This week has seen a series of culminations of the studio’s work towards the exhibit “Woodflows: tracking VA forest products from whips to waste.” As such, it has been a rather hectic week, but also a very rewarding one.
On Monday, we all printed our wood process diagrams from our various site visits, as well as put finishing touches on our lexicon, materials, and model booklets. The three display panels in the Naug were measured and everything pinned up. The work went up without any mishaps, except that Kelly decided to make a section cut of her thumb while working on sample boxes (thankfully, she is recovering quickly).
On Wednesday, we began the final stage of the semester with a visit to Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries which is headquartered near 5th Street in Charlottesville. We had a chance to speak with the director, Rydell Paine, who was gracious enough to take us on a tour of the site and give us an overview of some expectations that the group has for interventions in the site. These included moving children’s play from the front of the house to the back, creating a welcoming front area which would be attractive to community residents but would deter vandalism, and creating outdoor meeting areas.
The next stage of this project will consist of brainstorming and drafting a general presentation to the Abundant Life board of proposed interventions in the site. Of course, we will be using salvaged wood as a primary material and as formwork for concrete modules.
On Thursday, our co-instructor, Lionel Devlieger, returned from Belgium and took a quick tour of our exhibit as we put the finishing touches on the map and book display shelves. We rehearsed our presentation on Friday, as Ryan and Delia’s video was unveiled to wide-spread fascination and wonder. On Friday we also discussed our two reading texts of the semester, Ivan Illich’s Tools for Conviviality and Victor Papanek’s Design for the Real World.
On Saturday, our instructor Lucia Phinney graciously invited us to her home for a studio dinner. We took a tour of some of the groundbreaking additions to the home and its grounds, and ate delicious salmon and other dishes prepared by our host. The evening ended with the viewing of the brightest moon in eighteen years.
Finally, this work culminated in Sunday’s gallery talk in which we presented our work and discussed potential futures. The attendees included Charles Becker from the Virginia Department of Forestry, faculty members (Dean Tanzer, Peter Waldman, Robin Dripps, John Quale, Karolin Möllmann, Melissa Goldman, Jana VanderGoot) and many students. The discussion was very fascinating as it touched on the following questions:
What can be considered waste?
How can one create a demand for more sustainable wood products?
How does one follow the story of wood products into the realm of the consumer?
How can one avoid downcycling?
How can the research be expanded and distributed to those who can use it?
Is this the start of a new approach to materials in the design professions?