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Art Toy Design: Week 1

This week we worked on customizing our own peg dolls, as well as creating concept sketches for our art toy that we'll be working on this semester

Peg Doll:

I had the idea to create swappable heads for my peg doll and was inspired by platonic solids and how they pertain to sacred geometry. In sacred geometry, platonic solids represent the basic elements or building blocks that make up all matter on earth. These shapes are said to appear throughout nature from crystals, to flowers, to our very DNA.

Each platonic solid represents a specific element. There are a few extra shapes, such as the sphere , which represents "the void" or the gateway between different dimensions and the Merkaba Star which represents "divine light".

I was really taken with the natural wood of the peg doll and wanted to create the other shapes using the same material. The issue is that I very little woodworking skills. So I decided to design them in 3D and print them out of wood filament (a material I've never used before but always wanted to). I wanted to pay reverence to this sacred geometry, so I thought I would make a pedestal that these heads can sit atop of.

render of the heads in ZBrush

I created the platonic solids in Solidworks, which was a lot harder than I thought it would be for some of them. Others I could easily create in ZBrush. I then took all the files into ZBrush to size them according to the .STL file of the original peg doll.

Once those were made, I had to start on the pedestal. I wanted to be able to remove the doll from the pedestal, so I designed it to fit inside.

preliminary pedestal design

organic details sculpted in ZBrush once I printed the first version to test for fit

After the design was finalized, I began to test various finishing techniques, as well as trying to best figure out how accurately to drill holes into the wood to fit the magnets inside.

all the different tests and versions of the designs

After successfully printing all the shapes, I was a bit disappointed to see that they were darker than the peg doll. I wanted to maintain the natural look of the wood but also wanted to make my prints look more like the wood. I tested a couple different varnishes, but unfortunately didn't find one I was satisfied with that looked good on both the 3D prints and the original wood peg doll.

So I ended up leaving them unfinished. I liked the idea of thinking these objects as hand made or hand carved, and wanted to convey that feeling in the final piece - including the pedestal.

Here's the final result below:

If I had more time, I would have liked to test more paint variations, maybe even tinted varnishes on the prints as well as the wood piece. I was happy with the craftsmanship and the wood filament printed much better than I expected.

Art Toy Design: Concept Sketches

I had a really hard time with this one this week. I came to this class with a lot of ideas and picking just one was difficult.

Many of my projects over the past year have been about creating awareness and interest of the plight of critically endangered or recently extinct animal species. I've done a few projects in the past with specific animals and thought this class would be a good opportunity to create an art toy of a specific animal of interest.

I decided to focus on bats for this project. From my research, they are extremely important animals that make up around 25 percent of all mammals. They are called sentinel or indicator species as their decline is an early signal of larger environmental issues that spread to many more animals and plants in their ecosystem.

Over the past few years, bats in the US in particular have been plagued by a fatal fungal disease called White Nose Syndrome (WNS) that disrupts their hibernation patterns and causes a myriad of other health issues.

Hibernation in bats is extremely important. Due to habitat reduction, climate change and WNS, bats are struggling to hibernate properly and are dying off as a result.

Inspired by this issue, I wanted to create an art toy of a very sleepy bat. For the variations I want to make a version that's more sinister, maybe a dead bat or a bat that's been infected - zombie bat? In any case, this bat really needs to sleep and our presence is keeping it awake.

As for the form, I tend to make cute looking things and decided not to question that decision too much but I really want to play with angles, scale and style to exaggerate various features. The original design is loosely inspired by the Little Mariana Fruit Bat, which is an extinct bat found in Guam, who's related to the endangered Mariana Fruit Bat.

some images of various bat species that I used for inspiration

early concept sketches, playing with face shapes, body shapes, pose ideas etc.

The form needs some work, I really struggled doing a top and bottom sketch and didn't include it here because I could just not figure out what it looked like. I also want to play with the face shape and body shape to exaggerate the look even more. I'm not sold on the fur, I think I want to experiment creating stylized fur for this particular sculpt. I have a feeling the first iteration in 3D will look quite different than the sketch. BUT, this did help me hone in the concept more and come up with a dynamic pose that I like.


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