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From Fail to Fabulous – The Design Process

In order to be ready to present at the National Art Education Association annual convention later this week, I’ve spent the better part of the weekend putting together presentations. The process of choosing which of many photos and videos to include based on their best fit with the concepts and “bigger ideas” within the presentations kept me starting and checking and revising and replacing, instead of quickly finishing up. I have thought a few times, “maybe this it”, only to think of another item or concept to include. At some point I realized, of course, the Design Process applies to creating presentations, too.

Because of this work, I missed out on attending the Massachusetts Art Education Association Youth Art Month celebration this afternoon. I was okay with it two weeks ago when I helped to hang the giant show, which features hundreds of pieces of artwork from K – 12 students across Massachusetts. I didn’t know then that one of my students, Andrew Murphy, would be honored with the one and only state Middle Level Award for his 3D design and printed castle.

Fortunately, Andrew and his family went to Boston today to see the show and enjoy the celebration and award ceremony. And they took photos. And they sent them to me!

Andrew with his castle (left)
Andrew with YAM Co-Chair Helen Downey

So what about all of these smiles and this successful student has to do with failure? The beautiful castle in the picture above is the last of several iterations of the same design. Andrew started this project last spring. He had designed the castle with multiple out-buildings. The first time we printed it, there was so much raft and excess plastic that we had to cancel the make. A few times.

First printing with excess raft and plastic

Andrew ended up revising his design several times until we were able to print it successfully. He eliminated the out-buildings and beefed up the platforms. At one point they were sheered as well. Several months later we were able to print it out!

First successful print.

This is what Andrew’s design looks like in the 123D Design app on an iPad.

This is what it looks like being printed:

And here is the award winning piece:

Designing for 3D printing is easy as creativity and play, but becomes challenging when preparing for the printing. Often there are many reworks along the way. Andrew has the will and determination to stick with a project through numerous iterations. He deserves the award he received today. Congratulations to Andrew and his family!

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