It’s simply magnetic!


The process for this final photography frame was not as simple s it may seem.

The idea was to take two materials and join them using something else for that purpose. I decided to play with magnets and some other material to create something interesting. I the thought about delicate, soft and light materials such as paper or light wood or even fabric. I also decided to avoid the use of glues or traditional joining methods as screws and nails. I made that a rule. I first started to play with the polarity and properties of the magnets. They seemed so nice at the beginning…

After a while I started noticing how sensitive they are, and how strong! (sounds like the perfect catch)

So I played with them and wood and created figures making junctures with magnets putting the wood together. So I then thought about bringing some functionality to the idea of joining wood and metal without gluing or using screws or nails, or staples. I then remembered I just received some nice photos from a recent holiday. So I decided to make a minimalistic kind of frame, that would allow the user to put a picture easily and also to change it for another, that way rotating the pictures once in a while… Another issue about framing photography is the problem of gluing the picture to a surface. It’s quite expensive and often difficult to do. You better us expensive acid free glue and acid free mat boards, etc. And after you complete the expensive process of doing such, you already want to frame a different picture instead of the one you invested your money in.

So I tried to make a very simple frame only using soft light wood, the photo printed on photographic paper, and wood to work as the structure between the paper and the metal structure. After 5 hours or more of struggling with the magnets and losing all the structures by the point before I finished to make the frame. I had to redesign many times on the fly, so it could work many times, with different users.

It finally worked when I started to remove more and more magnets and elements like wood. I found out that the Bauhaus principle “less is more” really applied to this idea. So after fighting against magnetism and it’s treacherous behavior, I finally could assemble the frame. It’s a beautiful frame, but it’s not as practical as you could imagine. You have to be very careful when dealing with magnets while you mount your pictures. One minor movement and they go crazy!

In the end the result is magnetizing, its beautiful to see how straight and flat the pictures look and how the light and brittle quality of photographic paper is displayed. The downside is how fragile this frame can be… But then again, it’s built for being changed and customized, not as a permanent frame.

Color makes you happy!!!

I decided to do something related to one of my passions: Painting. I love painting and geometry. I also like the idea of playing and painting. And something else I love is education. I wanted to try to bring laser cutting and painting together, so interesting results could come into place. Then, I decided to take this idea of the main questions about what a painting is or can be. As Frank Stella wrote:

“There are two problems in painting: finding what a painting is, and the other is making a painting”

So with this game of color and shape, I thought I could explain to my little nephews what I sometimes do as a painter.  I think the best way to learn and to teach is putting your mind and your hands into action. So I designed this simple but fun to play with painting-color puzzle, that is open to modification by the users.  I’m thrilled about trying it with them!

The process was simple. Taking a basic shape from one of my paintings, with the basic shapes it is constructed. They are part of a pattern known as the Penrose patter, named after Roger Penrose, a genius!!! I then laser printed the base into wood, and then printed the same shape into acrylic several times. I decided to paint the acrylic so it could have a mat side an a glossy one, and also to be able to ad texture in one side, to be able to have the contrast with the other glossy smooth side. I chose the “basic” closet to primary colors, as as starting point for an ever expanding constellation of color possibilities to play with. I also left some transparent shapes, so they can paint them with colors the decide to use. I’ll teach them someday about using the laser, so they can make more shapes and expand their game!

I’m happy to have a Christmas present for Mati and Salvi, I hope they enjoy this a I do!


5 “Exact” attempts to do the same !!!

I chose to do a frame, because I love photography and art in general, and also because I found that to be really complicated, so I thought I would learn a lot, even if I didn’t make the “best” pancake at my first try. As an artist, you often have to produce an exhibition without a good budget, and it’s god to have resources to be able to achieve a solution for this problem. It’s also important to lear how to create a workflow that optimize time, money and also offer you flexibility in the process. Another important point is that you need to understand how frames, so you can think about the design of the frames in a more complex design (even if you don’t make them).

