10. Foundation 3D Design

Taught Twice
University of Cincinnati
Fall 2016 / Fall 2017

This course focuses on the development and analysis of form and the fundamental elements of three-dimensional design. Students learn about material qualities and capacities, shape and volume, weight and emphasis, fabric and skin, geometric and organic figures and kinetics. 
Lines of the Body:
The line project was developed as a way to get the student to respond to the shape of the body through the use of line. The process started with days of figure sketching and modeling. Students would observe the lines of the model in the positions of their body and sketch the different categories of curves and lines, like parabolic or trajectory, they were observing. These sketches ultimately were translated into 3D models using wiring and a soldering iron. The final wire sculptures before being mounted to a base were photographed interacting with the body. 

Salt Block Chaos:
The salt block project was a complete failure, but through that failure the students and the faculty learned a huge amount about the capacities of the foundations studio. Students created organic models from clay that evoked a sense of movement and curve. From there the students were given a 50lb livestock salt block from which they were to carve out their organic shape. Unfortunately this process was way easier said than done. Many of the students perservered in the face of frustration however at the last moment of the project, on critique day, the project was cancelled by the administration due to the affect the salt was having on the facilities. At the end of the salt block we were left with over 1200lbs of salt without a home. In the wake of the project being cancelled students were informed that they would all be receiving full credit on the project. As an act of protest many students started destroying their salt blocks.

Teaching Reflections: This course taught me how to talk about failure with my students. While the salt block project was seemingly a complete disaster, it brought together the students and faculty in a moment of frustration and dissastifaction with the university. The camaraderie that was developed left a space for us educators to have conversations about how to learn from failure. How to emotionally handle when a project or an idea is unable to come to a place of completion and how ultimately in the design industry you often find yourself having to divorce yourself from your ego’s relationship with your ideas because someone might decide to not go forward with a proposal. 

Foundation 3D Design Syllabus