Dear Diary,

On the first day, it was a really unproductive day for me. I had hard time getting on with what I want to work on. To me, the idea of having to cut wood is very terrifying even though I practiced a little before the 1st day. I felt like, I couldn’t get what I want to work on right. I have the plan out ready, but I don’t know how to start. At first, I spent about 30 minutes just messing around and cutting more wood. Then, I consulted with Bridget on how I can get get the twisted look of wood. She suggested me to wood glue and nail pieces of the wood together, then sand it down. I tried, but find it rather ineffective, especially if I’m impatient to wait for the wood glue to dry for so many layers. I try to sand the wood piece for 40 minutes and I was no where close to the shape I want. So, I think to myself why not try the chop saw at angles. On the first cut I got to a side to look the way I want. However, on a second cut, the wood jumped up at me with spark. According to Steven, this is because the wood piece is too small. So for the rest of the period I kindoff just went searching for some large chunks of wood and just chop them up into sizes which I think could be usable to me.

The second day was a really productive day for me. I started of the class with messing around wood blocks and trying to fit the sides together. I discover, maybe that using chunks of wood positioned at different angle will give me a greater composition than the twisted wood would. So, I will no longer be pursuing the twisted wood look I wanted but rather chunky disportionate combination of the wood blocks. I found only a few pieces of solid wood that is big enough to create the chunks I wanted. So I spend the rest of the class cutting double pieces of the wood and combining wood using the method I learned from the first day. At the very end I started combining two pieces. It was really difficult due to the thickness of wood in proportion to the nail. I had to try out a lot of different way to clamp before I can find a pressure point to help me drill and do a lot of redrill. In the end, I discovered the best way is to use the giant metal clamp outside. Also a fully charged driller really helps me because at first I had hard time pre-drilling and putting the nail in.

So day three, I got most materials propped up and idea ready. I continue to build the body of the structure. While waiting for some glue to dry, I worked on cutting some curved shapes I want using the bandsaw. However the thin wood I want for this comes in larger piece, so I used the table saw to get them to smaller pieces for better control. Some difficulties I encountered during the process is attaching the wood at the knee parts. It seems that the nails and glue weren’t able to attach properly and would wiggle to loosen. So, I strip the whole thing and re-cut the wood surface. Then bingo, problem solved.

After more than three days of working on the art piece, I realize I learned a lot about the materials. Thus, I also changed some of my plan. Now, instead of using the twisted wood to show motion, I will be using the concept of a moving action to show motion. A mental decision challenge I’m facing now is the scale of my piece. I really want to go big, but I don’t know if it’s possible. The reason is because I’m modeling the size of the structure to correlate to a balloon globe I found. I’m worried if it doesn’t correlate to the globe scale, it might look structurally awkward.

Anko Chang
February 4, 2014