“YOU DON’T MAKE FRAMES WITH THE TOOLS OF THE WOOD SHOP AT ITP” It’s actually great advice what Ben Light said. I always believe what he says and look forward to apply all the knowledge he shares with us. But I decided to do it, not to probe him wrong, but as an exercise to try to organize the process in the bestsellers possible way, as stated before. And I also wanted to learn how to use the different tools from the workshop.

The process:

I made a simple sketch, based on a cheap little frame for pictures.

Then started to get the materials. I followed the next steps:

1) Learned how to use Router.

2) decided the size of the frame (I chose to chose a square size for a picture of 14 cm, instead of a rectangular format) This way I could optimize material, make process faster, and also have more exotic frames). 


    3) I routed de material. (before I cut it so I could have a decent and comfortable size for routing, but also an efficient one)
    4) I cuted the material in smaller sizes so I could do the cuts in the rounded blade cutting machine. In the process I managed to cut a couple of 45 degree angles that would fit ok, so I could compare all the cuts to those, making the process more efficient and accurate as possible, considering the tools I chose.
    5) I sanded a lot more material than I would actually needed, so I could have more options of wood that were closer to “right 45 degree angles”. I got close
    6) Glued and assembling the frames. (I wasn’t able to do it on time for class. I got to the point of having the materials ready to do it, but my time runned out.
    7) Filling the gaps of the angles, sanding and painting the frames.
    I could have tried also to use the square framing with holes on the sides and with a proper screw system. (Something I will try soon)
    I worked many hours but could not get the work done. I think i will have them ready sometime soon, but the important part was really learning how to work with the tools in the best possible way, but more important than that, was that I think I managed to make a good process even without finishing. But “don’t Blame the tools, blame the carpenter”. I’m not as efficient as I might become if a continue learning.
    I learned how it is really possible and necessary to be able to change the design and adapt it during the fabrication process. In this case the format of the frame and also changing some of the final components that I would use. (glass for plexiglass, mdd for cardboard, and plastic, for some plastic pieces for motors that I found.  Improving the efficiency and functionality of the frames.
    Things to improve: Finding a way to complete the product in the deadline. Be more adaptable and open  to other times of solution that would have allowed me to have them on time.
    I continue to aprecciaite the hard and accurate  labor of the framers and carpenters, they are genius!!!
    I hope I can soon have them ready, so I can post a picture of one of them with a nice picture on them!


“In God we trust!!!”

It finally came into place… I tried to understand and figure out how to calculate the amount of energy for the LED’S, but after many attempts time almost run out. I was freaking out… collapsing physically and emotionally… I didn’t want to Plan b, or c or d.  But I had to!!! There was no time left. No room for error or failure. Kind of a do or die situation. So I called my brother in law for clearing information about the electrical part, so I could solve the energy LED issues (he is an electrical engineer). Honestly, I still don’t fully understand how electricity works, so I’ll have to put my head and hands into it, to accomplish more complex tasks. He advised me to just use direct connection between the LED and batteries. I had seen many tutorials on the web (Instructables and you tube), with simple projects accomplished in this kind of way. So I decided to give it a try, and to adapt to my resources (materials, time). Where all about going to the basics: Connecting a LED straight to a power source in this case two AAA Batteries. So I began to improvise, and I finally got to the point of having a working flashlight with to possible modes. The flashlight goes in on mode while you connect the cable with your fingers, and always on, if you lock the cable between the coins. The interesting thing about it, is that that user has to find the way to do it. It only takes a couple of seconds for some, and sometimes minutes.

I looked at all this kind of tutorials like the list in the following link:

I also added as a picture, the process of building Flashlight, by one of the members of the Instructables community, that was the main inspiration for my plan A for the Flashlight.

