Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sculpture Week • 2014

Success! We again managed to squeeze Sculpture Week into our summer calendar. Sculpture Week is a week during which my husband, David and I put all our other work on hold and devote the entire week to a collaborative outdoor sculpture project. We spend all year collecting ideas and discussing, and then approach the week with a thought and a goal. This year we designed and built 13 totem trees from aluminum flashing......


And we love them! They are simple yet stunning, contemporary yet a natural theme, and inexpensive and easy to create.




So easy that we just kept making them!

The plan is to have groupings of them scattered through our gardens and forest paths and we are still moving them around.


 We loved the individual elements - the curves......

And the materials.

And the photographic possibilities..........


About the process.......

We collect ideas and consider materials for months. We are limited in what we can produce by the tools we have but also by the fact that we want an outdoor sculpture. This piece was inspired by an image that crossed my Pinterest space sometime ago.


It is a small ribbon tree in tablescape size from a Scandinavian website Loppelilla. I loved is simplicity but knew I wanted it large. I saw it in aluminum. We often start the planning by roaming around Home Depot and Lowes looking for material inspiration.  I had seen the rolled aluminum flashing used in roof work and we put the two thoughts together. Along with one of my go-to materials - PVC pipe.


David did some experiments with the possibilities of drilling into the aluminum and discovered that a circle cutter works just fine! He developed a jig for holding the material in place. Meanwhile I created a scale model using paper and a straw (forgot to photograph). I used the disassembled models to get measurements for spacing of holes which we them expanded to fit a 10 ft. actual sculpture.


Below is the first threading of aluminum onto PVC. We learned a few things quickly. 
1. The PVC had been spray painted black, and it got badly damaged by the sliding aluminum. A solution would be needed.
2. The aluminum got droopy if the curves were too long and we would need a solution for that.
3. We loved them.




See the lower droops? We didn't like those.


Solutions:

1. Spray paint: We switched to flat black because we liked it better and we read the can. It said cure time on plastic was much longer - at least 24 hours but best after 5 days. We painted more PVC and waited the 24 hours but then used 4 strips of blue painters tape to protect the PVC as we slid the aluminum into place.



We then peeled the tape off after assembly. The black stayed pristine.


2. We taped some of the droopy limbs to upper ones, liked the shape better, and ordered a supply of specialty stainless steel nuts and bolts to tie the lower branches together.


At certain points during construction the trees were covered with blue spots!

As always, we experimented with alternatives.......


And then went into production.....


Always taking time to celebrate!

And take pictures!


About Sculpture Week:

The first annual "Sculpture Week" occurred in 2009. It was followed by new versions in 2010 and 2011 but in 2012 we were diverted, possibly by a new grand baby. In 2013 we went on a rather extended road trip and missed out on the tradition yet again. We are very pleased to get focused and return to the tradition this year.  Here are a few photos and links to the previous years' creations.




© 2014 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bunk Bed Progress

It was a whirlwind 4 days but so productive. The goal was to change a medium sized bedroom (12 x13') into 2 separate bunk rooms. I shared the plan here and now have photos of the process. Remember, this was designed to be built in Connecticut, loaded into our small pick-up and delivered and installed in Pennsylvania.

Here is the truck arriving in PA. Neighbors helped move all the panels up the 10 steps to the front door and then then up again to the second floor bedroom.

Here is the room that we were dividing. Our daughter had just about emptied it out before we arrived.


And I'll skip right to the end to show where we left this same room 3.5 days later. Here is a view of the top bunk side - the mattress hasn't be moved back in yet. But we had successfully re-assembled, insulated, drywalled, taped, spackled, and trimmed the entire structure including hanging 2 doors.

The new space is decidedly small but each half gives both grandchildren needed private space. 

Here is the original plan:


Here are some photos of the process. 

Logistics were tight. The plan included the order pieces arrived at the 2nd floor and where they were put. This is beginning assembly. Larger panels had been divided into smaller units to fit in the truck. Those pieces had to be reassembled. Luckily, I love jigsaw puzzles! Several pieces of furniture including the crib needed to stay. That just added to the logistical issues.

The first walls are getting connected below.  The pieces did fit! It was constructed 1.5" shorter than the room and as a free-standing structure. There are a few hidden screws that attach it to existing studs near door and window frames but the entire unit can be taken apart and removed with very minimal repairs needed to the original room. Later trim was added to cover the gap at the top but that space was needed to allow us to swing the walls up into place.


