Friday, July 5, 2013

Meet the Maker: Another Q&A With Scott

This is another in an occasional series about the makers behind Foster's Beauties' artwork. 
Scott pretends to be asleep on the job while volunteering to work the lights for a skating exhibition in March 2013.
The most common question asked of an artist is where do they get their inspiration. It's a tough question to answer, but in this post, Scott does his best to explain how he decides what to do in his segmented woodturning pieces.
Q: Tell us about your design process when you're percolating an idea for a new segmented piece. 
A: Well, that varies a great deal!

Sometimes,  I want to reach out to add a new technique or direction.  Then it is a matter of considering a stepping stone or two, that will be challenging enough.  An old colleague of mine said, "You learn more from a near failure than a complete success," and that fits with how I try to take on a new skill or design element.  I aim for something that is just within what I think I can accomplish that reaches out along a path to what I want to be able to do.  I learn something from that process, and then reach some more.

If I'm trying to create a particular thing, or function, I consider the requirements and create a few sketches or ideas.  Some ideas will seem to do the job better than others.  With the luxury of time, I'll set some ideas aside and come back to them again later, or combine ideas that I didn't use in a prior project to push the next project along.

I usually percolate down to a sketch or two that seems to serve the function, and appeals to the artistic idea.  Sometimes the materials guide the next step too: I only have X board feet of this particular grain pattern so how can I optimize my use of that board?  I do the math, and solve some of the geometry.  A few more sketches usually evolve, and change the lines a little here or there to find a better way of expressing the feeling that starts to build around the piece as the design evolves.  I'll sort through how to build the pieces and the steps that I expect to need to take along the way in my mind.

Usually it comes down to a final scaled drawing with enough details that I can work from, and then finding a way to express that onto a single page that tells me about element sizes that I have to start cutting things into.  Sometimes I have to invent a way to hold the pieces, and end up building a jig.  Sometimes it involves the inventing of new steps when new possibilities show up while I'm part way through a project, or when problems (excuse me, design opportunities!) happen along the path.

That's all for this round. Be sure to check back to hear more from the makers here at Foster's Beauties! And check out examples of Scott's work in our Etsy store -- you might find the piece you just can't live without!

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