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Japanese-hinged Thingamajig

September 1, 2008

Some of my favorite art accomplishments during my time at BYU came from assignments where the professor gave us some kind of parameter to work within. I’ve always like so-called problems to solve in art–I seem to thrive creatively on limitations.

The following thingamajig (I really need to come up with a name for it!) was constructed for a sculpture class. It was sort-of a Gestalt exercise. We were asked to:

1) Come up with an interesting 3-dimensional shape, in any medium.

2) Reproduce the shape (as many times as we wanted).

3) Join the reproduced shapes together in an interesting way.

In other assignments for this particular class, we’d been learning to work with steel (welding, forging, etc), and stone carving…

But for this particular assignment, I thought it would be fun to try and do something bookbinder-ish, since that’s where I excel. It was a gradual evolution, but eventually I wound up creating the shape below:

All of these photographs are the same object. I really wanted to make an interactive shape: something that could be held and manipulated and played with to make multiple shapes. The pieces are joined together with Japanese hinges, (my mentor saw what I was trying to do, and was the one who introduced me to this kind of hinge). The hinge works in a similar way to a Jacob’s Ladder, in that the hinge allows the two joined pieces to hinge in two directions. This means that the green cube pictured above can be turned inside-out into a blue cube.

This project was very satisfying, and someday I hope to expand more on this theme and see what I can come up with.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina Fish permalink
    September 1, 2008 12:56 pm

    Really neat! If I was the Prof, I would give you an A!

  2. Tracy Hall permalink
    September 1, 2008 6:14 pm

    Congratulations, Lili, on getting your bookbinding blog up, and also on this neat thing-a-ma-jig project.

  3. Richard Lewis permalink
    September 1, 2008 7:21 pm

    I enjoyed looking at your new blog and the ‘Thingamajig’ and especially enjoyed seeing your Coptic books. Very appropriate that you posted the use of your 20 year old Panda cutouts as there is a new panda baby in Atlanta, as of 10:10 pm Saturday evening.

  4. Linda permalink
    September 2, 2008 1:33 am

    I saw your note on the Book_Arts list and checked out your site (I don’t always do that – but felt like I should this time!) What a great site, super work! And yay BYU!!
    You noted Monique Lallier’s website; I’ve had the privilege of working with her and with Don Etherington, her husband, here in Greensboro NC.
    I am now attending the university here majoring in Art History and focusing on the book arts and book conservation.
    So your site has touched many tender nerves!! Thank you for sharing your work.

  5. September 15, 2008 5:41 pm

    That is AWESOME!! You are very talented…someday you will have to make me a cool book! Hope all is going well, especially with your thesis! Good work! Later

  6. November 17, 2008 4:09 pm

    Love it, Lili. Everyone needs to play with it, right?

  7. January 29, 2009 6:06 am

    That is amazing! You should mass produce them and market them as toys.

  8. October 11, 2013 7:01 am

    Agree with Nicole, any chance of more information on building the hinges?

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