Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wire mobile doodle

I got some new wire recently. You can get this stuff from mcmaster carr. It's stainless aircraft wire. It's thicker than I've ever had and takes a beautiful curve. This is a quick doodle, but I'm wanting to make some large outdoor mobiles this way.

Four show kites

I built these four cuben morphos for a show a few months back. I was particularly happy with the fittings. I never flew them, but we did make two painted lacewing ones that we kept.

The smallest origami pattern my fingers can do

This is the simplest origami pattern I know, but done this small it's not quick. I'm gearing up to make a new mobile. This piece was used to make the smallest circle in this 7 piece mobile I made about a year ago.

Mini Photon's first flight in the daylight

Daylight is certainly good for these little creatures. You can tell they flourish in it, and possibly get some nutrient that we are not aware of from enough exposure. Ruth and dean helped it fly while I tried to get a few photos. The other night I said that I bet it weighs less than a nickel. We weighed it today and I was right, as shown here on the scale it's 4.6 grams. Ruth's paint and the light properties of the cuben show more and more compatibility as she gets used to working with it. Bowed back as it is in flight, it's span is about 22 inches or 56 cm.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Built mini photon

Wow, how things change when they actually become what they are meant to be. They fly so well I don't even know what to type. We flew this last night at the architecture school here at UF. It's a semi-enclosed space that is open at the top. There was an updraft which I was able to take advantage of. It was flying directly over my head in vertical wind that was escaping the building through the absent ceiling.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Second layer on the mini photon

Ruth is about to put the third layer of color on this design. I thought I would capture an image of them in the second stage of their paint job.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ruth Whiting's flying fire hydrant

Ruth made this kite last year. It started with some research and a sketch. The sketch was done full sized and then traced onto heavier Cuben fiber. She then painted it in and framed it. We were ever-so-lucky to have one of Robert Trepanier's famous quadline dogs show up for a visit.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tear Drop Lamp - Paper, carbon, stainless, spectra, lead

I designed this lamp for a friend and client, Sidney Wade. She is a poet and works here at the University of Florida. She has a very nice website that you can get to by clicking on her name. The base is a tensegrity that I made from carbon and spectra with hand-formed stainless fittings. The top is paper sewn into carbon arcs. I think I am moving towards more of this kind of work in my lamps.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Packing for Korea? Take the film canister foil.

Ruth and I made this replica of a dean jordan airform kite.  This is an idea that we had about prescription kites that you could trade in your pharmaceuticals in exchange for one of these, except of course packed in an Rx bottle.  This one was started by stuffing as much plastic in raw sheet form as we could into this little canister.  Then we removed it and made our templates for the foil as large as we could.  It flies perfectly, and we gifted it to ruth's brother mark.  I hadn't seen this one in years, and as we were sitting around helping him pack for Korea he pulled it out.

Two butter-morpho gliders painted by Ruth Whiting

This shot was taken by me, while flying the kite in the foreground. Ruth, seen in the balcony, is flying the other kite. This was in the performing arts center here in Gainesville FL. These kites were the precursors to the painted cuben kites. They are simply plastic film which will hold the paint, but not very well. These are kites that I really think of as a magic trick. So far they are really my favorite size indoor kite. They are just large enough to be seen well and just small enough to be controlled easily by the typical human arm length. These have been updated with stainless fittings too.

Necklace for Ruth's mum

This is a necklace that I made for Ruth's mum.  I have made several necklaces but never actually surprised someone with one of these new ones.  The piece is special.  I needed a container and this is a box I made from foam core, insignia cloth, and some matte board.  The last shot shows a catch design that I've been making since I was very little.  Mary said that it reminded her of a fifth century etruscan piece, she studies that sort of thing.

Cuben Fiber Lacewing Flames

Ruth painted these exquisite quadline kites.  I designed the Flame quite some time ago.  I recently updated it to do away with all the urethane fittings.  I got sick of the kites that I made ten years ago all having rotted fittings when I would take them out of the bag.  It got me thinking a lot about the longevity of the kites I make and wanting to move towards more archival materials, or at least materials that will last similar amounts of time.

Paint on the cuben

I'm continually impressed with the light-handling properties of cuben fiber.  For years, Ruth and I have played with all kinds of ways to make color graphics and various plastic films go together.  Water layup with masking, jigs, and spray adhesives - yeah we're done with that. Cuben and oil paint together seem to really be excellent.  Long-term acidity of the paint on the p.e.t. mylar used in the cuben fiber has yet to be seen.

Necklaces - from a can of stainless

Before I made kites, I was bending wire.  My dad gave me a spool of his orthodontic wire.  I started by wrapping stones, but soon I was doing my own designs.  I found I could achieve mechanical fluidity by using an absurd number of tiny parts.  This necklace I made about a year or two ago now and Ruth wears it every day, along with another that is similar.  I think it has spoiled her, something I've always been willing to do. This necklace has about 117 wire parts and takes about 5 days of casual evening work to build.

Cuben Fiber Mini Photons

These new little kites we are making are very exciting for me.  They are made from .040 carbon and the fabric is Cuben Fiber.  This stuff is like owning a little piece of science fiction for us.  Having a roll of this around is very intimidating—having several rolls is also expensive.  I've found that it's difficult to figure out what to do with it.  Not because it's hard to use, although it is that to a degree, but more the fact that the stuff is just so amazing that you really want to use it in an amazing way—not always easy to work out how to.  Ruth is painting them too with oil paint.  Very exciting stuff for us.  The mini photon is a sweet size for flying around in the front yard.  The small wire fitting is something that I'm very proud of.  They are stainless steel and hand formed.  This is from .025 stainless wire.

Why we fly - the interface between kites and people

Our latest passion in kite flying is the trick that doesn’t have a clear beginning or an end. We rig the kite on medium-length lines and fly it as though the kite is part of its surroundings. It’s like combining street-style skateboarding with kite flying. Some of us have been doing this for a while, but we’re acting like it’s new.

It turns out that when the kite merges with, and slips into, the subtle goings on in any particular airspace, people in general have an easier time identifying with what is taking place. A kite slowly moves through a narrow gap between a garbage can and a telephone booth, then turns away only to mimic the motion of a nearby flag on a pole—or a kite which moves so fluidly that, for a brief moment, it could be mistaken for a living creature. These kinds of tricks extend well beyond the direct control of the kite and venture into the minds of the onlookers. The movement and context of kites within a situation can impart a whole host of emotions.

The ability to surf the airflow in these often hostile urban environments becomes a kind of quiet, heart-pounding excitement—an obstacle course that changes with every whim of the air moving through it. These tricks begin in the moment the kite leaves the ground and end when the kite is flown back to base camp and packed down again.

We believe that the compatibility of kites and the general public should come first and foremost. People need to be comfortable in close proximity to the kite while it moves through the air. The responsibility for this rests entirely on the abilities of the kite flyer and the kite. The bystander must never question their own safety or that of loved ones. If they do, the relationship will be over before it begins. Instead, decide that your kite must approach an area as if it is a wild beast that must win back the trust of frail humans. This is indeed a true test of control.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hopefully this blog will be more useful now

I have to link this into my website.  We will have news and events here.  General goings on.  You know about blogs, I may or may not.  Thanks for viewing in the mean time.