Natural vs Industrial Chess Set: Project Plan & Inspiration

Initial Ideas & Inspiration
Stained glass spinning sun catcher.

Since the only requirement in this project is to have some sort of dynamic component and the cost should be a maximum of $150.00, my intention was to create home décor or a functional item. Originally, I was inspired by sun catchers/stained glass like the sun catcher I found on BrightSparkeDesigns Etsy shop, but I had to consider making that dynamic. One idea was to make a mobile and attempt to make balanced forces. Another idea was to make a motorized option to catch the light at different angles. However, I know products like this already exist and I wanted to make my project unique so I wanted to incorporate a natural aspect like flowers. I drew some of my inspiration from the pictures below which I found on beincoe’s Etsy shop.

Clear prisms encasing dried flowers and leaves.
Main Project Plan

The flower idea led to my inspiration to create a project that contrasts natural and industrial elements. While watching The Queen’s Gambit, I realized that a chess board is a natural battle between two opposing sides.  Mine will by nature vs industrial. I still want to incorporate an aspect of light like the sun catcher so I intend to make clear chess pieces with incased flowers to represent nature.  In order to accomplish this, I plan to purchase premade silicone chess piece molds. I will use clear resin for the body of the piece and add natural elements such as flowers and leaves. To create the industrial pieces, I was considering the illusion of concrete to represent skyscrapers and other large buildings.  However, I realized that these may look like stone which is also natural.

Cold Casting Bronze Sign with Real Metal Powder.

When I was researching resin techniques, I stumbled across metallic finishes (such as the image to the right) which led to my idea of creating bronze statues. I will again use the same molds and the clear resin for the body but this time add mica powder, which is just a pigmented powder, to create the industrial pieces. My intention is to highlight the overzealous need humans have to create superficial luxurious items simply because they can.

I do not want to limit the aesthetic to just the pieces so I plan to have the board also illustrate the battle between nature and industry. I plan for half the board squares to have artificial grass and the other half to look like marble. Since the board has to be flat for the pieces to sit properly, I plan to continue using resin to cover the entire board. This will also make it more durable and I can use it as decoration in my future house. I will have to construct a wooden frame around the board to contain the finishing resin while it cures. I am not sure yet how to finish the frame to make it aesthetically pleasing. I plan to make the marble effect with a mixture of black with gold and white accents.  This will emphasize the artificialness of the industrial side of my board and highlight the bronze statue pieces sitting on top of them.

Black marbled tiles.
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Stephen Chamot
    May 4, 2021 11:34 am

    I really liked the idea of clear resin chess pieces with flowers in them and I’m curious if you’ll also incorporate a more organic design in the shape of the resin as well.

  • Daedalus Muse
    May 2, 2021 1:06 am

    Hi Amanda, this aesthetic is a very interesting one; the opposing sides of nature vs industry is one that I think has a lot of potential for interesting designs. It sounds like the nature side in particular will be captivating, especially if you plan to go with the idea of experimenting with light. I wonder if the pieces will mirror each other in some way (other than the fact that they consist of the same chess pieces).


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