On (Design) Failure II

Almost exactly a year ago, I shared a story about failure in the shop. Perhaps, after 12 months of middling successes, I was due for another one. Unlike the previous failure, the Barrel Chair, this one works, in some sense of the word

Over the last few weeks at work, at the ReBuild Foundation, we've been in the middle of shuffling our studio and shop as leases change and new spaces come on line. As we palletized piles of material, we chewed through dozens of rolls of packing plastic -- a sort of industrial cling-wrap. It came on 3-1/4" diameter cardboard rolls. I found a few more tubes of a similar diameter in a dumpster in our building.

The raw materials.


The Organized Guerilla

We modern Americans are quick to pathologize. With all the pharmaceutical ads, covering a broad spectrum of real (depression, heart disease) and imagined (short eyelashes) disorders, everyone is familiar with the language of diagnosis and treatment. Those terms have quickly become part of our everyday lexicon, as people toss off armchair opinions about bosses, spouses, and co-workers -- bi-polar, Asperger-y, and, my favorite, OCD.

Every designer and craftsman has got a touch of the neurotic. A dose of intensely-focused, self-critical thinking is key to pushing the intellectual process forward. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a specific type of neuroticism, focused on unhealthy, repetitive behaviors (rituals) that bring a measure of calm to an anxious person. OCD, when used in a slang context, is usually wrongly attributed to someone who is (overly) organized or clean. While certain cleaning activities may be ritualized by a true OCD sufferer, merely being neat is not a mental disorder.

A small portion of the mess.