This post details not a specific project, but one of the most important decisions that I have made recently concerning direction, work, and process. About two years ago I started working with a local eyewear company to help them develop a new production frame. I tried hard to learn everything that I could about the process, but at the end of the project I had a lot of questions. For the last year or so since that project ended, I have found myself more and more interested in this industry, perhaps because there is so little information about process and because manufacturing techniques are so guarded. A few months ago, I decided to take the plunge and start to assemble a better working knowledge of the process of designing and fabricating glasses frames, more specifically cellulose acetate plastic frames.
I’m not trying to specialize into this industry, but by acquiring a “strip-built canoe” or “ship in a bottle” type project, I will attempt to be more connected to the process of refining an art/skill instead of working on projects solely towards the goal of completion. I am not going to stop designing other devices and products, but this project will hopefully be in the background, slowly maturing. This is the first pair of sunglasses that I have designed and made from scratch. The frame is made from vintage Mazzuchelli tortoise shell acetate, and the lenses are custom cut plano 6-base CR-39 plastic.
I have read that there are something like forty-two steps in manufacturing a hand-made pair of acetate glasses frames, I think that I have figured about two of these steps out so far. I have a long way to go on this one, but each new detail is exciting. Stay tuned for updates on this project, I should have time to knock another pair out in 2015 or so.