U of A Alumni Association, Green and Glow winterfest 2015

laser cut lanterns, green and gold for the University of Alberta Alumni Assn's 100th anniversary
one hundred lanterns for one hundred years

Jan, 2015.  The University of Alberta’s Alumni Association turns 100 this year, one hundred years after the first class graduated.  I got a call to imagine something special for their Winter Event.  This became one of the best University events I’ve been to, and we produced a genuinely magical moment.

Had some deeper learning moments about high speed production of large numbers of objects… 100 lanterns is quite a lot of lanterns. Even when you have a cnc machine to laser cut your parts. The opposite side of that learning is that 100 lanterns is a good number of lanterns to have a parade with. Especially when they each put out 2 watts worth of coloured LED light. At the last minute I decided to walk in the parade with the prototype lanterns, and it induced a pleasantly expansive feeling

The Association produced a great video, and an image gallery follows below.


Flying Canoe Volant 2015

coat of arms- canoe with crossed paddles and wings, moon over with crown of stars, snowflakes beneath
new design for the flying canoe volant

The Mill Creek Adventure this year was a major stretch for me.  Scheduled for a week after my other biggest winter festival commission, I had to juggle 5 workshops, up to 10 workers, a whole class of artists,  dozens of projects, and hundreds of details.  Sometimes I felt like I was driving between sites for a month.  But in the end, it worked out.  and the last two days of installation were surprisingly easy.  Delegation to competent staff pays off… except in the visceral sense of feeling like I’m focused on making art.  I suppose that’s what large scale art management is about.

In the chaos, I managed to bring 3 new major lanterns to the event, and a much deeper colour palette to my older lantern work.  New LED colours… as fun as christmas for me!

This gallery is from Paula Kirman; you can find her edmonton events photography on flicker


Winter Light 2012: Mill Creek Adventure Walk

People passing thru the Gate of Winter Light
January 27 and 28, 2012, myself and the rest of the Winter Light team launched an ambitious project; to do more with less at our now hopefully annual Mill Creek Adventure Walk. The story this year was seeded by Carol and Bill, and told the tale of an Eager Beaver’s attempt to build a Lodge big enough to Block Out the Stars.

The cast of this adventure took their places thru the ravine: Beavers Built (when not on coffee break), Skunks Investigated disturbances in the light, Magpies Reported for the local weekly, Crows Appreciated shiny things, and Aurora and the Light People let everyone know it was all going to be okay.


Mill Creek Adventure Walk Flys Again

20130204-110454.jpg

Adventure Walk Flys Again

February 1st and 2nd marks the 3rd Mill Creek Adventure Walk, and the first time this walk has been produced by La Cité Francophone. As you may or may not know, Winter Light, the previous producer has ceased operations in September, so myself and vast numbers of the public are grateful and excited that La Cité has picked up this amazing event.

This year’s event featured the legend of The Flying Canoe and The City of Light, an old French and native story about some Voyageurs who make a deal with the devil to fly their canoe home to visit loved ones. And they had to be back by midnight or they all turn into pumpkins. Or something like that, I never have much time to follow the story, to busy setting up lanterns.

Installation-wise, we had a limited new-work budget to play with, so the focus was on revising and re-arraigning. Fortunately I have a lot I material that has never shown in the creek before, so that plus some subtle upgrades and the new, shorter walking path made for fresh lighting experience.

The other big change was a fancy new home base at La Cité. Great venue for performance and gathering. Also an amazing workshop setup to develop and stage from.

I’m going to take this opportunity to
thank and recognize some people:
Robin, Brett, and Scott for throwing down without much notice, yet with enough understanding of my scene to deal with the work efficiently.
Memi for the use of her fabric lanterns.
MiHu, for his can-punching work for Crystal Cradle of last year that finally made it into something public.
Winter Light for putting all that material into the hands of artists and event producers.
La Cité (Daniel, Mirielle, Shannon, and the rest) for picking this event up.
Matt for being the full time winter guy that makes it all stick.
Marissa for keeping track of batteries an all the rest.
Hydrosion, for supporting my design with the robot-assisted cutting you all saw.
Rose, my boss, for all the time off to make this happen.
The weather for being awesome.
And my wife Janelle and baby for coming out to enjoy the walk with me, and patience thru the way too busy develop and install phase of the work.
And you know, everybody …

You can see more at the city of lights.

Send an email to someone ( La Cité, City Councillor, Edmonton arts council) if you want to see this event again next year!


Portable Hexayurt Base

A couple people have asked recently about the base we made for the insulated hexayurt.  Turns out I took a bunch of pictures of the process, so here is a big gallery of base pictures.

