think ABSURDLY …

weathered wood quote02

Love this quote and concept. Be different. Be daring. Be you.

Note: My hope with this blog is to help inspire others, and sometimes (ok, all the time) it’s more to remind myself of what I need to do in my own life !

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spanish WISDOM …

pica_magazine_studio-m18

It’s time to get out of your own way!!! I’ve been blocking myself for years and years and still working on it as I type. If you’ve never failed, then you’ve never tried something new … pretty sure I read that quote, or something close to that, on Instagram or Facebook yesterday … I know you get the point ;)

Disclaimer: the background image was not created/photographed by yours truly.

REintroducing 10 BLOCKS …

10blocks collage

48w . 22d . 16h
plywood . glass

10 Blocks came about when I drew it graphically in plan and instantly loved it. Then I extruded each square in my head and knew it would be beautiful. Simple and elegant…just like me, hahaha!

Since it was such a simple design, I asked Don if he’d quickly build it for a furniture show I had in April 2014, and he did it masterfully. Each square block is an individual piece, so they could be arranged in any order preferred by 10 Blocks’ future owner. Have fun with it!

REintroducing 23 DEGREES …

23degrees collage

24w . 6d . 6h
plywood . plumbing pipes

I honestly don’t remember where the idea came about for 23 Degrees. Sometimes, I’d set out on sketching sprees and just see what comes out of this creative genius. I suppose this was how this piece came to appear on paper. Only the universe knows that answer, I suppose. I will admit that the pipe attachments were borrowed from something I saw on the information super highway. But the wood, that was all me. Keep your minds out of the gutter, people.

REintroducing MY BABY …

my baby collage

48w . 21d . 19h
plywood . steel . glass
not for sale

Oh where do I start?! Unfortunately for all you single men in this world, My Baby is the love of my life. I was pretty excited about the Furniture Design and Construction class I had to take my senior year of Interior Design at ASU, but I had no idea I could create THIS! Go ahead, I don’t mind…tell me what you think of her and include as many positive adjectives as you’d like.

I started out sketching a bunch of random -and what seemed like meaningless- shapes in my sketchbook and pasting in different images of furniture and architectural shapes I found interesting (some of which were Santiago Calatrava’s work). Then the shapes continued to evolve with depth and then 3-dimensions and then I realized I was onto something here. Then I started building chipboard models to see how the table would stand on its own. I started with this twisted rendition of what you see here (it curved both vertically and horizontally). This was not as stable, nor was it visually necessary. So, I simplified it by straightening it out in the vertical plane. And what really sold me on this more simplified design was when I decided on the materials to be used, as they would be the magic of this piece: carved plywood, gun-blued steel and glass.

My design was set. Now for the scary part of building it for reals. I started with the wood as that would be the most time consuming and the highlight of the piece. I spent countless hours in the woodshop carving that phallic piece of wood, looking sexy in crappy shop clothes, safety glasses and a mask, and I loved every second of it. People would come up to me while I was working and ask “what kind of wood is that?” “Oh, you’re so adorable and I love you for asking that…its plywood from Home Depot that cost me $18 for one sheet.” (If only it still cost that today!)

As the wood got closer to the shape I wanted, I started on the steel. I should say WE started on the steel because working with metal is WAY different than working with wood and I had no clue what to do. So I started by making a full size chipboard mockup of the metal piece and fitting the wood into it. Strangely, the mockup worked out perfectly and that became the template for cutting the sheet steel shapes. Now I had 5 flat pieces of steel and was like, um yeah, so how do these get welded together now? I was quickly instructed and the metal piece started taking shape. I tack-welding (quite terribly, I might add) the whole piece and then awesome shop guy Tom made it all better. Then I was off to grinding down the welds all around the edges of the piece. That part I could handle…And check out the bad ass sparks it made!!!

