I have stated before on this blog that I am a model builder, first and foremost. Ever since first getting involved with Synergetics in the 70’s I have been looking for the best way to construct models within the format of the Isotropic Vector Matrix, the “shape” of the Universe, the Higgs Field, the Aether. Several years ago I found a Christmas toy that was available at my local Walgreen’s Drug Store called under various brands with varying levels of quality Geo-Mags, or Mag-Stix or the like. It consisted of a construction set like Legos or Tinker Toys. It was a number of steel balls about 1/2″ in diameter and plastic pieces about 1 1/2″ long with a small, flat magnet at each end. 12 sticks fit nicely around one ball. Worked great for Synergetic modelling and I made a few art projects using them until some safety board realized that if your 3 year old ate one of these sticks, and the magnets came out, they could attract with each other from different sections of the intestine and F things up pretty good. So, they were taken off the shelves. I was bummed, what could I use instead? Now keep in mind the costliest of these would cost like $25 for 100 pieces…I typically use 5-10K pieces in a construction. The trouble with the cheaper ones was the lack of consistency in the length of the pieces. Sometimes I got to the end of a piece and just couldn’t get the surfaces flat (I’ll explain that later). Then I saw a video about Frank Chester, who spoke at Rhode Island School of Design, it’s on U-tube. He uses Q-tips and rubber cement. Brilliant! Not sure if it’s his idea but it sure works well. As a matter of fact, I am not exaggerating when I say this may be the greatest educational toy ever.
The Q-tips are uniform length, cheap (100 cost $.25 here in Costa Rica) and available in color. I can get a half liter of silicon liquido for $4 at any libreria. The real beauty ( as if this wasn’t enough) is in the adjustability of the Q-tips. When the cement is slightly dry it tacks nicely making it easy to piece together tetrahedra and assemble and connect them on the fly. I generally work on 15-20 Q-tips at a time and, when I have them partly assembled, can go point-to-point adjusting the position of the end points. At first, I thought this just a convenience in making the models but, something quickly manifested the true purpose of this “toy.” As I assembled the first big piece I could feel the structure tighten up as I added the layers of Q-tips. As a layer would get completed I would go back over the entire layer and tweek each point. Invariably, when I got all the way around., all of the slight deviations could be balanced out, all the faces could be flattened by placing the face on the work table and gently pressing down a multiple points on the piece. Since the glue wasn’t completely dry, and was flexible even then, final adjusting was a breeze.
How is this educational? Well, if Synergetics is the underlying geometry of the Universe, as we are contending, what better way to see how it works than by playing with it? Not only do we get a hands-on experience of the structural integrity that Synergetics offers but, we also get to see the sheer diversity offered by Synergetic Modelling. Numerous principles of physics, chemistry, biology can be modelled this way as can marketing, social interaction, geo-political forces.
I am currently working on several sets of models, for an upcoming seminar I am putting together, as well as a video/book with some suggestions and graphics showing where I have gone with this.
If I had any money I would buy Q-tip stock!