Hilton and Mears: Function instead of form…
A falling tree is a life changing force for me and the tree. Experience flourishes into the wisdom of knowing that the falling tree will go where it damn-well wants to once it’s in motion. Just as that real life wisdom allows you to live longer in the woods, this understanding changes our design of models from colouring squares into patterns from a guidebook to one more like journaling the story of that tree’s journey in L girders, flextrack, and foam.
So is learning how to fully model this more than just miniaturizing what we see and more like knowing why it was there? Who do we work for and what kinds of tank cars do we supply? What damage do we usually fix? Do we clean out more cars and does that happen quickly?
I think one of the things we like about railways is how they reveal a sense of order; how the railway not only connects objects but sequences them. We can modulate the complexity of those events by shifting the time or place where our events occur. In doing so we can position our presentation at an intersection that fits our space and feels familiar to our experience. When the railway first reached this far into the woods, loading logs was something we did at a clearing and onto railway cars waiting on the main line of this lightly laid branch. Our tools were mostly our bodies. Over time the mainline was relaid and a siding added. Horse teams gave way to trucks and trailers and our shoulder and peavey combination gave way to heavy cranes and pulleys. We’re able to load way more logs here but the basic function hasn’t changed; it’s still just “put log on wheels”.
I can read about logging and then walk into the woods and touch that data. Tapping this to release model railway design becomes not a plan to miniaturize the evidence but represent why it exists. I think this is why sometimes we look at a model we’ve built and feel confused because the process was followed correctly but the product doesn’t feel right. Maybe that disconnect is because we were only concerned with what we saw on the outside without considering what happens inside?
I think this can be employed as a method informing decisions so that a connection to function reveals the coda of the log car and maybe resulting in models that look capable of doing the work I claim they can. Similarly, embracing my personal connection to time spent in the woods becomes the language informing the design of the layout making it something created because it just felt right and, well, sometimes you just know.