Half an I.P.
One semester down. One to go.
Teshia Treuhaft is currently chained to her desk documenting the process of surviving senior year at A&D and her obsession with wood veneer.
As 2011 comes to a close and the famed Michigan winter sets in, Integrative Progress (IP) is heading towards its first major progress milestone. The IP students now find themselves in the final leg of the semester and will be presenting what we’ve done to a group of professors in a one-hour individual consultation.
With that on the horizon, I thought it might just be time to (briefly) articulate what I’ve been doing to the blogging world, as I will be asked to do it in a far more intimate (and for many, intimidating) situation in a few days. IP is often the first time that as young artists and designers we can really dive in and develop our skills and concepts on a project of this scale. It requires that we attempt to bring them together in a way that shows the complexity of both the thinking and the making we have done in the past 3.5 years.
Since I’ve gone on and on about the nifty skills I’ve been working on, here is an abbreviated peek of all the good thinking I’ve been trying to do as well:
My IP project grew from an interest in Scandinavian furniture (you didn’t see that one coming – I know…) and a view that furniture can convey much more than a place to sit or set your cup of coffee. I had known that I would be designing seating for a while, however the specifics of why and how stayed foggy since this year.
The entire project started by trying to do something that I was neither prepared to do, nor particularly interested in (but I won't bore you with that sort of thing). But luckily in IP, we have some guiding forces in the form of professors who help us navigate the terrain of art and design making. Sometimes it just comes down to plugging away at the bad ideas until you have a good one and can scrap everything else you've been trying to do.
And the shift happened in the form of a word.
To Full-Body Gesture
I had been on this track to try and create a piece of furniture that did something, that affected in a certain way, that designed for a particular result post-production. That type of design, while perhaps being a great project, was starting a marathon at mile 23. I realized that it would not allow me to explore my own process in the way I wanted in IP (Major Lesson #1).
So instead I pulled back in my thinking (Major Lesson #2) and had some conversations with my peers and professors about my personal process and how to even design a chair (something that takes years to learn how to do effectively) and how I was going to try.
Thusly I began with a different starting point. Instead of beginning with how the seating should be used, I began with how the body can be used and I’m going to let the seating follow.
I had the pleasure of Anya Klapischak (of the UM Artists & Designers Coming Out Project) loaning me her considerable knowledge of dance to begin studying the human form and translate it into the structure that would be used to support it. This was a major turning point as it opened up a whole new conceptual realm around body, movement, furniture and dance and their intuitive connection that I found fascinating. Likewise it allowed me to pick the brain of people who know a lot more about these topics than I do (Major Lesson #3)
These drawings are in their early iterations but will eventually result in a series of chairs that design for the human body from the human body.