Week 9 & 10

The production phase finally began. I bought two pine chairs, a large board of pine cut into 32” pieces, and wood stain. I cut the pieces of pine to shapes that fit on the sides of the two chair backs, and screwed them into place so the two pieces functioned as one. I then sanded and stained all the wood so it was a rich dark brown.


Finding material for the dome that was firm but flexible material and that could be screwed into place but still moved up and down proved to be a challenge. I tried pvc pipe, wire, and even basswood, but ultimately went to a metal fabricator and had pieces of 16 gauge aluminum cut to 1” x 5 foot strips. The edges were very sharp so I had to file each side down by hand to make them safe for use. I punched holes in the ends and screwed them in so they were easily pushed up and down.


Sewing the wool was also problematic because I quickly realized that it would all have to be done by hand it I was to be sure that everything fit as tightly as possible. I wrapped each individual aluminum strip first so that I could go back in and have a material to attach the connecting segments of wool to. It was tedious work, and will have to be polished up before showing in a gallery space, but overall the hand-sewn effect worked very well with the overall aesthetic of the furniture.

I am very happy with the end result and how it was received. When I first sat inside the dome, I was very pleased with how the light filtered softly through the wool, and how with the hood pulled all the way down you feel enclosed but not at all smothered. Everyone immediately understood how to interact with the sculpture and I realized that watching the body language of the two participants speaking without seeing each other is also very revealing. Everyone who tried it gave me really positive feedback, confirming that being under the hood with someone else did indeed facilitate a closer kind of interaction, some people even rested their heads against one another as they spoke.


Getting to this point with this project was no simple task. My inspiration and the process it took to get here was the farthest thing from straight forward, but I am very pleased with the results. This atmosphere, reminiscent of being covered by a warm blanket, listening to the voice of someone you cannot see or touch in a conventional way is intimate in a very unique and meaningful way. I believe that what I created will not only instigate a conversation between two people but will make each individual focus in a new and more sensitive way on every word spoken within the dome.


In the weeks before the senior show I would like to adjust the dome so that it is a bit taller to accommodate taller people, and lifts a so that it is possible to enter without bending forward. I would also like to tidy up the wool pieces and stitches just for presentation’s sake.



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Week 7 & 8

I changed my construction plans once more over these two weeks before ultimately making a final decision. I constructed a scale model of a small tent that would house a table and a art deco style radio playing recorded phone conversations. The tent would have an exterior framework of painted wood to hold up thick felted wool. I would make the radio using the DMA laser cutter. Again, this project did not seem to imply the idea of intimacy that I wanted.


In week eight I finally presented my definitive design. It started out as two beds, connected at the head, where two participants would lie down opposite each other and pull down a wool dome to cover heads while they spoke. This would imply the intimacy of pillow talk except that the two would not be able to see one another.


I realized at this point that the intimacy that I was trying to provoke was unique because when two people are communicating without looking at one another, it is almost like the person listening is only half of the audience of the speaker, the other half being the speaker himself. When we are verbally communicating with a person who is out of sight, in some ways it feels that we are in limbo between solitude and companionship. In this way, we may both speak out loud to ourselves and hear another person’s voice separated from their body and inside our own head. From here the plan evolved into two chairs facing opposite directions.



Design Phase


Early stages of the tent model.


Deciding on how to connect the two chairs.


Inspiration behind how to construct the wool dome.

Week 5 & 6

By this time we were supposed to have a concrete plan for our final projects. I had decided that what I ultimately wanted to build was a sound chamber: a place where two people could experience the power of each other’s voices essentially whispering to each other from different locations. For my midterm I presented my idea to build a large-scale structure constructed of wood and translucent sound-blocking vinyl. Two participants would enter through a door-sized opening at the front and then walk to two separate ends where they would be unable to see each other, but could talk quietly and have their sound carried to the other end, mimicking a phone call.


I received feedback that while it was an ambitious plan, it would be very difficult- both financially and in terms of time- to complete by the end of the course. It was also suggested that I rethink my choice in building materials, because while the vinyl might successfully block the sound while still letting light in, it does not do much to elicit the feeling of intimacy that is so crucial to my overall project.


            Design PhasePrint

Week 3 & 4

Week three and four were meant for refining our research and starting to formulate ideas.


While gathering material on memories, I became frustrated with how broad the topic was and began to look elsewhere for inspiration. I stumbled upon an episode of This American Life from 1998 that centered on the power of the telephone call and was especially struck by host Ira Glass’ explanation of his own saved voice messages.


