What am I making?
The design will be a Newton’s Cradle, made out of sticks, twine, and stones. I am going to search for the proper size, strength, and shape sticks as well as rocks around and about, as well as thin twine or similar substitute. This falls under the Pioneer Primitive aesthetic, seen in the image below.
What is Pioneer Primitive?
Pioneer Primitive, although the name may be descriptive, is not a common or easily found aesthetic. Materials wise, the Pioneer Primitive aesthetic is defined by exposed, raw, frequently organic materials. Wood is a predominant material choice, even sometimes being unshaven (or debarked). There is a heavy emphasis on construction appearing hand build, with minimal processed materials. Concrete and metal (with the exception of nails and horseshoes) are effectively absent from this aesthetic. While designs are far from minimalistic, they are not ornate or exceedingly complex. Given the hand built nature, these designs frequently prioritize function over form. This is not to say there is no place for artistic creativity however, painting, wood carving, or bone decorations are frequently utilized to add flare. This aesthetic is a blend of Wild West (like the image below), Pioneer, Frontier, Wilderness, and Nature.
Why Pioneer Primitive?
I have chosen Pioneer Primitive for a few reasons:
1. Material Availability
The materials required to make a design with this aesthetic are readily available to me. This is not to say that it will be effortless however; each material has criteria that samples must meet in order to be used. Sticks need to be large enough in diameter to not snap but small enough to be bound together with twine, stiff enough to not bend but not so brittle they snap, and long enough to be of use. Rocks (like shown below in my backyard) must be large enough to have cradles tied but small enough to be held by simple sticks, spherical enough to produce consistent collision dynamics but not so spherical that none qualify, and approximately the same density. Twine must be strong enough to hold connections but still be cut to size and able to be knotted around small sticks, and it must be able to hold knots.
2. Material Experience
Another reason I chose this aesthetic is for my experience with the materials and construction it requires. I am experienced with tying knots of various types, and a variety of different activities I have done have increased my dexterity. I enjoy tying knots and making things in this way, so I believe it will both be doable and enjoyable. For example, lashing knots like shown below are especially useful.
3. Aesthetic Pleasure
One simple reason I chose this aesthetic is that I find this aesthetic personally pleasing. It reminds me of camping trips and time spent with friends out in the mountains. Additionally, I find the time period interesting and admirable; I believe it speaks to the human ability to persevere, survive, thrive, and bend reality to its will.
4. Oxymoronical Design – Aesthetic Message
This point is multifaceted. The aesthetic, in a somewhat ironic sense, is actually quite similar to the industrial aesthetic in some of its defining characteristics. Both contain major aspects of raw, unfinished materials, exposed infrastructure, utility and purpose focused design, and darker color schemes. Additionally, I find the design I am making (Newton’s Cradle) to be somewhat opposing to the design aesthetic. Newtons’ Cradles are often seen as a physical, simple epitome of Science and technology. I like this ironic comparison and combination of nature and technology. Here is a fun comparison: