12 Variations On A Frame is a set of plywood sculpture.


The pieces forming 12 Variations On A Frame are actually 12 variations on two different frames. The first is the object itself: each piece is a loop, framing its own space. The second is the frame around the frame: each piece fits into an identically sized exterior box, 6 units by 5 units by 3 units. A unit is the length of a side of the frame cross-section, in this case 3.5 inches, creating an external dimension of 21 inches wide by 17.5 inches high by 10.5 inches deep. There are easily hundreds (thousands? millions?) of variations that fit these constraints. Here are 12.


The sculptures are built from 0.5 inch plywood, comprising three fir core layers and two maple veneer layers. Each maple veneer layer is approximately 0.01 inches thick. The plywood was purchased in 4 foot by 8 foot sheets and cut into rectangles, which were then glued together to form boxes. The simplest variation is made from 28 rectangles, the most complex is made from 56 rectangles. Beechwood biscuits were used to increase joint strength and ensure accurate alignment.


The designs are not created by a system. They do not assemble into Voltron. Many of them are symmetric, or can be transformed into themselves using simple manipulations. Many of them are similar to others, and can be transformed into others using simple manipulations. The 12 variations can be grouped into two sets of 6, where each set has a guiding principle. Each member of a set has a cousin in the opposite set. This simplified the selection of the 12.


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