Adventures in Attachment: Lesson 0

Attachment Lesson 0: Don’t unattach it in the first place!

Plenty of creations are made through processes which take away material from a big piece.  Nothing is added, and therefore nothing has to be attached.  These processes which take away material are called “subtractive”, while processes which add and attach more pieces are “additive”.

Sculptures in stone are a great example of subtractive work.  An artist chips away the extra bits, leaving a sculpted form.  Similarly, an artisan may dig away most of the wood from a log, leaving the outside shell for use as a canoe.

The Mount Rushmore Monument as seen from the viewing plaza. Dean Franklin – 06.04.03 Mount Rushmore Monument (by-sa)-3 new.jpg Dean Franklin – 06.04.03 Mount Rushmore Monument. (Resized by User:ComputerHotline, 20:17, 12. Mai 2007.) CC BY 2.0 File:Dean Franklin – 06.04.03 Mount Rushmore Monument (by-sa)-3 new.jpg Uploaded by Papa Lima Whiskey Created: June 4, 2003

File:Canoe on beach.jpg

Description Dansk: Kano English: Canoe in El Nido Date 5 March 2004 (original upload date) Source Transferred from en.wikipedia; Author Mark.murphy at en.wikipedia Permission (Reusing this file) Released into the public domain (by the author).


There are a few techniques which can result in pieces which are separate and interlocked, not because they were attached, but because the material connecting them was taken away.

image property of https://khinho.wordpress.com/2007/10/08/wooden-chain/


Here is a wooden chain, carved from a single branch.  Learn more about the process here.

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These two book stands live in MAKESHOP, and were build with subtractive techniques using tools in our workshop. Roy Underhill presents the techniques and history of this book stand, as written by the 18th century french master Andre Roubo. The video is available online.

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