Hello Hi Reader,
Welcome to my second blog post! During the past two weeks, I have gained a lot more insight into woodworking and the design process that comes before you even start touching the tools. During the past two weeks, I was able to meet with my mentor once via. Video calls and consistently exchanging ideas through a team’s channel. During my meeting with my mentor, we discussed potential projects that we may tackle and solidified on a starting project. Let’s hop into it.
The first project I am going to be tackling to enhance my understanding of the tools, safety, and project design is a Birdhouse. We thought this project was suitable because the product itself was fairly digestible and allowed me to work on various technical skills by using a variety of tools. The techniques that are going to be learned may involve anything as simple as a saw to more advanced bent wood lamination. Furthermore, aside from learning how to operate the tools, we will need basic safety knowledge and project design. For the past two weeks, we have been working hard on the project design portion of the project.
Project design is essentially the design of the project before anything is created. Careful project design can result in fewer mistakes made, less wasted materials, and an overall better product. One of the key topics discussed with my mentor and I was creating a parti. Parti is a word meaning the main, the basic, or central concept, commonly used in architectural design. For the birdhouse, every aspect of the design will revolve around the parti, and everything should connect back to satisfy the parti. In the words of my mentor: “it is the main thing you are trying to achieve with your product”. Through research and creative exploration, I have investigated a potential fungi-shaped birdhouse. This was a result of first, researching the local bird species around our area and looking into their nesting seasons, where they like to nest, their nesting requirements, and many other baselines. After the requirements of the bird is set, I looked into creative aspects of the house and explored potential forms that both satisfied the requirements of the bird’s habitation as well as took into consideration how the house aesthetically blends in or stands out with its environment.
This concept will be looked into further this week, challenged from different perspectives, picked at for flaws, and adjusted or even abandoned if necessary. The parti is extremely important because it holds the meaning for the whole project together.
I hope to solidify on a potential parti and refine it down so we are ready to move into plans and more technical designing around the parti. If time allows, we may even start looking towards locations, materials, and many other factors that are required before any building starts.
Now, a little more about my mentor. He gained experience in woodworking merely from self-interest and picked it up by self-learning. He notes himself that he may not do many of the things the “traditional way” and I admire that. He notes himself that: “I just want to keep on learning, especially with the internet, it’s super easy to learn it yourself”. Furthermore, he does have a degree in Architecture, one of the main reasons why I was first interested in woodworking. Having multiple ways of expressing one’s idea can make one more competent in Architecture. This may mean knowing how to woodwork, or even how to sculpt, etc. Throughout this experience, not only have I gained a lot of knowledge about woodworking and developing partis’, but I have also gained nuggets of wisdom for creativity in general. One of which includes letting loose of preconceived notions and experimenting in the early stages. While creating my parti, he notes that sketching is a good way, the sketches don’t have to be detailed, but they allow you to imagine and constantly explore new forms and ideas. It is a matter of trial and error and eventually bumping into an idea that just “clicks”.
While learning from my mentor, I observed a style in his teaching that made it very easy for me to grasp the concepts, especially with creative teaching. He frequently SHOWS me examples of the ideas he is discussing and uses visuals and props, examples and situations to help me have context for the topics. I believe CONTEXT is extremely important since it helps students anchor down the ideas. For Example! He sometimes picks up a creation he created and discusses how it was made, or sketches something on his notepad and expands on the idea using visuals. These little nuggets of context provide a way deeper understanding of the concepts.
I hope you have enjoyed my quick update on my progression through the wild journey of woodworking/design. I hope you can take away something from both the topics I discussed and segments of my mentor’s insight. I hope to see you here again next time and hopefully, I will be able to show you some plans!
All the best,