“It wasn’t like looking at photos. Pictures are posed. Pictures are these tiny little– they’re tiny. You can hold them in your hand. They’re 3-by-5. You can crush a picture. This was not posed. And it was not small. And part of that, I think, is just the power of recordings. And part of it was the fact that we were on the phone. There is something about being on the telephone. It’s just so intimate. Talking to a person on the phone, you are right there. You are so close. It’s like you’re whispering in each other’s ears.”


It was this bit of insight that prompted me to change course and refocus my research.


           “What are you investigating?


In this project I will investigate the personal and malleable nature of memories generated from first hand experiences.


In this project I will investigate the power and intimacy of spoken communication, such as that experienced when talking on the telephone.”


This set me back a bit on the timeline of the class, but I was confident in my new direction. I explored many different options for possible projects but none really cut to the heart of what I wanted to say.


            “To Whom Do You Say It? How Do You Say It?


My audience will be my peers and instructors here at UCLA, as well as the visitors of the senior show later this year. But my piece could be experienced fully by anyone who has ever participated a private conversation with another individual where communication was entirely dependent on sound.


Possible projects include: Construction of a phone booth inside of which recorded voices messages will play, calling strangers to solicit any kind of conversation to record and later play, posting an ad on Craigslist looking for people to have conversations with, etc., etc.”


Yoko Ono

“Telephone Piece” – Yoko Ono
The artist would occasionally call to speak with anyone who picked up.


Inspiration behind building a photobooth.

Week 1 & 2

Week one and two were concentrated on introducing the timeline of the course and how we would be developing our senior projects.


I entered the class with a premeditated plan of exactly what I wanted to produce: a paper moon photo booth that would continuously project morphing images onto the participants; an idea inspired by the phenomenon of conflicting eyewitness accounts of the same event. After presenting this plan in class I was encouraged to take a step back from the project I had already decided on to focus on further developing the idea itself through research. So I returned to square one and began gathering what information I could find on the process of storing memories, the subconscious, and the hierarchy of recollection.


            “Who are you? What are you investigating?


I am a human who is interested in dissecting and analyzing the human condition. I am a designer who desires to organize what I see and experience into something simultaneously meaningful and beautiful. I am an artist who believes that art should be equal parts personal exploration and external evaluation.


In this project I will investigate the personal and malleable nature of memories generated from first hand experiences.”


Paper Moon

Paper Moon


Pieces of Light: The New Science of Memory by Charles Fernthough

body projections

body projections


Final Week

Through this quater, my goal is to create a kind of font that has physical forms. Fonts are designed in 2D forms in the past. Most of them are used as a media to transfer knowledge from mind to mind through books. They are following certain rules concerning about clarity, practice, organization, etc. When designing a font with physical structures, the designers bring typography into 3D. I was amused that adding another dimension actually creates exponential growth of the possibility in typography.

In my project, I choose to explore the 3D architectural structure in relation with the representation of letters in 2D. I want to create this font with beautiful and diverse structures instead of uniform structures (looks the same from all perspectives.)The lego blocks hold each other, support each other, and stable each other in the font. Every piece has its structural function. To me, the structure of a 3D object in the physical world is like that. Each element cooperates with each other and provide different structure from different point of view. For example, the human body doesn’t look the same from different angle. To express this idea, I divide the letters into 3 layers horizontally. Each of the intersection represents the letters in a different perspective.

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Because of the characteristics of the Legos, I want to ensure the playfulness of this font. The theme of my installation is based on a quote of Dr. Seusis “Fun is good. You make ‘em, I amuse ‘em.” I create a friendly and interactive environment for my display. I designed the instruction booklet posters, and the lego plates like sketch maps in a lab to emphasis the idea of design and play. People can sit down and create their own letters with lego blocks.

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The weakness of my project is that I under estimate the unique quality of Lego. I should start to exploit the interativeness of these blocks and add the audience’s reactions as the inspirations for my font system.This installation should be a start point for more systematic art forms in fonts.IMG_0146


Week 9


The 26 letters are all done.

Still thinking about the quotes I should use in the posters.

Possible quotes:

A playful Path is the shortest road to happiness.


Play has been man’s most useful preoccupation.

Frank Caplan

If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.

John Cleese

Play is the highest form of research.

Albert Einstein 

It is a happy talent to know how to play.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.

Abraham Maslow 

If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.

Dr. Seuss

The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.

Brian Sutton-Smith



Design is a good idea

- Emigre

Everyone is an artist

- Joseph Beuys

Good design goes to heaven; bad design goes everywhere

- Mieke Gerritzen

fun is a tricky design.

