Bamboo weaving in Taiwan and Baltimore

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bamboo-splitter

Bamboo is not native to US and when it was introduced as an ornamental plant became invasive and impossible to control. Every year with my students, we collect this material around Baltimore and experiment with it to learn as much as we can in order to find new uses for this ancient material. One thing we learn is an art of splitting bamboo with special tool, since traditional woodworking techniques are not feasible with this material. Green bamboo can be split at the the collection site and easily transported. While green, it can be used to make prototypes for full-size furniture objects that can be tested almost immediately. One of the projects is a small boat, that took only one couple of days to prototype from bamboo. After testing it, we scanned it with 3D scanning technology to capture geometry to continue working with it in digital space. Here are some examples of bamboo projects developed by my students at MICA Mier Luo and Nick Richardson


DESIGNING WITH SCENARIOS

mix-and-first-rise

Designing with scenarios allows visualization of situations and behaviors and is widely-used tool for designers. Rather than focusing on the potential design intervention or a “solution”, scenario shows people as actors. That approach affords the view of the larger situation and leads to better design interventions. Read more about scenarios here.


Digital fabrication


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At the playground called DfabLab I checked out some tools with a hope to use them on my next project. First object I printed on 3D printer was a functional replica of inconspicuous toilet paper holder. Another object was inspired by an object I found during a field trip with my students. This glass object was covered with beautiful barnacles. I used 3d scanner again to take the complex geometry into the digital world. The rest of the object was modeled using RhinoSD and printed on 3D printer using corn based PLA plastic. See more images of the Barnacle Light here.





design toolkits


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Teaching design thinking and making have been my passion and focus. I believe in design by doing. There are terms for that: hands-on activity, bodystroming, co-designing, etc,. No matter what it’s called, the more tools you have the better your designs will be. Check out activity tools for bodystorming and inventing cards, both use physicality to solve problems and have fun.



Mycology

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chicken-of-the-wood

I could never figure out why we have such a misleading system as “chasing arrows” or recycling numbers. Most people don’t understand what the numbers stand for and even experts will tell you that #7 or OTHER can’t be recycled, since there are no convention about what #7 plastic is. My own statement is: #7 is BOTHER and nature has much better way of recycling things. For example polypore mushroom that recycles wood into edible and beautiful product. See experiments with laser cutting polypore mushroom to make jewelry.