For most pieces I don’t prototype. It’s something that often isn’t necessary or which time has not been allocated for. So normally I isolate prototyping to areas that I consider to be particularly troublesome or unusual, and make a mock up of those bits alone so I can analyse.
I break this rule when I’m building a range of pieces. Either pieces that are intended to be repeated, or items which are built to sit alongside one another. At the moment I’m prototyping for both of these reasons, and a third one. The piece will be built for a customer and also for a Video Series, so the process of prototyping feels more essential. It’s an opportunity for both Helen and I to get a clear and fresh understanding of the processes and flow of the build, which helps out a lot when it comes to filming.
We’re actually working on several pieces at the minute, for a range that we want to be quick to build by hand, efficient on materials, and of course good to look at. These are all reasons that make prototyping a good idea, and if we succeed on the efficient part then it shouldn’t get too costly.
The design cycle is an exciting time. I find my mind racing faster than my hands can keep up with, which tends to be dangerous, and I’m not ashamed to employ a mix of methods to help with visualisation. This week it’s gone from doodles to stiff wire sticking out of waste wood, to bags of lime piled up to gauge height. I find a cordless drill and screws essential at this stage.
I’ve been working on the designs together with Helen, and I do enjoy the sharing of ideas and skills. (Even if that means having to take back certain unfortunate remarks.)