Shapes of Light Learn to make Lichtenberg figures of wood. A workshop by The O'Town Garage
A lichtenberg figure is an organic-looking pattern created by an electrical discharge on a surface. In nature, they are found at the spots of a lightning strike and can remain on the skin of lightning strike victims for 24 hours. They also occur on insulating materials, and loads of other instances, which are quite above the grasping limit of my non-technical brain, although I’m getting wiser as we speak.
The O’Town Garage – probably the friendliest maker space in the world – invites us to make lichtenberg figures on wooden plates. The beauty of it is that the shape of the figure is influenced by the types of wood and patterns of the grains. This seminar at O’Town will teach you how to predict how the patterns will be formed, given the fibrous structure of the wood at hand. Well, colour me curious! No – pattern me curious!
Beyond the fascinating (I assume) facts about “high voltage and electrolytes” that will become apparent during the workshop, the appeal to me is in this very poetic meeting of two forces of nature, a meeting so strong that it cannot not leave a lasting mark. That the fibre arrangement of wood can impact the shape of the pattern produced on its surface makes me think of wood as of a more dynamic, opinionated material than I used to.
In itself, the idea is a simple one – understanding how to “read” the surface, in order to control the shape you impose on it. It makes perfect sense! Being reminded of this simplicity is really what moves me now – the calming, reassuring relationship between cause and effect; such a precious relationship in our world today, afflicted by uncertainty, instability, absurdity, and rising unpredictability. Or, well, maybe it’s a sign to do more woodwork or learn physics. Whichever it is, The O’Town Garage is a good place to follow, either as a tech buff, or as an artsy, dreamy person who needs some earthly grounding once in a while.
NB: Sign up in advance is necessary.Link to the event
Elena has an MA in American Studies from SDU, and currently works as Features Editor for arts and culture publication PETRIe. She is interested in visual culture and contemporary art, design an...