Where do furniture design ideas come from, and how original do the need to be, to truly be your own? Although design is a personal procedure, there are some basic steps to follow to finish a desired piece.
I 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, Sketch-up, blood sweat and tears.
I understand your desire to design on the fly, so to speak, even though I’m exactly the opposite. What I don’t understand is why you design on the fly in the final medium, making the final project. Why not use inexpensive and easy to machine materials to build a prototype. I bet you would find it easier to be adventurous and you would find all the problems and develop creative solutions for the final product.
Three nice-looking projects each received a design critique and a virtual upgrade by an accomplished designer. Looking at the proposed changes, I couldn’t help but think about how tricky it can be to design your own pieces. Many of the changes were simply things that I would not have thought of. Now these weren’t necessarily changes based on design rules, they were simply aesthetic changes that came from a creative mind.
My personal tastes influence every decision I make and I simply build to my liking. But building within the confines of someone else's taste can be quite difficult because I am forced to differentiate between bad design and what is simply a unique set of personal preferences.
Building a dining room table, like all other projects, starts with the design stage. However, it is important to consider proven 'standards', when considering size. It will be sad to find out after the fact that you didn't allow enough room for elbows or knees.
How Do You Go From Inspiration to Sketchbook?
Ideas can come from anywhere and at anytime, but sometimes there seems no end to the inspiration that fills your mind. It can be a bit overwhelming at times. So, how do you capture these bursts of woodworking illumination? The best way to flesh out your ideas is to simply sketch them. A lot of woodworkers are intimidated at the idea of keeping a sketchbook. What we’re talking about here are simple quick sketches to just get the basic idea down on paper, not a masterpiece of illustration.
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