Level-able Base

Every point of the base has a leveling pad.  It is made of an 8-10″ bolt or section of redi rod welded to a square steel plate, and a nut and washer for adjusting the hight. The hexagonal connector rests on the nut+washer, and gets lifted or dropped by tightening the nut underneath.

Modular Connectors

We thought that sometime we may want to put several hexayurts togeather, and so designed the connectors to be fully modular.  every point of the hexagon + the base gets a connector, and then lines get drawn between connectors with 2x6s.  that gets subdivided into halfs, and then inlayed  with 2x4s in the middle for de-bouncing.   This process could carry on, with more connectors and spokes, but that hasn’t happened to us yet.

Sip Floor

For our build, we needed an insulated floor to go with the insulated walls and roof.  So Styrofoam and plywood sip it is.  If you are building a warm weather yurt, a thick enough floor to effectively bridge the gaps that the under frame leaves is all you need.  If you don’t need portable, screw it down and you can save some thickness too. But if you are building permanent, than this connector-based build may be overkill.

Dimensions.. we had them

But I don’t at the moment.  The basic theory is that you are making a 8′ edge hexagon out of triangles and struts.  If I find our drawings, I’ll post them, if you do some drawings, you can send them to me to share here.

Disassemble!!

This base was designed for portable, temporary installation.  It worked, but the amount of effort is pretty high for any installation that lasts less than half a year.  If you are going to build permanent, there are easier ways.   If you are going very temporary, use a foam yurt.

Gallery

Here are the pictures, annotated as clearly as I can at this hour of the night.  Feel free to ask for clarification.

 

 

 

 


hexa-bustle – extending your hexayurt with wings

picture of a proposed add-on plan for hexayurts
top and bottom view of a 8′ and a 4′ wing wrap around for a basic Hexayurt

Introducing the Hexa-Bustle or Hexa Pavillion

While working on a spa design for the HexaPlex, i discovered some exciting things with the hexayurt roof design- it will quite happily extend outwards in any direction you like.  Same triangles, same angles.  Sweet!  Now what exactly does that solve?

Reduced Flat Exposure to Wind:

If you have a 6′ or 8′ wall hexayurt, you may be somewhat nervous to set it up in a windy universe; such as burning man, top of a cliff, Lethbridge.  And that would be reasonable caution.  but now you can extend your roof further, and make your outer walls shorter, making a safer yurt for your self and all your downwind neighbors.

So Much Space ! :

every 8′ roof wing that you attach adds a 1/2 hexayurt worth of floor space.  enough to fit 2 single beds or one queen.  plus personal storage.  5x 8′ wings (leaving one off for a tall door) will provide a total of 3.5 hexayurts in area- 406’2.  a more modest 4′ roof wing will give you .375 more area each.

Wow, so who’s done this?

To my knowledge, no one.  so you can be first!  Help chart bold new ways in Hexayurtopia!  Send me pictures!  I would only recommend this to an engineer or experienced yurt crafter.   Please don’t take this on for your first yurt.

Download the Hexa Pavillion Sketchup file now!

This file has a lot of construction extras, so you can put together a bunch of different formats from components.  If you are not familiar with components in sketchup, there are a number of great videos on google to teach you all about it.

 

 

The HexaPlex – an enormous new hexayurt – 3D model included

a model of a proposed multi-hexayurt design- 8 hexayurts worth of space, one giant tension ring and a courtyard.

 

The other day, hanging out on the facebook hexayurt group, I discovered a design request for some arraigned H14s from months ago.  Sounded good, so I strung some sketchup hexayurts together and posted the picture.  Thinking about it later that day, I realized there were these gaps at the corners that were remarkably  like 1/3 segments of hexagons… almost as if they could fit more hexayurt sections in.  So I cut up some more hexayurts in the model and jammed them in.  Success!  The Hexagon Fills Its Gaps Again!  Love it.  And the HexaPlex was born.

Expansive Floor Plan!

With 8 standard Hexayurts worth of floor space, the covered area in the HexaPlex is a stunning 1328’2.  Plus a 166’2 courtyard in the center.    The outer circumference (for your (large) tension ring needs)  is 144′.   The first one of these that I build (crossing fingers) will have 6 posts and beams to go around the roof-peak line as well.  Partially for my over-stability needs, and partially as a handy solid place to hang lots of stuff from.

note: if you build it – which I would love – you take full responsibility for your safe construction.  I am and artist and designer, not an engineer or architect.  So there.

Download the HexaPlex Sketch here!

Sketch-up version 8 model is freely available for your modulating pleasure here.
As with all Hexayurt material on this site this is licensed CC-BY-SA : use freely and attribution is appreciated.

next step:  build one in real life.
and send me pictures.

