Designing at a cultural institution like a science centre can be a humbling experience. We work to develop exhibits that are thoughtful, authentic, and engaging. But you can lose your way moving from initial idea to finished product. The small details that get lost might be the magic that connects someone to an exhibit or idea.
Documentation is so critical to the success of a project and every step matters. What you keep and what you drop will influence how that project lives. I’m reminded to include real visitors, doing real things as much as possible in the outdoor park project drawings.
I love drawing abstract aliens, but its easy to get sidetracked. While they prance through your imagination, real visitors stomp and run and laugh and yell. On a recent trip to Japan my husband challenged me to “draw the actual people” – what a difference it makes.
We had a chance to visit the Canadian Museum of Making. This is a privately held collection of machines from the turn of the century. The collection is unbelievable – and very well taken care of. They employ a team of skill craftspeople to maintain and recondition the artifacts. On our visit we were treated to a full demonstration by one of the resident blacksmith’s. Their workshop was filled with handmade tools – created over his career – to forge and work metal in every possible way. My favorite was something called a “drift” – it is used to manipulate the holes that piece the forged metal. Hammering it into the metal (with one arm bulked by years of practice) of the blacksmith said quietly: You know – the drift – it has a hard life…