In Special Topics in Do-It-Yourself Fabrication, the final project is to create literally anything that brings joy to a person and employs interesting fabrication methods. I decided I would:
1] Find a farm that sells wool.
2] Go to the farm, get some wool.
3] Fabricate a mold for a slipper.
4] Use wet felting to make the shoe.
And then I will have a local, low cost, super cool looking ultra comfy pair of shoes I made myself. Potential challenges include the fact that I have literally never done any soft fabrication and don't know anything about shoes.
A university setting encourages building high complexity things by making tools and information more accessible (TAs, Arduino, desktop 3D printing, etc...), but a side effect of this is that we don't often engage with the lower levels of abstraction of a project. When I want to build a part, luckily I don't also have to build a computer, CAD software, and a 3D printer. But what does it feel like to build a low complexity good from scratch? Will it feel like engineering? Or more Design, Art, Science?
Maybe this isn't nearly as lofty an idea as it feels like, but at the very minimum, I'll end up with a pair of slippers.
Tuesday, March 20th 2018 —
Possible Farms Identified: White Dog Farm or Wild Rose Farms. Both about 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Also considering a booth or clog instead or in addition to a slipper.
Wednesday, March 28th 2018 —
Submitting project proposal! Have watched like 10 hours of youtube videos on various wet felting methods.
Wednesday, April 25th 2018 —
Called some farms. No calls back.. I have ordered some wool from Amazon. I'm less certain I'll be able to make it to a farm that is nearby with roving for sale during this part of the season.
Friday, May 4th 2018 —
Final product turned in! Turns out making slippers is not easy. Final product: one single okay looking shoe, but a whole lot more knowledge of wool roving and wet felting. ☺