Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sentinel Images

Back in the 80”s my older son was very interested in computers.  He talked me into buying two Apple II’s, one for him and one for me.  The local school system was making a bulk purchase so it was an opportunity to go in with them and get a discount price.  Of course, it was actually only good if you could use a computer or wanted to learn how.  I was a bit skeptical that personal computers offered anything for me but I was led along by his enthusiasm.

Keith was the one who could clearly see the future of a PC world while I couldn’t even figure out why anyone would need a database or a spreadsheet.  He tried to get me to understand bulletin boards but it was just beyond me.  He went on to get degrees in physics and computer science and I slowly got better and better with a word processor.

More than 30 years have passed and integrated circuits, operating systems with graphical interfaces, and portable laptop designs all worked out.  Even I have learned to use more than the word processing capability.

I remember a discussion in which Keith was trying to convince me to set up a system in which I could identify files by an icon instead of a text label.  I really couldn’t quite grasp that concept then but can see it clearly now and I do use it.  I use it in another context.

When I make a forming die and get it perfected, I forge an example of the finished piece and weld it to the die in a spot where it is easily visible. I call it the sentinel image.   I also write some information on the die with a presto pen correction marker but it is usually the iconic sentinel marker which is most helpful to me in locating the die I need.  In addition, I have taken to spray painting the sentinel image with a bright yellow paint so the form is accented and unmistakable.

It was only in the past few months that I made the mental connection between how I used the method in my studio and what Keith was trying to get me to understand three decades ago.

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