We had a guest lecturer from the Interior Architecture school come and talk to us about large-format drawing. It was a colourful lecture and helped me to realise that although these drawings need to include technical fidelity, they also exist to tell a story. Because my lamp is such an organic, character-piece, this really set my mind at ease.
Before starting any of my drawings, I came up with a sort of storyboard, to help me work out the layout and the story I wanted to tell. Because it’s an organic lamp that looks a bit like a tree and takes a step-by-step bending approach with single lengths of wood, I decided to draw the processes chronologically from the ground-up, to show a story of growth.
Now that I understood what individual drawings I’d need, I was able to start on the technical components.
To mimic the base of a tree, I tried to design a dispersed root system for the base of my lamp. I needed it to be a bit more ordered and circular than a real tree, so took inspiration from some artwork. I tried a few different versions and kept in mind the constraints of my materials and processes while choosing the lengths and radii of my curves and areas of my terrazzo.
I manipulated photos of my model to reflect the proportions I’d like for my final version. I taped these photos, along with my hand-made technical drawings, my printed CAD drawings, and some layout notes to a large piece of paper. Once I was happy with the layout, I began tracing.
With this document, I was able to articulate the processes I’d need to take to get to my completed lamp. This will be a great reference when asking for design and construction advice, but also a good way to break down my tasks and start a project plan.
I watched an online course on making Gantt charts. Thankfully, the uni has free access to Lynda – I plan on taking full advantage of this in the near future!
To begin, I listed all the things I knew I had to do. Then I started linking them to one-another, based on what needed to be done in order for the next thing to be done. One problem with mind-mapping software and with Gantt charts in general is that you can only link to one other thing; so a task that requires 3 other processes to be finished can only be linked to one of those, and you have to keep track of the rest manually.
I highlighted the processes I thought would be the most time-consuming and outlined the ‘critical path’.
I translated this information into a Gantt chart spreadsheet and found some places where I could compress tasks. I looked ahead at my calendar to figure out how many hours I’d have available to complete the project. Then I was able to distribute tasks across those available hours evenly.
I used to schedule feature films professionally, so I didn’t think I’d need this lesson in project planning. I do, however, love the idea that I can see exactly how far back or forward I can slide particular tasks. On a feature, you keep a lot of this information in your head, but I would also argue that there’s a lot more information required to schedule a film than you could ever fit in this document. I use professional scheduling software that allows you to input data and contain it in each scene that needs to be shot. You can set conflicts on certain dates, so that any fixed event that can’t be changed will alert you when you try to change it. It has a drag and drop interface so it’s easy to move events and see how it effects the rest of your schedule.
Having worked as a freelancer, requiring a low level of project management, but a high degree of self-discipline, I found interactive calendars to be the most useful tool. I’m able to visualise how many hours a task will take in blocks. I can drag and drop to rearrange, and having it accessible on my computer, my phone, or any internet connected device means that I actually use it. Viewing my tasks in weekly format means that if I’m not achieving goals on the first few days, I’m able to act to rectify it within that same week, rather than delaying indefinitely.
I like elements of each of these processes and have been intending to design a better solution to project management and scheduling software for quite some time. This project has just reminded me of that!