Decorating the tree

On the last day of the three week project we hung all of the motors, fans and leaves onto the tree frame. We had to compromise and work together to decide where to put all of the machines in oder to get everyones creations onto the tree. IMG_9995As I made a motor I attached wiring to the motor to create more movement on the tree. It seemed a little dangerous at first because the wire span around extremely fast and could catch someone if they got too close to it. I decided to leave the wire on the motor though because it gave the tree more movement and excitement. IMG_9998The wiring needed to be connected to the control board to be used by pass-byers. This took a little bit of time because we had to find the pairing wires which came from the same machine. After this was done we were able to connected to buttons to the board.

The tree is now ready to use.


Critical Analysis:


  • We worked well as a team to get the tree together.
  • A range of contraptions on the tree
  • We used different materials for the leaves and so some are heavier than others.
  • We used the fans to move the leaves which created movement on the tree.


To improved this piece:

  • If we had more time we would make more contraptions to go on the tree so the board didn’t look so empty.
  • Have more beaches to we could put more contraptions on it.
  • Rearrange the wiring so the tree can be rotated more easier.
  • Make sure the pieces are arranged more evenly on the tree.

Creating LED lights

We decided to put LED lights on our electric tree to make it colourful and bright. This meant we needed to wire and connect them to the motherboard of the tree.  This involved soldering onto the naked wire end (about 2mm) and soldering it onto the ‘Dout’ and ‘Din’ side of the LED lights. This means the lights are connected and will work simultaneously.

I needed to test the lights by connecting them to an Arduino board and then to the Mac. I was able to control and change the colours and sequence of the lights using the Mac and the Ardiuno app on it.

  • To create a pale purple (photo above) I need to programme in red:250, Green:50 and Blue:250.
  • To create a pink colour Red:250, Green:50 and Blue:50.

I really enjoyed getting the LED lights to work because it involved a lot of skills including soldering, connecting and programme (a range of skills of different categories).

Rewiring the motors

Today we learnt how to rewire and connect the main power source to motors and fans for the tree.

I decided to use a motor to create movement on the tree which I could connect leaf-like objects to spin from it.

IMG_9948The process involved cutting and stripping wires which would be soldered together or to a button to control it. This was quite a simple process but still involved some safety precautions i.e. not burning yourself on the soldering iron.

After soldering the wires to the button and to the motor itself I needed to test it using a power supply with crocodile clips. The motor has a positive and negative end however, unlike a fan or light by putting the clips and wires onto either end, this will determine the direction of the motor.

I will use this motor on the tree to create air flow and movement.

I have learnt to solder metal onto wire for conduction and am able to use the soldering iron on my own which has meant I have another signature on my passport.

Wood Workshop Induction

We were inducted into the band saw, hand drill and sanding machine today in the wood workshop by the technician Nigel Williams who provided us with a detail breakdown of how to use the different machines and the health and safety which came with them. He provided us with stories which made us think about using the machines correctly to avoided injury!

We were given a piece of MDF board to try out the band saw and sanding machine and had to cut a curve and a straight line using the band saw and sand down the edges using the sander. By doing these exercise we were able to get signatures in our passports which allow us to use the machines without the technicians.

From this exercise I am now able to use the machines freely and safely throughout my degree to create sculptures for projects.

Deconstructing Tech

The Electric Tree Project will allow me to explore the issue of technological waste on our lands and to contribute to a group piece of art which responds to this worldwide problem.

We started by pulling apart computer screens, laptops and hard drives to find the inner parts including frames, power bank, motherboard, wiring, fans and screws which will be used on the tree. The parts will allow us to create a well-lit, electronic sculpture. We will be able to use the fans to create movement in lighter objects e.g. paper, cardboard and light wires. The screens could be used to reflect light and possibly provide internal light from them.  The green motherboards could be used as leaves or decoration on the tree and the wire as fallen branches and leaves.

Making the Sculpture

I only had one day to produce my sculpture because I went on a Venice art trip which meant I had less time to experiment with the steel and my design. I was forced to think mathematically and adapt my design quickly in order to produce an outcome. As I used cardboard for the maquette it was very rigid and square and stopped it from bending whereas the steel was easier to bend using the machines in the workshop so I decided to create a rounder body for the sculpture. I was limited to the amount of steel I could use so I decided not to give the sculpture a full back. This also gave a sense of involvement for the audience and would allow them to step inside the armour to wear it as you would a T-shirt.

