Resin, Slides, Austin Creative Reuse, the MOHA Ceiling

This weekend, I did some materials research. I am now the proud owner of a box of slow-drying resin, a bunch of plastic mat cutter templates, several rolls of scientific paper, a bottle of blue transparent resin dye, some awesome green wool felt, two packages of olive green envelopes (small and large), several incomplete sets of vinyl number and letter stickers, and a handful of old slides from people’s vacations in the late 60’s / early 70’s.

The bulk of this haul was purchased from Austin Creative Reuse and cost pretty much next to nothing. The resin and resin dye, however, were from a regular less awesome store and were thus full price, so I am going to try to be sensible with my experiments.

Last night, I went to see Lauren play a rather experimental orchestra show, Conduction, at MOHA. While I was silently sitting there listening to the improvisational extravaganza, I was not, as my friend Elizabeth McQueen later had me clarify, asleep. I was in fact open-eyed and staring up at the ceiling, counting the number of metal rafters and and the distances in between them, trying to come up with a logical and simple design for hanging our speakers and lights.

The rafters form a grid, whereas I want a circle.

There are two options here:
1. be a hack and figure out how to make a circle
2. be sensible and make the design fit the space

Of course option number two is the easiest and most elegant. But option number one just seems so much more… fun. I like a challenge. Being a hack is one thing, but being an elegant hack is another. And I strive to be an elegant hack. This calls for much forethought and a whole lot of measuring and drawing things to scale and staring at things while people think you’re asleep.

All of these things are close to the root of why I enjoy these sorts of projects. That and the emotional content, which Elizabeth and I discussed in great detail later in the evening, with regard to the Conduction show… but that is for another day.

So here’s what I’m thinking. We just suspend a bunch of poles across the existing rafters and make whatever sort of grid we’d need to support a big circle. Like this (excuse my crude phone and finger drawing):

MOHA ceiling, crude action plan: poles

It’s not like anyone would be able to see the poles- and it’s not like they’d look any different from the rest of the ceiling anyway. The two biggest concerns are cost and security. We obviously wouldn’t want them to fall… So I’m thinking they have to be metal and hollow and we can string braided metal cable through them, securing them on each end. That’s not gonna fall. And we could drill holes through the poles to tie the hanging string in place without shifting.

That said, why couldn’t we just use metal cable by itself? Pull very tightly. Turnbuckles! Oh how I love turnbuckles! I can’t understand how I navigated life prior to my discovery of them only a few years ago. Now I want to incorporate them into making a omelet.

Anyway. Just using metal cable would work, right?

using metal cable instead of poles

Of course then we wouldn’t have to do a grid or a circle… We could do any sort of of shape​.

I think I need to sleep on it.

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