One time, when I was about five years old, the hand-held telescope that I had tied around my neck with a hockey skate lace got caught up in the spokes of my bicycle as I reached top speed. The realization of my impending disaster set in the moment I heard the ‘click’ which had meant the momentum of my front wheel had disengaged; and on that cold fall Minnesota day when my face met the asphalt, I had subconsciously learned the nature of materials. No, not that our dining room table was made of wood, or that our house of brick, but what can happen when seemingly unrelated materials come into contact with one another, like skin and asphalt. Furthermore, what the effects may be if the physics of flight and speed are added. I learned that a hockey skate lace could be much more than just a hockey skate lace; that, if used to tie an object around your neck while riding a bike, may not need to be the entire length of the lace. And I learned what that lace could do when connected to a metal object and introduced to the aluminum spokes of a rotating bicycle wheel. All of this came together, though admittedly quite later in life, to give me that understanding of materials.
Material is dynamic. In them exist mechanical properties that produce movement. Though often an undesired quality of material, the physical properties that cause them to move often relate to our affinity for them. Whether its smell, touch, sound or appearance, our senses relate to different materials on a level often beyond comprehension. It’s sort of like trying to define a common word in which we know the meaning in the context of a conversation, but which become exceedingly difficult, when asked, to articulate their definition. These qualities, whether in, from or inspired by nature, or simply lying around the house, exist to add texture to our surroundings. Our potential for innovation is endless. It allows us to find relevant solutions in otherwise irrelevant parts, like skin and the asphalt.