About Inflatables and Soft Sculpture

Instructor: Olivia Robinson (orobinso@andrew.cmu.edu)
TA: TBD
Time: M/W 12:30PM – 2:20PM
Location: Hunt Library, A5 (Fabrication Lab)

COURSE DESCRIPTION
In this course students will focus on the design, fabrication, and creative applications of sculptural and inflatable forms created from soft materials. Soft sculpture and inflatables have a rich history: from early inventions such as hot air balloons and zeppelins, to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, to highly inventive architectural structures, to sculptural works by contemporary artists. Students will learn techniques for turning flexible, flat materials into three-dimensional forms by methods such as inflating with air, stuffing with materials, and holding with a rigid structure. Students will learn to use the sewing machine, as it will be a primary tool for construction. Patterning will be explored extensively, including working from found patterns as well as designing and creating your own. Students will work at a range of scales – that which the body can hold and that which can hold the body. Students will work both individually and in collaborative teams. What we make will be informed by experimentation, readings, slides, and exploration of context.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  1. Skillfully use and craft patterns to construct 3-dimensional forms from 2-dimensional planes.
  2. Demonstrate technical skills in sewing to create soft sculptures and inflatables in small, medium, and large scales.
  3. Identify and present about artists, designers, architects, and others who employ soft sculpture or inflatables in their practices.
  4. Collaborate in a team to generate, create, evaluate, and document ideas and projects.
  5. Demonstrate an exploration of research, skills, concepts, and forms through an independent individual project.
  6. Articulate material and conceptual choices in discussions and critiques.
  7. Apply feedback and brainstorming through a revision process.
  8. Contribute productively to a critique environment with open responses, constructive criticism, and positive feedback.
  9. Document and reflect upon your process and finished assignments.
  10. Plan, organize, and safely execute a public exhibition of our class’s large-scale inflatable collaboration.