Design Primers

Lorraine Wild, in her essay “The Macrame of Resistance” talks about Peter Dormer’s views on knowledge. She writes:  “the tacit knowledge required to make something work is not the same as a theoretical understanding of the principles behind it. Theory might help you understand how to make something better, but craft knowledge (local knowledge) has to be experienced on another level. And for Dormer these two types of knowledge are intertwined". 

My first project for Studio 2 is a demonstration of both of these theories. The basic design principles using point, line and shape have been distilled down into three small books (or primers) for the entry level visual arts student.

The content of the books demonstrates theoretical knowledge through descriptions of the principles of design. How a point is a location in space. Line is a point moving through space. How line defines the shape of a plane... 

The unique quality of these books is that they are completely hand made. Each spread is hand printed each print hand carved, each page hand cut. Each emboss was created with a hand built die and then hand pressed, the binding thread was hand waxed and the books were hand bound. The margin for error was huge and if error occurred the spread needed to be remade, The physical process of making the books and the artefacts themselves demonstrates tacit knowledge. Theory is just theory unless tacit knowledge can put theory to work.

Each book has an envelope in the back pocket. These envelopes carry in them physical representations of what is being discussed in each book. The shape book contains various paper shapes, the point books contains dots of different sizes and the Line book contains both straight lines and organic lines. This allows the reader of the book to engage in both theoretical knowledge through reading as well as tacit knowledge by experimenting with the physical pieces.

~Masters of Design Studio with David Cabianca – Project 1