RotoGoboScope : Light + Motion Sculpture

we took some pictures of the rotogoboscope motion light sculpture at the gallery it will be displayed at until april 2012
a motion light sculpture captured with still photography

What is this RotoGoboScope?

The lantern that won the People’s Choice Award at the IllumiNite event in Edmonton!

The RotoGoboScope is an innovative lantern that combines colorful LED lights with rotating mechanisms to produce a fantastic moving light-scape of patterned dots. It features custom electronics that are built into refurbished coffee cans, which are mounted onto a tower made of re-used metal scrap.

 

What does the name mean?

Well, “Roto” is for rotating. “Gobo”  is short for “Go-Between”, and refers to an object that is placed in front of a light source to control the shape of the light emitted.  And “Scope” like in kaleidoscope, a device that creates moving color patterns.

 

This lantern is a creative extension of  my Can-O-Lantern series of decorative LED lamps, currently sold by Crystal Cradle. I have been handcrafting LED lamps using upgraded coffee cans for about 3 years.

RotoGoboScope was originally built for IllumiNite – and outdoor light design competition organized by Edmonton on the Edge.  It was installed outside for a night, in the park behind Sobey’s on Jasper Ave. The nook it got tucked into was awkward, but the reception was excellent – the RotoGoboScope captured the delight of its viewers, and won the People’s Choice award!

 

Good news – this amazing lantern is currently on display at the Cool Stuff Exhibit! You can find it at the University of Alberta Museum in Enterprise Square (10230 Jasper Ave) from March 22nd – March31st.

 

What is it made of?

Composed of  approximately 95%  upgraded metal scrap, plus some custom-built electronics.

The upgraded scrap components include :

  • 6 bicycle wheel rims – from the local Bike Repair Collective
  • steel EMT pipe – from an outfitter tent repair job
  • a laundry machine drum – scrap yard special
  • a clothing display stand – someone must have donated this to our pile without asking
  • 3 coffee cans – readily available
  • hard-drive platters – from old computers

The rest of the parts are :

  • 9 1-Watt LED’s —  red, white, yellow, and green
  • 3 rotating gear-motors
  • various electrical components – drivers, transformers, connectors and wires
  • 1m steel tube and shaft

It runs on regular household electrical current (110V AC) via transformers, or directly on a 12V DC battery.

 

Sweet. What does this light look like in motion?

I thought you’d never ask.

Can I Get One?

Soon. There aren’t any ready made, but you can commission one.   This one is rent-able for special events. The Can-O-Lantern series of lamps are available at Crystal Cradle.

Spaceport Video Shop Tour

SpacePort Studio Pan/Tilt Video Tour

I do some fun geek support projects for various other artists, and the other day I got to play with a remote control pan/tilt unit (from servocity.com) that some fellow Edmontonian artists are using for a film project.  My job was to ensure that the parts for the motion control systems all talked to each other properly : batteries, transmitters, receivers and motor drivers. Intrigued by remote control toys, I taped my [relatively low-tech] camera onto this high-tech pan/tilt unit to take a scan around our studio (aka SpacePort), which at the time was covered with electro-mechanicals that we were working on for this film.

Big Fancy Camera Systems in Taiwan

In contrast to my “Red-Green” solution, the filmmakers will be screwing a Red Cam onto the system when they get to Taiwan.  They are filming in Imax-Ready format, with some fancy remote controlled systems to get their vast cameras out of the faces of their subjects.  The fly-cam they are building is pretty exciting – some heavy duty remote control car motors, a pan/tilt/focus and a gyroscope will all be mounted onto a hanging zip-line-like contraption. These devices will be controlled by a fancy Spektrum DX6 transmitter (a fancy remote control), and will take the camera on some long steady rides over the heads of the festival go-ers.  It’s amazing how a different perspective in the camera angle can have profound impact on the perspective of the movie viewer.  Maybe it’s about how our brain gets tweaked differently when we see something from a new angle.

Spirit Medium , the film

So, the film they are going to shoot looks pretty amazing.  One of the group members did some sort of thesis work in Taiwan about this festival, and he is bringing the film crew back with him to get the story visually:

Taiwan is a small and often overlooked society with many gifts and treasures to offer the world. At approximately 5,000 years, Chinese civilization is the oldest existing civilization in the world. However in Mainland China, many traditional religious practices were purged as superstition during the Cultural Revolution. Although it is now being revived and treasured as a cultural tradition in Mainland China, these religious practices have grown in Taiwan along with its rise as a modern, economically prosperous, and progressive society. Taiwan shows in full colour its varied and extensive roots, which is vibrantly demonstrated in its ritualistic pageantry and deep-seated ancient religious traditions.

To check out their promo video and learn how to support their trip go to:

http://www.indiegogo.com/spiritmedium