Designing Myself Into A Corner

Article - January 15, 2009

bulb1I figured I would talk a little about designing projects for a moment, since that happens to be on my mind right now. By no means do I have it all figured out and I sometimes feel like an outside observer as I watch myself go through different phases of my woodworking growth. This week, I spent three days chasing a design that never panned out. Hand sketches, Sketchup, blood sweat and tears! I was struggling so hard to come up with something unique and something that would really challenge my skill-set, that I began to lose site of the ultimate purpose of the piece. I forgot about function. And if you don’t satisfy the intended function…..GAME OVER. So one might say I wasted three days. I choose to see it a bit differently. This was a good learning experience for me. Ultimately I learned a lesson in the dangers of over-designing and if there is such a thing, micromanaging my project. I put too much stress on my imagination, and not enough on my common sense. Once I remembered to focus on the purpose and the function, things started to fall into place again. Although the piece still isn’t ready for a first build, its in a much better position than it was. Designing is as much about creativity as it is about restraint. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. And not every piece needs to drop jaws. Sometimes its enough that the piece just works, and looks good doing it.

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