We had a team of 4 and in order to be most productive, different things were happening all the time. Josh started insulating even before all the walls were in place.


After the  bunk unit was in location, the door walls were added. These went at an angle and create a small hall space that had access to the exisitingwalk-in closet.

Second door unit being installed.....


Josh was the one with electrical experience. He relocated the ceiling light to add a light over each door. You can get a glimpse of some of the directions written in marker to help with reassembly. I had jotted little notes everywhere- and they definitely helped!


Amy became chief taper and spackler. She has skills slinging the mud! Drying time for the spackle held up progress more than anything else, and she had purchased the quick dry variety.

Here is a partial view of the side with the lower bunk. That half saw less attention because the baby had alternative sleeping quarters. My grandson (visiting his other grandparents for these few days) was going to need a sleeping spot upon his return. And pictures are few because this side was also storage space for stuff. Both sides are the same finished dimensions. This side has one window.

David was chief problem solver and kept me sane. He worked in tandem with me just getting it all together. What a team! We set up a crosscut saw table for doing the trim work right in place. Talk about tight quarters. Here David is fine tuning the trim to fit against existing trim work.


By this point we knew everything was going to work. The toughest part was hanging the doors. I had used pre-hung doors but I haven't installed any in about 35 years. There was a learning curve there! First door took about 3 hours to get it swinging to our liking. The second took about 30 minutes. Amy is still spackling and David is trimming.


This is the first time we have had access to both a crosscut saw and a nailing gun for a construction project. Very nice on both counts! 

Below view is from the current hallway looking through the original bedroom door. You can see straight down Zoe's bunk room. The crib will move out once she is ready for her "big girl" bunk bed. For now that will be a play platform. 


Here is a view down the new hall located between the 2 bunk rooms. The shared double closet is on the left.

Each day, Taylor got to visit and see the changes.  He is a very excited little boy and looking forward to the new digs.




Access to the bunk bed is via an IKEA step storage unit. Levels were designed with that in mind. Drawers and toys still need to be moved in.


We left exhausted and not 100% complete. We did manage to finish to a point where Taylor's side was close to done. First coat of paint was on the walls. Amy finished it that night and Taylor came home for a nap in the new bed the next day.

Since that day, Amy has continued working. She has painted all the trim on Taylor's side, caulked the remaining trim, finished spackling and sanding Zoe's side and the hall and hopes to prime those this weekend. Meanwhile Taylor's bed has been made and he has a cozy nook for sleeping.

Hopefully more photos will follow!

©2014 Marji Roy, Ashbee Design


Friday, June 20, 2014

Extreme Bunk Beds • Thinking Outside the Box

A new challenge has me working in something other than paper for the past couple of weeks. Instead I am in the middle of a unique construction project. It all started because my grandson and granddaughter need to share a bedroom but they are of very different ages and personalities. It was clear that a shared room wasn't a great solution so I started thinking outside the box looking for a better solution. And I created a plan for a bunk bed wall.


I designed a structure for the center of the room that extends from floor to ceiling, bunks the beds and includes new walls and doors to make each space private.  I worked in Sketchup and created the 3D drawing so others could see what I was trying to describe with words and understand how it went together.

The bedroom was perfect for this solution because of the location of windows and doors. The two doors (one into the hall and the other into a big double closet) were centered on the same wall. There are three windows well placed so that both bunk rooms have their own window and the space between the windows was more than the width of a standard twin bed. This configuration allowed for the bunk tower in the center. Because the room was longer than the beds I added a cubby at the foot of each bed. I expect it will become either a puppet theater or playhouse on my granddaughter's side and a tree fort or overlook on my grandson's side. In either case it provides an additional space for some creative play.


But the most challenging part of this project is that I have designed it to be built in Connecticut in my garage, dismantled and rebuilt in their home in Pennsylvania! In reality, all the framing is being done here. We will do the drywall, spackling and painting in place. But I have the structure complete, all assembled with screws.


It will come apart in panels and and fit in our pick-up truck for transportation to PA in the middle of July (I hope!). I'll post more photographs of the progress. I expect it to be quite an experience requiring additional undiscovered problem solving!

©2014 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy