This marks the date of the newest addition to my senior BFA thesis work. Below is a photo documentation of the process in creating two articulating solar collectors. They employ the idea of combing my knowledge of woodworking with a strong influence of architectural theory and solar engineering. The stands are made of White Oak with accents of Lignum Vitae. The Lignum Vitae can be seen in the wedge tenons on the legs and the pins that keep the dowels in place. Both Oak and Lignum are known for their strength and vitality, thus creating a strong framework for the work to exist. The stands themselves are able to adjust in increments of 10 degrees via the suns location and the given longitude and latitude. They are self adjustable with a wooden mechanism located in the rear of the stand. When the Solar Panels are attached they are able to go from flat table like surfaces to 90 degrees upright. The idea behind the pair is about combining references of woodworking and architecture, while venturing into a way of bringing radiant solar energy back into the wood itself. When viewing the stands they are meant to put forth an idea of ancient Asian architecture, bringing to light a significance in joinery technique and architectural form and function. For me, furniture is always intended to be a vehicle for creative expression. Having said this, the stands share a symbiotic relationship between the wood itself and the solar energy. The tree would not exist without the photosynthetic relationship it shares with sun, nor would my journey into solar engineering exist without my skills as a woodworker. When we learn to use the sun’s energy directly for thermal, electrical, and chemical processes, we will begin to appreciate the incredible subtlety of the physical world around us. Then we will be prepared to live at peace with the elements of our planet, rather than continually taking more than we give. We will undoubtedly change the ways in which we live, once we have recognized, identified, and made good use of the total spectrum of the physical potential the universe holds. Solar power will not be a mystery to us. Use of the sun’s energy will be second nature, and the routine of life will involve few of the unknown elements that pervade our existence today. It is our destiny to become solar citizens. I believe that through studying cross-disciplinary materials, we can come to a new artistic way of addressing a medium rooted in a specific discipline. By employing an artistic perspective we are able understand intended connections of materials that we knew not to exist. Structures and life support systems should respond to the demands of the environment, optimizing the potential of their elements. When our politicians, economists, engineers, teachers, and the rest of us attain solar enlightenment, our physical world, too, will change. Solar power, with its democratic distribution throughout the world, becomes ours for harnessing.
We are growing up in a world that is heavily influenced on technology. The basic framework of our daily lives is routed in a need to be connected. As opposed to being drawn to the world around us, we look to screen for guidance. With such a heavy influence on an impartial world or stimulations, and a vast amount of mis-representations; we are less inclined to engage in the physical world around us. I have always been reluctant of a growing world dominated by technology, especially because I work in a medium that to me is completely about the experience of discovery and the use of tools out of necessity.
I am currently thinking about a way in which to connect solar technology into my own studio work. I am interested in the idea of applying an artistic mind to that of a medium routed completely in the grounds of technology. I am interested in capturing the essence of myself in my work, in other words my own physical and mental energy. I recently have been watching a vast number of informational videos on how to build custom solar panels. What I have been finding is that I can make a panel able of producing between 60w-80watts of energy for under a hundred dollars. To me these solar objects will literally have a physical energy that runs through their very frame. The idea is to investigate a new way of designing solar panels with an artistic approach, both visually and conceptually. Even though the craft of the twenty first century is being lead by machines, the human behind the machine still comes to the table with prior craft knowledge as to make an object successful.
I am seeking to create a grid between the handmade and the science of solar. There is a need to imprint the gesture of the human hand onto and through the machine. There is now more of a hunger to find the real through technology. In craft today there are so many utilitarian objects that they tend to lack any unexpected stories and are being seen for exactly what they are. Through my new body of work I hope to understand a new medium and interpret it on a human scale, thus allowing myself to explore the way in which we interact with solar architectural forms.
Also please feel free to check out my new website at ForestGagne.com
Here lies a collection of my final photographs from this past school year. After countless woodworking classes over the past three years I decided that it was time to venture out into photography. Through which I have learned a great deal this past semester, but most importantly I learned the value of perspective. In Wood-working we often speak very literal about what is in front of our eyes in terms of work, but in order to venture deep into the unconscious mind I decided to wander into the conceptual realm of color photography. Through photography I have become enlightened to the value of the unseen, by this I am now able to address aspects of my work that from the surface may not be inherent but through one’s own perspective can truly be revealed. True beauty comes when we least expect it, our own inner beauty may truly be revealed when we allow ourselves to become comfortable with our surroundings. Once we are able to find a balance amongst the light that surrounds our physical and mental being then and only then can we truly reach a state of euphoric bliss. Our thoughts and feelings will always manifest themselves into that which we most desire. Onward I go to my next work of art. OM MANI PADME HUM
Already in the living tree, the wood has died. Once it lived, and made the new ring of growth. Then the living parts of the cells died, leaving the cell walls as wood. When the whole tree dies, its usual fate is to rot, disintegrate, eventually to go back into soil. My path with woodworking is to rescue wood and allow it to live again. We are left in awe by the nobility of a tree, its eternal patience, its suffering caused by man and sometimes nature, its witness to thousands of years of earths history, its creation of fabulous beauty. It does nothing but good, with its prodigious ability to serve, it gives off its bounty of oxygen while absorbing gases harmful to other living things. The tree and its soul live on. Its fruits feed us. Its branches shade and protect us. And, finally, when time and weather bring it down, its body offers timber for our houses and boards for our furniture. Thus allowing for the tree to live on.
My latest body of work is about fusing a world of quiet nature with the idea that we as individuals can live within nature, thus allowing us to connect to our most purest form of being. My goal is to create dwellings that are extensions of the ground beneath our feet. Our psyche is dependent on the serene landscape of the unconscious mind that longs for a world of stillness. I believe that through investigating how living organisms interact with nature in its purest form can help us to understand new innovations in architecture and design. It has become for me a question of living a life of great beauty in isolation, or of going out into the world and bringing light. There is within me an instinctive resistance to withdraw from the life I known. I have concluded that I have to fight for truth outside the nature’s protective environment. Through this I seek with my work to understand how living things in nature grow from seed and how and why living organism choose such dwellings to call home. My intent is to continue on the path the Frank Lloyd Wright began many years ago, in that I will create dwellings that can stand within nature and take up no more space then that of a tree. My designs are meant to not be literal interpretations of dwellings but more of a conceptual idea of how design can grow from nature and be pure of the modern worlds influence.
One cannot construct a highly sophisticated building or run a large-scale dwelling by being inactive, negative or pessimistic. Thus, there is an intensely active side to many aspects of Karma Yoga, that which is that path of action. By working with wood I am able to articulate through my hands the importance and the perfection of naturalistic design through organic forms. Working on a smaller scale I am able to understand what makes design successful in terms of forms reminiscent of nature. Organic architecture involves a respect for the properties of the materials. One does not twist steel into a flower, but instead has a respect for the harmonious relationship between the form/design and the function of the building. Organic architecture is also an attempt to integrate the spaces into a coherent whole: a marriage between the site and the structure and a union between the context and the structure.