the Jelly I have here is baring a lot of weight since the ash wood that will be perpendicular to the hoops will meet at the very tip. There might be quite a bit of weight, which is why a good amount of support with the fishing line needs to be there.


3. This is a little more complicated just because of the wires. The wires will remain inside a tendril that will hide them and the battery packs will be hidden either inside or just outside cleverly covered in paper.

4. The LEDs are attached to the ash wood and the wire will run along the cage.

5. The LEDs will be attached by glue/tape. If it was at all possible I would poke holes through the Ash Wood, but it might be too much additional work because it threatens splitting the wood grain if forced.

6. The lights will be strategically placed in an organized line rather than placing them everywhere. With the smaller LEDs there is no chance of burning the paper.


Fortunately, the process to light this is easier with LEDs because they are small, easy to attach, and easy to wire. I will need to make sure to color code the negative verse the positive and be clever about assigning bare copper wire to the negative and plastic coated wire to the positive. The reason for this is to prevent it from shorting out. Of course I need to figure out the math between voltage allowed per battery pack. Either stick with AA packs of batteries, small watch batteries, or a large mega battery. To ensure that the wires do not come off the battery I will have to soldier it on -- though this is considered dangerous.

Watch battery and the LED light being duct taped to it.

This is an inspirational mechianism someone made on the internet to figure out how to wire and switch it on and off. It's a clever way to think about hiding the battery and wires.

Tutorials I’m using: -- Super complex, but good for the artistic soul. -- Putting DOPE on tissue paper application. I opened the jar and it's extremely strong that it causes breathing problems. I need to do this outside rather than in a vent.

Example of someone making a model airplane.

Problems that can arise and to think about:

Armature -- The ash wood might not hold nearly as well when I make the entire piece. Though right now it seems to be working out, I cannot imagine just how it will act altogether.

Lighting -- my major concern is the wiring might not work. I practiced earlier in the year, but when I have several LEDs might change. The battery might not supply enough power, might short out, etc.

Hanging -- When I hang it on it's side, will it retain it's shape?


Take all precautions on armature, glue, sew, and STAPLE. Hang fishing line on both armature inside AND paper sculpture on the outside. LED wiring -- get advice from trusted sources like Rodemer, Jan-Hendrik, and an electrical engineer friend.

What I need to do next:

Build the structure, continue making ash wood hoops. Fold paper around the reed hoops and construct it together in a modular setting.