Saturday, June 2, 2012

Long live the Queen!

Last week I went to see Tom Sachs's Space Program: Mars at the Park Avenue Armory. The show was amazing. Here are three of the films that were being screened as a part of the indoctrination process: Love Letter to Plywood, Color (not Colors), and 10 Bullets.

Monday, May 21, 2012


It's been a long week.

A couple of days ago, I was having my last dinner in the middle of a 15,000 acre tree farm having finished a wildly successful two weeks of production at Pilchuck Glass School. Now, I am sitting on the 4th floor or a SoHo loft in Manhattan the last day of the Model Citizens NYC offsite show. I get back to Boston later this week, and after a couple of days decompression and hibernation in my own bed, I'll have a lot to write about. At the moment,  I don't have the language to describe all of the amazingness, so I'll just post some pictures!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

And now for something completely different...

The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Sometimes things don't go the way you planned. Above is the scene I found having opened the kiln containing my furnace-glass chunks on Wednesday afternoon. I can't entirely say I didn't see this coming. When closed I latches on the kiln doors two weeks ago, I felt a distinct wave of dread wash over me. It also didn't help that two days later, I got a voicemail on saturday morning letting me know that there was the very real possibility that the kiln may  have been off for 12 hours the previous evening (the three surrounding kilns had all malfunction. I knew, deep in my cockles and sub-cockles, my glass was doomed.

It happens, glass breaks.. You shed a single tear and move on to what next. Hopefully you can maintain some perspective and realize that failure can be a constructive mode of learning. In this case, I was reminded that somethings are simply out of my hands.

But I have to say, this one still smarts.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hitting my stride

"If you're going through hell, keep going."
Winston Churchill
I second weekend in a row that I have been going full-tilt in the studio getting things ready for NYC design week. This is the last two days, i'll be in the making things in Brooklyn. I am making good progress, but I still have miles to go before I sleep. Here are a couple of teaser images of what I am working on.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The waiting is the hardest part.

“Via con Dios”
Johnny Utah, Point Break

On Wednesday night, crossed my fingers and I closed the door on a kiln at RISD containing three large chunks of beautifully fractured glass. The glass came from the glassblowing furnace rebuild two years ago. The glass was left in the furnace and the gas was shut off. Without annealing, as the glass cooled it self-destructed producing hundreds of pounds of amazing glass chunks. I found these chunks by the loading dock at school where waiting to be trashed. Well, not if I had anything to do with it! I grabbed a couple of boxed, picked through the pile to find the choice-chunks and saved as much as I could fit in my trunk (which was already full). The chunks sat on a shelf in my studio for the past two years. Every time someone came to the studio and saw them what followed was some string of ooh’s, ahh’s and general lusting.

Several months ago, I reckoned it was time to do something with these big honking jewels and I always thought that they would somehow make an amazing component for lighting. Instead of building something around them I decided I would build something that went directly into the chunks, which would mean I would have to core drill into the chunks. Below is a mockup of what I am thinking:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Knock, knock...

Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad you children jump on your crappy knock off designer chair?

Here's by little video by Fritz Hanson USA of a little comparison testing for their Series 7 Chairs designed by Arne Jacobsen. This chair has probably been knocked off directly or indirectly more than any other chair I can think of.

This video is proof that all plywood chairs are not created equal.

Via Dwell

Friday, April 6, 2012

Like sands through the hourglass...

This video of my friend Prof. Ken Karmin was recently posted on the MIT News webpage and it describes some of the issues of modeling granular material flow. It's amazing to me that this simple, ubiquitous, essential type of material is still largely misunderstood and handled so poorly. I also can't help but draw the comparison to the intuitive contradictions and seemingly multi-state nature of glass.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
― R. Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Seeking Sphericity

Did you know that the most perfectly smooth and accurate spherical object ever created by human kind was a 1.5" diamter piece of fused quartz (glass)? 

I did, and so did Wikipedia (This round is a draw, Internet)! 

It's true, this little marvel of modern material engineering was made by NASA for use in "Gravity Probe B". Gravity Probe B was one of the most remarkable, elaborate, and ultimately triumphant examples of experimental physics that confirmed Einstein's assertions about effects of gravity on space-time. It also has nothing to do with rest of the content of this blog post, except for the part about glass spheres. 

This past Monday, just before becoming horribly ill (again), I spent the evening in the hot shop making a whole bunch of little glass spheres. At the end of the night, just before 1:00am, I thought that the process might make some good internet. So, I propped my camera on a brick and shot this video outlining the process of making a "perfect" glass sphere out of hot glass, by hand. In this case, "perfect" is being used quite subjectively, but you get the point (You win this round, NASA)!
Check it out: 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Personal Material

Every wonder: what does my DNA looks like?
Or think: Man, I wonder if I could be extracting DNA in my kitchen right now?

Well I do, probably more than I should.

So, when I came across this video this morning, I just had to share. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Set-up Breakdown

I've been mostly home sick this week, so decided to edit a little video about setting the blade of a wooden plane. Yes, this will explain the jump in posts over the next couple of days. The process isn’t overly complicated, but that’s not to say that it isn’t entirely simple. After a little practice, I can almost get the blade set without any test cuts. Anyway, the clip is after the jump.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Present Perfect

If you know me, you know I have tool problem.

Aside from the problem I have that tools seem to keep following me home, I have a problem with tools that try to do too much and don’t do anything well. You know what I am talking about, the tools that usually fit on a benchtop and claim to be the only tool you’ll need for every task. There’s usually some lasers or GPS involved.
However, I am pleased to say I have absolutely no issues with the most recent member of my tool foster-family, a small wooden smooth plane made by Don McConnell and Larry Williams of Old Street Tool.