Cactus Fever

Hybrid Materialities

Starting with hybrid materialities, I was really interested in the idea of combining old and new techniques to create something a bit different. I explored the idea of laser cutting a surface of wood onto which I could then embroider patterns. I looked at making an object, originally starting off with the idea of a lampshade and then moving onto more of a plant pot, where I could combine a number of embroidered wooden panels.

I created two plant pots as shown. The first with finger joints was done by adding one at a time as I stitched along the top end and then the bottom, to then fill it with a simple pattern or rings around it or red and white. Using the stitches along with the finger joints when fitted correctly, ended up creating a surprisingly strong piece.

The second pot was done by individually embroidering a pattern on each panel to then be joined at the end. Due to an error, only seven panels of the octagon were printed, so I decided to make a feature oft the missing one by adding a touch of the more traditional with a more complex embroidery with hand drilled holes. Although initially meant to be glued together, the panels were again stitched to one another with a contrasting purple to make a feature of the joints.Again, the design proved to be much sturdier than initially expected, demonstrating the value of more traditional craft methods in combination with new techniques.

  

Scaffolding glitches

Inspired by the pots done previously, I wanted to make some cacti. This project looked at use of Gcode, support structures and glitches, where I was inspired by the work of Emerging Objects and their Gcode.clay where they use a series of controlled errors to create intricate interesting forms.

I wanted to print a cactus and its spikes with support and without, so the intention would be to have the unsupported spikes droop and create something new.

Unfortunately as can be seen the spikes were designed far too short, so support structure wasn’t actually needed, however an error occurred anyway with the second print, leading it to be unfinished with a mess of extruded filament on top – an error very akin to a cactus with a flower on top. However, I tried another design which required more scaffolding, with the succulent as shown.

 

Parametric design

Using computational design in order to create design families by altering dimensions through a set of generative parameters. Again carrying on the theme explored so far, I looked at creating a base cactus that could be altered to create a family of them – squatter, thinner, spikier, longer spikes, etc. Allowing a decorative series to be created from a single initial setup.

Using Solidworks and design tables, I initially tried to alter dimensions of a complex cactus design, however the resulting iterations didn’t show much change in the design. So I took it back to basics by working with lofted rectilinear shapes and by applying alterations to certain features at a time I gained a far better understanding of how the design tables worked. Slowly, through experimentation I moved back to creating cacti, the end result being quite successful, albeit without any thorns.

Final Artifact

The three different explorations of material and technique came together very well in the end. Combining the previously created elements, the final piece was a potted cactus garden.