The Day Labor Challenge

Although I like building my art pieces such as the Fish and the Sunflowers, I fear that I spend way too much time constructing them. A simple idea like “scales with lights” can consume months of nights and weekends to actualize. To confront this fear, I gave myself a challenge yesterday: can I build a Snowflake in just a day?

I want not just to disprove that interesting art need be numbingly laborious, but also to give myself a validating job if only for a day. In the morning while others commuted to their tech jobs, I donned my snowflake construction clothes to report for duty.

I hustled to Discount Hardware to buy aluminum framing strips and then next door to Tap Plastics for ten sheets of plastic. Oddly, when working on art projects, I don’t obsess about the money I’m throwing out the window. By the way, I estimate each Sunflower costs $150 in parts.

I hurried home, but before I started work, time for some edible cannabis to make this contest more challenging. Putting on work gloves (safety first), I cut the plastic into strips, cut holes in the strips, and the LEDs into the strips. I even miscounted the chain of LEDs, requiring me to splice in two more pixels. Oops.

I felt like an LED John Henry racing against the clock. As the sun set, I had laid out all 79 teardrops. Mid-evening, I had finished the soldering and started ziptying together the teardrops. By 11pm, I had finished construction of a whole Snowflake. I spent thirty minutes getting the programming half right before heading happily to bed.

I’ve decided I want to make two more Snowflakes. All of them will be different. I don’t need to make the remaining two in a hasty couple of days, but I’m glad to know that their construction won’t take months.