The creative process

Our ideas often start as mere scribbles. When I work for clients these quick scribbles never see the light of day outside my studio. For our house project they are the start of discussions on what is going to happen. On some parts we will use our state of the art CNC router. On the rest of the project things will be done all by hand. Fancy routed trim will be combined with sculpted fiberglass reinforced concrete for these pieces.

The beam project is a good example of the often hidden processes. I showed in a recent post how we go from concept drawing through the engineering process and on to construction. Building the bulk of these pieces on the ground saves many hours of scaffold time. They will be finished in place.

Then it was on to the details. The first sketch of these details was on a scrap of paper to illustrate my thoughts to Peter and Janis. We were exploring possible panel treatments on the beams. The owl sketch was an idea for the ends of the protruding beams. That idea got shelved as we thought it added one more unnecessary element to an already busy idea.

When we started bolting the plywood to the welded steel beam structure I broke out some felt pens and the scribbling started once more. This excercise was to determine panel size shape and placement.

Once everyone was in agreement I took a few quick notes to record our thoughts.

While the crew finsihed off stapling mesh to the beams I headed up to the computer in my studio to work on the 3D files I would need for routing these detailed pieces. I use a wonderful program called EnRoute to create the CNC routing files. EnRoute allows me to be both precise and creative at the same time. Using the rendering tools I can visualise my thoughts on the screen. I would work on the diagonal corner blocks first.

I started with a precise vector drawing. Then using the powerful tools inside EnRoute I first created the various shaped reliefs and added the woodgrain as a last step using a bitmap I had created. The results looked like this on my screen...

The program (with input from me) automatically creates tool paths which I saved and then sent to the CNC router out in the workshop. The router in turn creates the pieces we need. 

These corner bloicks will be seamlessly integrated into the hand sculpted beam we first sketched. The CNC router allows us to quickly fabricate certain parts of our projects. Combined with the hand done portions the result is pure magic. Stay tuned to see how everything will fit together and become reality.

-grampa dan