My creation was really starting to come together. The metal rod was next. I bought a 12″ long solid metal rod which we cut to make the top and bottom pieces, welded a cut screw onto the top piece, threaded the bottom piece, ordered the glass with a small hole in it and screwed the metal rod through the hole in the glass…yeah, that was a quick description of how that all worked and may not make sense to most of you. But trust me, it’s really cool how it all fits together. The whole table is structured around each material penetrating one another. Man, there are so many sexual innuendos in furniture construction…that’s how I should have known this was the path for me!

my baby collage constr

REintroducing TRIPLE D …

tripleD collage

24w . 24d . 16h
plywood . concrete

Triple D was the first piece I, Dawn, had someone else build. My cousin hooked me up with a friend of his, Don, who was woodworking as a hobby. Then I recruited my good friend in Arizona, Danny, who did concrete. You guys catching on to where the table’s name came from?

Function #1: resting place for cups and books. Function #2: holding a plant. One example of my likeness toward designing multi-functional furniture…and seriously, what’s better than a table that’s also a planter?! Why have a plant on top of the table blocking you from the tv remote sensor or your dog knocking it off the table with his tail? Duh.

I wanted to ease Don into my plywood shenanigans so I started with this more simple piece that I designed a long time ago and always wanted to bring to life. I sent Don my technical drawing, we discussed the type of ply to use, how to lighten the weight, how ply acts, etc. and Don got started on his first plywood masterpiece. Then I sent Danny the dimensions of the concrete planter, picked a color, and Danny was too on his merry way. Danny completed the planter quickly and shipped it to Don to size the notch perfectly. They both sent me photos of their works in progress while I was at home twitching a little with excitement to see it all come together in person. And finally that day came. There was some angelic song and soft fluffy clouds and heavenly gates and stuff. No big deal.

REintroducing CUBEY …

cubey collage

48w . 16d . 16h
plywood . nickel

Cubey was a definite test of trial and error…and error…and then some more error. 99% of my designs include me thoroughly thinking through how the piece will be constructed. I love that part just as much as I love coming up with cool shit to make. But Cubey, well, he was a bit different. I got really excited about this spirally shaped large coffee table structured around all-thread and exposed bolts…yeah, nice try Dawn, but no way that was going to hold this monster together. It was a visual beauty and a structural mess. Thankfully, I’m such a great designer that I rallied, sketched up a few more ideas, discussed it with my woodworker, and voila, the Cubey you see here was born! It’s those errors that lead to greater more bad ass ideas and how I grow as a person and a designer every day! Yay me! ;)

So now for the story about the silver “dots” on the top of the table. At my last job, we tended to move around the office fairly often, as people come and go or move to different teams. On moving day, as I was getting settled in my new desk, I saw these cool looking modern round metal objects under the desk. I went up to the past tenant and asked if she wanted them back, just because that was the right thing to do, but in my head, I was thinking these are cool and they shall be mine. She told me they were door stops (they would install on the floor or ceiling to stop a door from swinging open too far) and she didn’t really need them anymore. Told you they’d be mine.

I left them in my desk drawer for probably over a year until Cubey came into my world. I wanted there to be a decorative and functional purpose to the hardware at the top of the table. I was thinking of solid steel rod cut down to fit in the holes, or using some giant bolts that look neat, or some other material. And then the lightbulb popped out from the top of my head (like for reals, it felt just like that in my head)…wait, what about those random doorstops I have in my desk drawer? Hmmmm. Went to work, pulled them out and was like, hell yeah, these are perfect and pretty and OMG! Way to be resourceful and reuse stuff. Your welcome, Earth. Mailed them to my woodworker and voila, Cubey’s top just got sexier and cost me nothing!

Damn, 2 paragraphs about doorstops…hope you’ll return tomorrow to learn more about Triple D.

REintroducing CURVES …

curves collage

24w . 6d . 2h
plywood

2 shelves with an integral wall cleat. I created this design with the intention of not exposing the face of the plywood. As you have seen, a lot of my pieces are designed with this in mind…for a number of reasons: I can use less expensive plywood, it is much more challenging to design, and the beauty of cutting through those layers is unparalleled (at least in my opinion and hopefully I have changed all of yours by now too!).

