Creating, inventing, tinkering, breaking, repairing, and modifying… have all been central to my life as long as I can remember. They are at the core of my curiosity and they fuel my desire to create new possibilities and to better the world around me.
From an early age I was encouraged to explore, to dive deep, and to make the most of the things around me. My formal design education (a design program embedded within a fine art school) continued to build on this pursuit of inquiry and the development of craft. Studying photography and printmaking, sculpture and traditional graphic design, letterpress and ceramics, 3d modeling and illustration…
In addition to schooling, my early journey into the field of design was influenced heavily by reading designers like Bruce Mau, in particular his book Lifestyle and the enclosed "An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth." These ideas, and others like them, have only deepened throughout my career as a designer.
Thinking is thinking. Craft is craft.
And giving a shit about your work matters equally in any discipline.
I wanted to make sure they were giving something of quality that would last for years to come and be hard wearing. So we agreed that titanium would be the right material for this project, a lovely material but challenging to machine.
What started as a small run of a dozen was so well received after the first sample that the full order was increased to
550 in total.
I’m particularly drawn to cameras with character. And the Leica Q2, Monochrome in my case, is one such camera. Its black & white only sensor, mated to the fixed 28mm Summilux lens, punches so far above its already stout 47mp, it easily rivals even modern medium format cameras in its resolving capabilities.
So when I needed a tripod mounting plate for landscape or long exposure work, I wanted a quality piece befitting the camera. I wanted something with a precise fit, that echoed the history of Leica cameras and lenses.
Brass was the only option.
- Design and CNC programing in Fusion 360
- Production planning
- Fixture plates for running parts 6 up
- Initial production run of 50
- References Leica’s history of making brass cameras & lenses
- Perfectly matches the profile of the camera body
- Adds protection to the bottom of the camera
- Will naturally patina with use
- Allows access to the battery & SD card door
- Integrated Arca-Swiss compatible dovetail
- Stainless steel slotted retaining screw
(no need for any tools, a coin will work)
I’ve been investing in additional experience and equipment to further develop my photography work, specifically in the area of architectural photography.
To further this effort I have designed and machined some small body cap accessories. But more importantly, I have been developing a custom adapter to bring additional capabilities to the Alpa technical camera, including raw video.
Creating new possibilities, through new combinations.
A utilitarian design with flat sides that accommodates self standing for photos, or tabletop viewing, with an integrated anchor point for a tether.
Made out of a solid piece of very hard wearing delrin. A durable case that won't prematurely break, crack, or wear out, and no paint or coating to peal or flake.
Small functional elements, like a cord pass-through, can be opportunities to add a little detail of craft and care. (Rather than just a hole with some un-loved plastic cover.)
The shape of this insert was designed to eliminate snagging, yet manage any cords once in-place, while allowing a full-sized 3-prong plug to freely pass though. Also machined a router template for accurately cutting the opening.
This project had a two part objective:
1. Create some useful objects for the home out of wood salvaged from some fallen trees.
2. Show how the milling/machining strategy could be a central element of the design. The final form is created by “designing” the cutting approach, not just the base object.
Continuing in the spirit of ‘make your own tools…’
As any fabricator will know, the process of making jigs, fixtures, templates, or any number of other custom tools is often one of the first steps required prior to getting on with the actual work at hand.
In addition to soft-jaws and other fixtures shown in the projects above, here are some examples of the first parts I ever produced on the cnc, and other small parts created to complete work today. Produced in brass, aluminum, tool steel, and stainless.
In late 2018 I was in a terrible motorcycle accident. Commuting home from work one evening I was hit head-on by a driver that made a very last second bad decision. That moment would make a huge impact on my body and my life.
I sustained a full open fracture to my tib/fib on the right leg, a fracture just below my left knee, multiple fractures to my pelvis, and a somewhat shattered left wrist. And bike has rested as a small heap on a palette since.
Not satisfied to just let it go to scrap, I needed something for work and for storage on the bike and the remaining parts. So a sketch of some plans and a few materials later…
#1. Allow events to change you.
You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.
#4. Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child).
Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.
#6. Capture accidents.
The wrong answer is the right answer in search of a different question. Collect wrong answers as part of the process. Ask different questions.
A studio is a place of study. Use the necessity of production as an excuse to study. Everyone will benefit.
#15. Ask stupid questions.
Growth is fueled by desire and innocence. Assess the answer, not the question. Imagine learning throughout your life at the rate of an infant.
#20. Be careful to take risks.
Time is genetic. Today is the child of yesterday and the parent of tomorrow. The work you produce today will create your future.
#22. Make your own tools.
Hybridize your tools in order to build unique things. Even simple tools that are your own can yield entirely new avenues of exploration. Remember, tools amplify our capacities, so even a small tool can make a big difference.
#37. Break it, stretch it, bend it, crush it, crack it, fold it.
#40. Avoid fields.
Jump fences. Disciplinary boundaries and regulatory regimes are attempts to control the wilding of creative life. They are often understandable efforts to order what are manifold, complex, evolutionary processes. Our job is to jump the fences and cross the fields.
#43. Power to the people.
Play can only happen when people feel they have control over their lives. We can’t be free agents if we’re not free.