Creative process results in innovative machine for ideas.



Jan 2022 -  May 2022
(4 months)


  • Rope
  • Yarn
  • String
  • Clay
  • Concrete
  • Sand
  • Paper
  • MDF
  • Straws
  • Play-doh
  • Cardboard
  • Duct tape
  • Metal rods
  • Hot glue
  • Paint

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Keynote
  • Easel
  • Laser cutter
  • Motor


  • Playing
  • Prototyping
  • Inventing
  • Iterating
  • Building 
  • Breaking
  • Reinventing
  • Product photography
  • Book design


Rafi  AJL
Martin Venezky

About The Idea Becomes a Machine for Ideas

This advanced studio course offered by California College of the Arts is designed to lead students gently towards increasingly challenging materials and processes. Each offers a wide range of possibilities for investigation and surprise. Students use different tools that combine 2D and 3D practice, eventually leading to parallel work in both disciplines.

My Why

To challenge myself to generate new ideas and to have fun in the process of making and inventing. 



Getting my hands dirty.

This course encouraged experimentation, exploration, and play. Its expectation was fidelity to the process, a willingness to proceed forward, and an excitement to get your hands dirty.

Process using rope and concrete for a mold-making project, February 2022


Extrapolate, express, explore.

Why break my brain every week working with unfamiliar materials and processes? My background was in 2D visual design, 3D was completely unknown territory. With each new project, I considered the system at work, asking, “What is the process, the experiment that is occurring, what changes am I exploring?”

Process and exploration with different materials, Jan.-Apr. 2022


Explore themes and techniques that yield different results.

I experimented with how to turn accidents into processes, adjusting certain variables to turn the output into a planned event. By causing it to happen, I could start to define what I was doing.

Asking, “What happens when I do this?” became my mantra. Things are never as “random” as they appear. Along the chain of creation, I made a choice, and that choice lead to a specific outcome. 

Moving from 3D to 2D, I asked how to translate physical objects into a system of marks, strokes, or gestures? Setting up a direction, learning how to fine tune, understanding what the next steps should be so I’m not just shooting in the dark.

Translating 3D objects in 2D expressions, March 2022

Whenever I’m experimenting, there is a strong chance it will fail. That’s fine. It’s about refine and practicing how to learn from “mistakes” rather than just throwing things out.

Outputs of mold making project, March 2022

Discovering references like Ruth Asawa influenced how I thought about moving forward. I was experimenting and tinkering with weaving, coiling, pot making, 3D extrusion, and automation. Challenging myself to think about where I chose to focus and where I could be more rigorous.

Outputs for project 3 Conversant Systems, March 2022 


Concrete spaghetti.

Rather than controlling the process with my hands completely, I designed a machine that could produce outputs instilled with the unexpected and the unknown.

First iteration and use of idea machine V2, April 2022

Idea machine sketches, April 2022

Idea machine, V1, April 2022

V1 outputs, April 2022

V2 vector design ready for laser cutter, April 2022

V2 idea machine, in action, outputs.


A foundation for deeper analysis.

The skills I practiced throughout this project are transferable to any field of design - whether it’s designing a business framework, rethinking our built environment, or strategizing a new marketing campaign. It’s about creating a system, understanding that system, and deciding how to move forward.