Curves was another reminder of how incredibly not convenient it is to do woodworking while living in NYC with no car, no where to store anything and no way to be at the woodshop to receive wood deliveries.  Curves was built when I was living in Brooklyn and a member of 3rd Ward (OMG, I just now discovered that they closed their doors in 2013…so sad), where I had access to a woodshop.  I worked near Home Depot in Flatiron, so I set out at lunchtime to buy a 2’ x 4’ sheet of ½” thick plywood, which I then carried almost 1 avenue and 3 streets back to the office. And yes, even though I’m super buff, I still had to put it down a few times, take a breath and then continue. Thankfully, I worked for a company that had tradesmen with saws (Does that statement turn anyone else on?…no? Just thought I’d ask.) so they cut the sheet down into strips and taped up the strips, equipped with a NYC “tape handle” (all you city peeps know what that is) so I could more easily commute 45 minutes with my newly acquired plywood. Keep in mind, it was no less heavy and uncomfortable to carry, it was just in a different shape. Yeah, so this was the 2nd and LAST furniture piece I made while living in NYC…maybe a smaller, lighter hobby would have been better?!? Paper crafts? Jewelry making?…

REintroducing ELEMENTS …

element collage

16w . 16d . 16h
plywood . tealights

2 tables, each with 2 holes for standard tealights and cubbies to store pillows, blankets, books, toys, etc.  They can be set up together as a coffee table or end tables on either side of your sofa.

Elements was the second piece I built with my own hands and it came about when I realized that I couldn’t possibly handle the original, much larger, table design.  I went to the shop all ready to build a large coffee table, started cutting three sheets of plywood into the necessary size layers when I realized “Oh shit, this piece takes 3 sheets of plywood to build, which means it will weigh as much as 3 sheets of plywood (duh) and tiny me can barely lift 1 sheet!!!  Shit, now what?!?” I went back to the drawing board that night to rework my design to utilize all of the pieces I had already cut that day.  The following day, I was back at the shop with a new design that somewhat broke the table into 2 smaller tables…and the rest is history. Ah, the joys of being a green woodworker ;)

element collage gallery

Left to right: a local art exhibit at the Garnerville Arts Center in October 2013; a private show I arranged at a Manhattan furniture showroom in April 2014.

meet DAWN …

me

A sexy talented blue-eyed furniture designer. I’m sure that’s enough to peak your interest, but I’ll keep going…I’ve been in love with designing furniture for 13 years now, but I’ve been holding back, afraid that it would never be able to reciprocate that love. I would get back together with this passion for a few months and then run away again, leaving my sketches to collect dust on my bookshelf and hiding my models under my bed. Sadly, this has been a fairly regular on-and-off occurrence for the past 13 years. Now, I see that this relationship is meant to be – it needs to be. We can’t pretend any longer.

Three months ago, I left my secure well-paid full-time Manhattan job and city life in seek of my true self. I had misplaced it (and misused it) in order to survive a hectic, stressful lifestyle in NYC. Until my body started warning me through its aches and pains and shortness of breath; and my mind just wasn’t keeping up like it used to; and my heart…well, that had been shut down for quite some time. Even with all of this, it was still not an easy change, but also not as hard as you may think when it was truly the right thing for me. So these past 6 months of healing, exploring, self-loving have brought me back, once again, to my furniture design passion (not really shocking at all)…

Do you want to hear about how this passion came to be? Ok, I’ll tell you. My first piece (“My Baby”) was designed and built in my last year of college (talk about crappy timing to learn that I loved something else when I was already fully committed to Interior Design). The moment that I watched Tom (awesome shop guy) put that chunk of laminated plywood through the band saw, I was hooked (insert image of an old Looney Tunes cartoon where Bugs Bunny’s heart beats outside his chest). And that’s when I knew the bottom of that table would be exactly that – plywood – yet much bigger and heavier and all hand-carved by yours truly. By the way, doesn’t all of this woodworking business make me sound even sexier? Call me!

So that piece was magical to me. It was a challenging design, yet every piece fit together perfectly. Because I put my heart and soul into it! I spent countless hours sanding and grinding and mocking up and finishing each piece. And I had not enjoyed anything that much in a long time (other than getting drunk with friends, but you know what I mean). I had discovered something huge inside myself that is still living in there to this day and man, is it ready to ply! Get it?

I hope that you all have enjoyed my creative awesomeness and will come back for more as I continue to share. Your comments, suggestions, praise are all appreciated through either social media or email at rebirthisrad@gmail.com.