A Semester of Aesthetics: Crafting Artifacts from Concept to Completion

As this semester draws to a close, I reflect back on a journey marked by creativity, challenges, and learning. This portfolio page is a culmination of my efforts in a class that pushed the boundaries of what I thought I could achieve. From upcycling materials that were destined for the scrap heap to designing a high-end wristwatch, every project was an opportunity to deepen my understanding of design, craftsmanship, and personal expression.

The Upcycle Project: Embracing Organic Aesthetics

The semester began with the Upcycle Project, where I ventured into the world of reusing and recycling for art by utilizing scrap materials to create something both beautiful and functional. The project’s open-ended nature allowed for a great deal of creative freedom, leading me to choose scrap wood as my medium and a topographic sculpture as my form – or so I thought.

Inspired by various online sources, including intricate topographical works and organic structures, I decided to utilize an organic aesthetic. This choice was not only driven by the materials at hand but also by a desire to highlight natural beauty through art. The process involved sketching designs that would later be transformed into a three-dimensional sculpture using the precision of a laser cutter, an idea that brought me back to my early days in the freshman year project class.  I felt utilizing an organic aesthetic would fit perfectly with my selected material and the vibe I was trying to capture with my topographic sculpture.  Attached below is the link to my upcycle project post and a more detailed account of my progression.

Link to Upcycle Project Post

The challenge of this project was not just in the design and assembly but also in adapting to physical constraints, as I was recovering from a leg injury at the time. This injury made me reconsider my initial hands-on approach, eventually leading me to conceptualize the design through AI-generated imagery. This adaptation was not only a testament to the projects and more importantly professor’s flexibility but also a reflection of my determination to attempt to bring my idea for this upcycle project to life while not being able to walk.  My final AI-generated concept design for this project can be seen below along with the prompts I gave the AI image generator to produce said images.

“Image generated by Image Generator Tool, an AI model developed by OpenAI, accessed 02/18

Main Project: The Journey to High-End Technology

The main project of the semester was even more ambitious, initially inspired by the dynamic and vibrant essence of Las Vegas and the thrill of gambling in a casino. My goal was to meld the mechanics of timekeeping with the thrill of a roulette game within a wristwatch. The idea was to replicate a miniature roulette wheel beneath the handpieces of the wristwatch with a functional spinning roulette ball.  This concept was partly fun and partly practical because if I was ever in a pickle at the roulette table and didn’t know what to put my money on I could give a tester spin out on the wristwatch before placing my bet.  However, I was immature coming into this project idea not considering the complexities of integrating a functional roulette wheel into the delicate dimensions of a wristwatch proved daunting.  And after furthering my research into the watch-making world I quickly found that I bit off a lot more than I could chew and this wasn’t a practical few-week-long project.  The photo below was my initial inspiration for this watch idea.

Link to Initial Main Project Post

Realizing the need to pivot, I refocused my efforts on creating a high-end, high-fashion wristwatch that embodied luxury and sophistication. This transition was not a step back but rather a leap towards a more feasible and refined product. The design process was intensive, involving detailed sketches, material selection, and personal assembly. Each component, from the Swiss movement to the sapphire crystal face, was chosen with the utmost care to ensure both elegance and functionality.

Link to Main Project Final Post

Challenges and Growth

This semester was filled with challenges, from technical difficulties to conceptual overhauls. Each project required a balance of creativity, technical skill, and adaptability. One of the most significant challenges was learning to pivot when initial ideas did not pan out as expected, a skill that is invaluable in both academic and professional settings.

Despite these challenges, or perhaps because of them, my growth this semester has been immense. I’ve honed my skills in sketching, material selection, and digital fabrication, and more importantly, I’ve learned to see challenges as opportunities to innovate and improve.

Looking Forward

As I compile this portfolio, I see it not just as a summary of past projects but as a launchpad for future endeavors. Each link, each image, and each reflection is a stepping stone to further exploration in the world of design and engineering.

Link to My Online Portfolio

I invite you to browse through the detailed blog posts linked above to get a deeper understanding of the work that has defined my semester. This portfolio is not only a showcase of what I have done but also an invitation to see where I might go next. Feel free to include this link in your CV or share it with others who might find inspiration in the journey of turning ideas into reality.

This blog post serves as a reflective conclusion to your semester, tying together both your Upcycle and Main projects while setting the stage for your future endeavors. It’s structured to highlight your growth, acknowledge the challenges you faced, and showcase your work as a comprehensive portfolio ideal for sharing with a broader audience.

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