Sorry for the long absence. If you follow me on Instagram or check out the d'Jinn section of images, you will see what I have been up to. It has been a hard last push to get this lamp out into the world while keeping up with graduate studies and so on. The important thing is that I got help, but not in the way I expected.
Back when I was studying industrial design at UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago), I found myself with too much time on my hands. As a result, I wasn't terribly productive, and I remembered someone once said, "If you want something done, as a busy person." Busy people have a kind of momentum, and I needed some momentum. On my way to the local McDonald's, I ran into my professor Mike and he thought I was being stupid and called a friend of his. The long and short is that I got an internship with Scott Padiak.
In many ways, I learned more about design with Scott than I did at school. I also made friends with people who would later shape a large part of my future (Dave, for example, and the designers at Gravitytank). Much of my design philosophy was formed at Scott's shop, either from working on projects or just cleaning up. Being around a master designer/prototyper is amazing, but it really helps if they are generous enough to teach you as well.
Last week, I got invited back to Scott's shop and it was like going home. I was hoping to hire him to do some work, but since scheduling didn't work, he has allowed me to use his shop to do what I needed to do (I did mention his generosity, right?) while he completed his work. Being back in that space with my friend and the tools brought a new feeling to this work.
The concept of "home" is the only way I have of describing it: a comfort and the feeling that I could do all of the tasks ahead of me. I spent time in that space. I built some of the furniture and fixtures. I swept up. I organized and watered the plants. It was where I learned, failed, and tried again. While some things had changed, it was still the shop.
Thomas Wolfe wrote:
"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood ... back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame ... back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory."
In a way that is true: partially because things change, but also because we change. In my experience, some of who we were, and part of the way things used to be remains. Going home is about connecting those two parts, and letting the familiar reacquaint. I don't know if this connects to my designs, but I do think that I wouldn't have made this much progress without going home.
Sorry for the ramble. -Bates