Lexi was born out of the fire that was my mother’s untimely death from ALS in 2016. The “MacGyver of Crafts” I called her, my mother spent every free moment pursuing her nearly infinite list of passions in sewing, yarn spinning, weaving, photography, pottery making, basketry and more. Her death, or rather, my appreciation for how she lived her life in pursuit of her passions, inspired me to do the same. I examined three “passion projects” as I called them and chose one.
Lexi was born from my mother’s death, but it was conceived years before. I have been fascinated by light for my entire life. Fire & Light. The older I became the more entranced I became with lighting, in no small part because I grew increasingly frustrated with what I believed was terrible lighting in so many business and homes. Lights, lighting- they are the very definition of utility and yet they can be so very much more. I see them as having magical qualities. They can create moods, set scenes, lift spirits and be art unto themselves.
The decision to do more about lighting than just think about it came when I saw this photo of a pathway in Europe.
It incorporates photo luminescent stones that shine at night. In my minds eye, it is incredibly beautiful- and creative genius as well. Yet, for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t work. The photo luminescent stones don’t emit enough light to make it look like that for any meaningful period of time. I know, I tried. I decided that I was going to make that happen one day and the only way to do it I decided, was to do it with LEDs impregnated in the pathway.
Since that time, I collected a few more images of Light Art I wanted to bring to life one day. You can see two of them here.
That “One Day” arrived on January 1, 2017, just two months after my mother’s passing. I decided it was time to bring this Light Art to reality.
Lexi, before it was called Lexi, was a personal art project. I was going to make artificial stones with flexible LED matrices inside that I could put in a magical garden I wanted to make. Over a four month period I taught myself rubber molding and plastic casting in order to make the artificial stones. Here is a picture of my first attempt at plastic casting. The plastic hardened right as I was pouring it into the mold.
I was going to do this all myself and in the first month as part of that thinking I bought an Arduino board and a tutorial. Page 2 of the tutorial is where I learned that I needed to know C in order to code the Arduino board to drive the LED matrices. Learning C was not an easy undertaking-one that would happen in any reasonable time for me to create my Light Art Artificial Rocks.
The plan was for me to do this on the weekends as a side project. At about the same time I realized that I would need to know C, I recognized that perhaps this side project could be more-that we could create Light Art products that others would want as well. I contacted one of my former senior engineers from my last company, explained what I was trying to do and asked if he wanted to join me and next thing I know I have a co-founder & CTO for a new Smart Light Art company!