Home in Boston, I have whole days to myself to watch the rain, sleep, go on a walk with my Mother, and think about art. As the Snowflakes near completion with just one more to finish this week, my energies already turn to the next project and the one after that one. I said I was done with LED artwork, but – alas – I may just be beginning.
I’m eager to start the Spheres to work on my first 3D creation. About two years ago, I was stymied by the substructure. Building with flexible 9-gauge wire turned my kitchen into a jagged mess. I think rigid wooden slates will work much better to form the edges of the 120-faced sphere. Furthermore, the Snowflake construction technique may enable fast building of the twelve 10-fold bisected pentagonal faces. I’ll go through a lot of wooden slates, I’ll need to solder each face (12 connections, ug), and I’ll have to through-punch each LED, but the pixel separation should be grand and the spherical substructure may be both stable and regular on its own. I’m craving two wooden hemispheres in my kitchen. I’ve never made a spherical fabric cover, but the through-sewing of the Snowflakes has taught me how to keep a cover tight and crisp.
I realized last night that the spoke geometry of both the Snowflakes and the Spheres may facilitate the Islamic Tile, which has 8-fold spoke rosettes separated by 4-fold rosettes. These tiles could require even more brutal soldering than the Spheres. I can bend aluminum shims to firm up the geometry and keep the rosettes neatly connected.
Now I’m wondering whether I could pluck out each individual Snowflake teardrop to make a three-dimensional Spiky sphere. Much of organic chemistry involves space-filling of molecular orbitals. I might leverage similar chemical packing to make interesting structures out of 2-foot lozenges.
Lastly, I may head backwards. I’m disappointed with the decay of both the Triangles and the Squares. Their notch and weave construction makes individual cells buckle and light to bleed through the notches. Now that I understand better the through-punches of the Snowflakes and will learn more about wooden slats from the Spheres, I may rebuild the Triangles and Squares. Fortunately, I already have their lights, frames, covers, and software (with a dual-show runner!). Rebuilding wouldn’t be fun work, but I could cut the plastic insides out from the frames, remove the LEDs, install regular wooden slates (glue or screws) and then interconnect individual cells by zipties. The final pieces would look more regular and outlined like the Turtle Shell. I wish I learned quicker that notching was a terrible shortcut.
I tend to make two new large pieces a year. For 2019, bring on two Spheres then, followed by whatever the Spheres suggest next. I’ve got more ideas than time, but at least my construction, concepts, and software are all getting much better.