Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hiraku Dorodango

I crafted a hiraku dorodango over the course of about three weeks using the directions from Craft Magazine (RIP) and

I started with sifted dirt from my own yard. I felt that this project would be more meaningful with soil with which I had a connection rather than going and buying a bag of dirt.

It was easier than I thought to get the initial sphere formed and to work much of the water towards the surface through repetitive tumbling in my hands.


I did not use a refrigerator for the "sweats" between adding more layers of fine dirt and tumbling. At first I tried to hurry the process but realized that was futile.

The transformation of the dorodango from a ball of dull dirt was amazing. The act of adding fine dirt to further draw out the moisture temporarily transformed the appearance until continued tumbling restored its rich, leathery luster. 

My hiraku dorodango's final appearance was different than I expected: less uniform (I can see three different types of soil that make up the dirt in that part of my yard), splintered with cracks from drying out (there must be a good amount of clay) but stable. It is truly an otherworldly artifact from this world.

I would describe the process of crafting a hiraku dorodango as mindless mindfulness. I cannot wait to make another with soil from another meaningful location.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Cybernetic Forest

"Cybernetic Forest" is a nod to Richard Brautigan and an electronically enhanced ink drawing. I programmed the Logo routines for the parts of the drawing and the LogoTurtle drew them for me. Once the drawing was completed I created a circuit using conductive copper tape. Chibitronics electronic stickers make the magic happen.

I started by programming the trees. 

Some trees have foliage, but the big gray one lived out its life.

There are multiple layers of grasses.

The circuit was built on polyester. It was rough traced first with a dry erase pen.

The circuit uses the Chibitronics light sensor sticker and twinkle effect sticker to control the circuit.

LEDs are connected so they alternate and do not all twinkle in unison.

I cut two mats, one for the front and one for the back. This way if I take the frame down from the wall I can show people the circuitry.

A 3D printed battery holder is connected to the circuit.

The light sensor sticker detects brightness and gradually turns on the LED as the room dims.

Here is the complete set of photos.

Cybernetic Forest