At the end of the day, pretty colors make people drool.


Remember it takes a lot of shit, to create a beautiful flower.


Fun is good.

You make ‘em, I amuse ‘em.

Dr. Seuss

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 7.48.56 PM poster1

Alex Melton | Not So Cloudy

Stage One | The Idea

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This is where I found my inspiration for my initial idea, looking at these beautiful fluffy clouds. I kept thinking about how people often say they wish they could lay in the these clouds because they look so comfortable and inviting, when in reality they are very cold and wet. I found it interesting that with the easily found information and low tolerance for incorrect information we have today people still wanted to believe in the fantasy of laying in the clouds. From this whimsical wish, I came up with the idea of creating  some kind of structure that would create what our shared perception of what clouds feel like.

Stage Two | The Manifestation |Part One

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These are the drawings and patterns I created for my first and second models.

Stage Two | The Manifestation |PartTwo


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This is the first model I created. It was definitely a learning experience, it took me a while to get a feel for the materials and an understanding about how they worked. I hand drew all of the patterns, then cut all of the parts out and hand sewed them together. It is made of linen and synthetic upholstery stuffing. The top hanging part is the linen, stuffed with the upholstery stuffing and the hanging walls are made up of the stuffing with strips of the linen for support.

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Next, I decided to create a smaller structure for one or two people rather then a group because the first model and structure size seemed much to large. Above is the smaller model still using the synthetic upholstery stuffing as the sides and linen stuffed with the upholstery filling as the hanging structure.

After making these two models, it was decided that the materials were too synthetic and didn’t give the natural feeling that a cloud would have. So I set out to find a material that was similar to the synthetic, but made from a natural material. Below is the results of this search.


Stage Two | The Manifestation | Part Three

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This is the raw cotton batting used for the second model.

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This model is made from raw cotton batting, dry wall tape, and wire. Unlike the first two models this one sits on the ground. I decided to make it this way for several reasons, the main reason being that both the old materials and the new were having structural problems when hung. The other reason is the raw cotton didn’t have the same modular fluffiness as its synthetic counter part, it came in sheets rather then clumps in a bag.

However once the structure came off the ceiling and onto the floor it immediately became more of a hut or teepee instead of a cloud. To make the connection to clouds, I created a video that would be projected on the outside. From the outside it would look like clouds moving and from the inside I was hoping it would be like watching the light and other clouds pass from inside a cloud.

Part Three | Lighting

I created an animated video in after effects of clouds moving over a blue sky. This video was then projected on the outside of the structure. For the end of the first ten weeks of this project I only had the chance to project on one side of the structure, but for its final instillation the hope is to project from above and cover the whole structure.

Part Four | Construction

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Once I had a model made and a plan for making the actual structure I dove right in. The structure is supported by two fiberglass tent poles that came from a four person tent. Then much like the model, I created a lining of dry wall tape that wrapped around the tent pole and created a mesh tent. Once the basic structure was created I began to cover it in cotton. I started on the outside at the top of the dome, and moved down. For extra stick and support I used spray on adhesive that I applied directly to the cotton. Once the outside was fully covered I started on the inside. I used the same technique as the outside but it took a little more adhesive.

The cotton was not just taken off the roll, first I would cut a three to four foot sheet and then peel it in half. Then I would peel those two sheets in half again. I did this to create thin layers so that the light from the projection would come through still.

Once all of this was done, the tent was ready to be used.


Part Five | Interaction

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This is the final product, after many hours of construction and installation the cotton hut was ready to be interacted with and played in. And like many things in life it turned out to be quite different then what I originally intended, it really wasn’t a cloud. However, despite its acute lack of cloudiness, it still gave people the feeling I was originally going for. It was warn and comforting, comfortable and cozy, and people seemed to truly enjoy being in it.

Step Six | The Next Step

I will continue to work on this piece until Senior Show, I want to explore making a natural floor of the tent to sit on, the carpet it was on for this stage was soft but gave off the smell of carpet glue. I also want to play with the video aspect of the project, maybe look into making videos of other natural movement. I also want to look into making some kind of poster or something of that sort on the extra cotton I have. Who knows by The Senior Show this project may morph into something completely new.

Week 7

Fonts in Progress

the letter I design will have 3 to 4 layers of color blocks.

these blocks hold onto each other to create the physical forms of the letters.

E:e e1 e2 e3

M:m m1 m2 m3

S:s s1 s2 s3

U:u u1 u2 u3