Last Friday my niece Nicole was married. When I first heard about the wedding my brain went to work thinking of the various things I can make for table centerpieces. The first idea was to harvest white birch bark to create cylindrical candle covers with heart shaped windows. The first problem facing me with this plan was it was the middle of winter, not the appropriate time to harvest bark from living trees.
The next idea was to cut small sections of tree branches and somehow transform them into candle holders. Vertically standing sections were not stable enough for my satisfaction. The last thing I wanted was to have tall candles falling over on the tables at the reception. Instead I decided to plane a flat side on the branch to lay the wood horizontally on the table. I carved a recess in the wood to hold a tea candle. The result is in the photo above.
My favorite part of the centerpieces were the LED firefly lamps I designed. I built 15 hollow wooden boxes to act as a bases and to hide two AA batteries. Rising from the center of each base is a small steel rod to support the shade and yellow flickering LED arrays I soldered together. The randomly flickering LED lights cast distorted circles on the shade, creating the illusion of fireflies or a gentle fire. A florist provided beautiful and unique floral arrangements to compliment the centerpiece as a whole.
This animation was inspired by the music of Keaton Henson and Elizabeth Harrod’s beautiful dance performance in the To Your Health video. The animation consists of 2490 4″ x 3″ Sharpie drawings on paper drafted over the course of six months. No drawing appears twice in the sequence.
This animation was a personal project to challenge my patience, technical know-how and artistic skills. I decided to tackle the project during December 2014. After a few test sequences I calculated the project to be complete in June 2015. That calculation was based on each frame taking fifteen seconds to draw; that calculation was not accurate. Many of the intricate drawings required upwards of four minutes to complete. Also, as can be expected, many drawings needed to be redrawn for various reasons.
Thanks to my friend Charlie England for simplifying the process of photographing the individual drawings. Charlie engineered an automated camera shutter and light controller specifically for the task. With one button press several photographs were taken of each drawing with various lighting configurations. These variations provided compositing versatility when assembling the animation on the computer.
I worked on this project on the train during my commute, on the couch in front of the TV, on my Hawaiian vacation and any other place I found to sit to work. The task was relaxing and, for the most part, induced a calm state of mind. My imagination was permitted to wander while my eyes and hands were focused on the task of drawing. While creating this project I learned more than I imagined about drawing, anatomy and motion.