By Lexi Hack
I thought about the project in the back of my mind for days until this past weekend. No idea seemed really great, but I would actively think about it as I walked through the house. My work progress began with some simple mind map brainstorming. I took my list that had the most promising outcomes and tried to think of all the ways I could possibly make a chair. I narrowed it down to clothes, my original idea, drawers, and Tupperware. For clothes I tried and failed with a few different structures. I began with four different piles, like four chair legs, and was going to crisscross pants in between the layers to make a sort of zero gravity type chair. Then, I tried this with only two chair legs. Neither of these worked. I finally ended with one large pile to sit on with pants stretched to a pile on the floor: my stepstool. This worked and would have been fine, but I was afraid that it was not going to check all of the rubric requirements. In hindsight, I probably should have kept the structure up, just in case my last idea did not pull through. While the drawers would have worked, the structure was getting dangerously tall. I then took both structures apart and put everything away before walking to my pantry to see how many containers I had. I realized that I had enough to build with. The structure does not have four legs like a chair, but the seat is around the same height as a kitchen chair and it is sturdy enough to sit on for a period of time. Would it be practical? No. But I could see myself putting this together for some extra seating just for fun as I sat in the kitchen with friends. I’m hoping it ticks all the boxes and that I completed the project correctly. After finding that this structure stands, I still have not thought of a better way to do this project.
My process was mostly trial and error. I tried everything that I thought was plausible and played around with it until I could not get it to work any better. Then, I went on to the next idea. I think my Tupperware “chair” is original and creative and would definitely be larger if I had more containers! The process getting to my final product was stressful because I do not think of myself as a creative person (but I am trying!) or an engineer, so I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I began with just a bench that had two legs and was going to finish with that. Then I found a way to make three legs work and if three worked, then four had to! I just had to find a way to make the legs an even height. I had to add an extra top to two of the legs to be able to balance my salad container on top as a seat. My chair came out better than expected! I’m glad I did not just settle for my first idea and that I really wanted to try and perfect this. All three of my final brainstorming ideas would have held but they definitely worked better in my head. Trying all three to see which worked best was a good idea because it allowed me to visualize the end result as it actually stands. My clothing idea was foolproof in my head, but I certainly did not account for gravity. My drawer idea was pretty sturdy, but I would have had to lay the sitting drawer vertically to account for my weight which made the chair a little dangerous to sit on. If I would have given up trying with idea one, I may not have thought of trying my Tupperware idea, because it certainly is a bit strange for a chair. And I am usually one to get frustrated and give up easily, so let’s just say this whole project definitely worked in my favor! I am not sure if there was a better process for me to follow because I know now it was imperative that I tried all three of my best ideas in person. I spent a good amount of time brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of my roommates but did not research online for fear of copying another’s idea. I am also glad I was able to make a four-legged chair work as opposed to a two-legged bench or a one-seated clothes mound. This process taught me to work with even the craziest of ideas because it might just work! It also taught me to exert all possible options before moving on to the next idea. I believe because of the work I did with the clothing and drawers that I was able to quickly find a structure that held with the Tupperware. Overall, this was actually a fun project and I do feel a bit more like a creative!
Creative Thinking & Problem Solving
Fall 2020 class, students contribute posts.