I added shoulder plates to the sculpture to give the armour look but wanted them to be moveable on the body of the sculpture because it conveys the flow and movement of a T-shirt.

I decided to keep the shiny smooth surface of the steel because it depicted a strong impenetrable feeling to the piece which I linked to the idea that a logo T-shirt can be a form of armour and used to protect your reputation, status and also to make a statement to society.

I enjoyed this three week project because it give me a taste of the metal workshop and the opportunity to learn the basic skills needed as well as an understanding of some of the machines used for steel art.


I used cardboard to make my maquettes because it has a strong structure and is able to hold a good shape. This allowed me to make small design ideas for my sculpture and to start to put my mental ideas into practice. I experimented with different design ideas and used the sketches made in my sketchbook – documented in the previous blog – to create the sculptural maquettes for the project because I wanted to have a clear idea of how I was going to create my sculpture. I know the sculpture could develop further when I make it next week however, I would still like to have a good mental idea of how I will produce it.




Sketching design ideas

Before making the maquettes I spent an hour sketching ideas and writing thoughts in my sketch book about how I would produce the piece and to iron out my mental images of the sculpture. I did this because it meant I was able to work out the maths and geometrics of the sculpture. I find drawing out my ideas easier and useful because it means I can create a better image of the final outcome.

I also experimented with giving the armour should plates in the drawings. I decided it was a good idea because it looked strong and more like a piece of armour than it would without them. The shoulder plates also reminded me of sleeves of a T-shirt.

fullsizeoutput_540I was contemplating whether to connect the front and back of the armour using a chain-like piece of metal to hold the sculpture together so I discussed the ways in order to produce this to come to a conclusion.

Metal Cutting Workshop – development of ideas

I selected the metal cutting workshop as the first three week project of my degree to improve my sculpture skills and develop an understanding of the metal workshop and the machines used to cut, bend and weld steel.

We were asked to bring in an object of our choice – it could be any size, shape, colour or relevance. This gave me the opportunity to think outside the box and be creative. I decided to use a t-shirt because it was very different and would definitely force me to think conceptually. The object was used to create a minimum of six charcoal drawings which we were given set instructions to follow: a line drawing, a tonal drawing, an abstract drawing, a drawing from memory and two using all of the above. I really enjoyed this exercise because I was able to express my feelings towards the movement and flow of the t-shirt using one of my favourite materials. I pinned the t-shirt onto the wall and manipulated it into different positions to create abstract sketches which produced a more interesting and creative drawing.

This exercise allowed me to think about my ideas for the sculpture using the t-shirt and to start to develop a mental image of my final outcome.






A new beginning.


The beginning of my Fine Art degree starts here.

The week of inductions was informative, enjoyable and exhausting starting with talks from my future lecturers and tutors and the meeting of my own personal tutor who is quirky and knowledgable (Perfect!).

Tuesday 19th – Trip day.

The walk through Cardiff was extremely helpful in both a social and academic sense because it allowed us to see Cardiff’s attractive and artistic locations including the Museum and Chapter – a community centre with a strong, yet small, art gallery, a cinema and quirky cafe. The Megan Cope’s exhibition provided a short powerful video about her big life question of whether she was a true aboriginal or not. With an aboriginal father and a migrant mother Cope was not sure on about true national identity and whether she was able to obtain of the ‘certificate of Aboriginality’ . Helen Johnson is another Australian artist who creates large-scale paintings on canvas and addresses social issues in her society. Her works hold great intensity and are very busy with figures and writing. One of the paintings contains only one woman and yet many men, one of which is mastarbating while another sings the national anthem in his ear.  From this exhibition I was inspired to look at my national identity and get a sense of belonging especially when moving to a new city and joining a new university.

Thursday 21st-Friday 22nd – Project day

The induction week allowed the group to get to know each other a little whether it was through the tutor group time, trip day and the two day 3D project. All grouped in to 4’s and 5’s and given as much polystyrene as we wanted, we had to make a sculpture of any size, shape and inspired by a subject of our choice. This exercise meant we had to work together and bring our ideas together to create a combination of what we aspire to and what subjects we are interested in.

The first week was very busy and tiring but provided me with a great start to the course, a strong introduction to my tutors and classmates.