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Solstice Wall Shadow Lines – 2d or 3d?

December 15, 2023

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

This article was published as an issue of my newsletter Ready for Rain

The solstice wall is based on the movement of the shadow line in the photo below.

We marked the locations of the shadow every fifteen minutes so we could create a map of the shadow’s location as the sun set.

The lines above became a starting point for months of debate. The initial idea was to draw the lines on the wall’s surface and use them to create an interesting design.

Over time we realized that drawing on the wall wasn’t the right approach. It was two-dimensional and not very interesting. The wall is huge and in our main living space. We needed to find a remarkable approach and take our time getting it right.

Eventually, we started to consider making the shadow lines 3 dimensional and thought about adhering pieces of wood to the wall. This felt like the right direction, but it needed more. Soon we saw an opportunity to hold the shadow lines off the wall. This way, the shadows would be more interesting and the whole thing would look more sophisticated.

This idea stuck. But it also created new problems to solve. How would we install the pieces of wood on the wall? It took months and multiple models to figure out what could work. More on that soon.

Here is a brief video on this subject:

I’m sharing this process on social media. Follow along!

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