I made lots of mistakes… millions of them… Next post will be about that, and how I became aware through this exercise of many bad habits I have. But also positive things that I also have to work to make better use out of them. The lesson of the week is work harder, (time plus PI) and “Trust in god” as it is written in the penny that solved my final problem of having a confortable “button” or trigger for the flashlight. I also fell into an obsession of doing the electrical part in a way beyond my knowledge at this point, that almost got me into not solving the challenge. I wanted to do the most beautiful and functional flashlight I could, but I realized it wont be done in the first attempt. So grandma said many times “the devil wanted to make his son so perfect, that his son’s eyes were twisted” Forget about perfection, but keep working to improve. Never give up!

What did I learn from my mistakes? (NEXT POST)

What does interaction means to me?

What is interaction?

Technology has been about the creation, appropriation or implementation of tools to solve necessities or problems. Technologies are means to interact with different environments so we can achieve our specific goals. These technologies, from my point of view, appear from the result of interaction between humans and their environments. When the context creates a problem, need, or issue, we first realize there’s action needed to solve that situation. Then we think about the need and the possibilities form solving it. We then consider our available resources and decide which to rely upon. After that, we work into using the resources to create an object to satisfy our need. A somehow non-creative, but clear example, was how the stone was chosen by the early man (even chimps) to smash coconuts or other natural containers of food, so they could solve the problem of being hungry at the beach…

So I think interaction is in the core of everyday of living existence. The more you interact with your environment, the more “problems” arise, and the more creative you will have to be, so you can create or appropriate tools for addressing them. As Mister Chris Crawford says in his book on interactivity (The Art of Interactive Design: A Euphonious and Illuminating Guide to Building Successful Software) There are different degrees of interaction in reality. The intensity or amount of interaction depends on the complexity of the different agents that interact through the communicational process that is key to it.

Interaction is the engine of change. With out it, reality can be affected but in ways that there’s no serious change. From a humanistic point of view, there are several examples of human interaction giving way to unimagined creations. Ones that not even the brightest minds could ever achieve without it. When pizza became popular in America, each different country would create different versions of this delicious (once Italian) recipe. As globalization increases, so the amount of pizza choices you have at dominos pizza… Enough pizza for now! (I’ll come back after lunch for the next paragraph… )

So yes, pizza became more interesting in time (most Italians probably would never agree on this point) making our world a little more complex and fun. This applies to infinite aspects of reality (positive, negative an neutral) Another example of how human interaction gives way to more complex and interesting realities is language. It keeps changing and becoming more sophisticated, that way allowing us to be more precise in our daily communications.

Language is interesting. Is an ever evolving “communication software” that has a lot to do with how we interact and sometimes play with our context. The best example is having a reunion (pizza party) of people from different Latin American Spanish speaking countries. We will all speak “Spanish” but after a couple of pizza slices and verbal interaction, we will begin to realize how different meanings come from the same words. This causing short circuits in the communication process and this, provoking big time involuntary jokes. (Pico in Colombia = Kiss vs Pico in Chile = dick) and things like that…

I see life as a game. With rules and limitations (kind of like the Matrix movie). We have restrictions, boundaries, but also tools and resources. Limitations force us to think, to be creative. And the more we interact, the more experienced, skilled and smarter we will become. And the more fun we will have. When you talk to wise people, you understand the nature of their wisdom. It’s really a result of many interactions with the world, such as walls, barriers and difficulties. So as the result of interaction, they create solutions that sometimes look obvious, but are really complex.

Interaction has a lot of potential in many areas. I see interaction as a great tool for areas like education and arts among many others. Education works better when interaction is involved. Also when playing is used as a learning tool. Interaction is now a whole new world of possibilities for us.

Interaction is a very wide concept. This writing is just a way of brainstorming and moving around in my head to try to grasp it. It’s an attempt to interact with the interaction process, and to try to make sense, and also to start thinking beyond the usual cliches about it, and my own way of understanding it. Before reading Crawford’s mentioned writing, I was confused between participation and interaction concepts. I thought they were similar. That’s something that I’ll get into processing in my head.