After some exploration and creative thinking, I ended up creating a string of shotgun shell lights. I based my project strictly around using empty shotgun shells. I initially thought of creating art for art’s sake and using the shells as the border or outline. I also thought about using the brass to make drink coasters but was inspired by an old strand of Christmas lights hanging in my room to go the direction I went. The idea started after watching the movie Chef and noticing the classic chili pepper lights hanging in a restaurant used in one of the final scenes of the movie. I then thought if it would be possible to connect the shells to the lights in my room to emulate the red chili pepper lights and give my First Navy Jack a nice set of American shotgun shell lights.
First I took the old set of Christmas lights down
Next is to take a used shotgun shell and cut a cross slit into it
Then I took the led bulbs on the light strand and pressed them into the cut out.
Once I pressed the entire green backing into the cut out I would pull back on the strand to basically seal the cut out making it extremely difficult to the the light out due to the way I made the cuts.
Finally I hung the lights back up where I originally had them hanging over my flag for a sweet extra twist and nice color of red lighting.
My design process was relatively linear similar to the one my group drew up during the in class exercise. I went through a couple iterations though, usually restarting the process once it failed. Typically the process starts with a problem then working towards a solution to the problem but this time I started the process with an item (the shotgun shell) and worked to find a solution to reuse the item. My design actual design process was more test and fail and retry rather than spending time planning but overall I followed my ideal design process pretty well.
As I mentioned before, my vision originally was art for art sake and using ammo in an artistic way. I have seen many creative ways to reuse shells and casings for art such as jewelry, sculptures, and art (such as a painting or image). But I have also seen ammo used for more functional reasons such as a .50 cal shell turned into a bottle opener. This was my biggest inspiration since it added an aesthetic to a common item while reusing an old item for another function. When I came across my idea it was the perfect fit for both artsy and functional.
In the end I was extremely happy the way it turned out. I was worried about the way I attached the lights if it would look natural and show off the shotgun shell enough where people noticed but I think it turned out well. If I had more time I would explore other ways to attach the shells using glue or a heat gun to reshape the plastic/wax/clay casing around the bulb rather than cutting through it. It may or may not turn out better but it would’ve been interesting to try. I hope to use other shells to try and make a few bottle openers next and plan on using a laser cutter and 3D modeling to design them and continue to reuse old ammo shells for other functions.