From Their Sketchbook

CHACK 2020 Sketches + Concept Art
Katyrose Jordan and Hunter Irving

The Worm Tree

Out of all the toys we designed for our chickens, The Worm Tree (also known as The Noodle Tree) is my absolute favorite.

Although we weren't able to capture it on film, usually, Buttergrind finds "worm-like objects" irresistable.

Maybe it was just a phase...?

In any case, "A Worm Lover's Paradise" was the design goal that lead us to create The Worm Tree.

Before arriving at our final design, we experimented with several "more tree-like" trees.

But ultimately, we settled on a design with a "square" footprint, allowing us to make the most of our Monoprice Select Mini's cramped 120mm³ print volume.

After several rejected concepts, The Worm Tree's final incarnation came to me like a flash of light. I scribbled this drawing on a scrap of paper, then started modeling immediately.

In an attempt to add EVEN MORE WORMS, a multi-tiered design was briefly considered, but scrapped once we realized the lower set of branches would interfere with higher-hung noodles.

Though it wasn't very popular with the judges, artistically, I find The Worm Tree to be the strongest of the four.

The tree's roots are a mirror image of its branches, and act as both a structural anchor and a hidden facet to be discovered by some future excavator.

The Garden of Mirrors

When we first got out baby chicks, Callie (formal name Calypso) spent HOURS staring and pecking at her reflection in the wall of the plastic bin she called home.

We knew Callie's toy would incorporate mirrors, but before we could justifiably call it a "toy", we felt it needed to be interactive in some way.

The only problem? Chickens have a pretty limited set of tools for interacting with their environment.

So, we designed The Garden of Mirrors to interface with Callie's only real interaction option - pecking.

In the end, The Garden was our most successful chicken toy. Each of our chickens spent a good amount of time with this one, and the "print-in-place" rotating disk at the center of each flower printed perfectly first try!

I like the double-sided nature of these pieces - there's no "backside" to them, so there's no "wrong direction" to approach them from.

The Pecking Post

The Pecking Post is another toy designed with chicken interaction capabilities (aka pecking) in mind.

Our weebly-wobbly egg might have worked out well... if we hadn't added the top half of that eggshell.

Early concept art featured a replaceable screw-on base, which would allow one to fill the inner sand chamber.

The final version of The Pecking Post features a spherical sand chamber which is filled before connecting the two halves of the egg.

While our chickens didn't seem to be big fans of peanut butter (probably because it got stuck to their beaks), after leaving this one outside for a day or two, they eventually pecked all the corn and mealworms off of it.

So maybe this one wasn't a total failure.

The Chungle Gym

Unlike The Pecking Post, The Chungle Gym went through many iterations before arriving at its final incarnation.

Our initial concept featured a series of modular branches that could be arranged to create novel chicken obstacle courses.

As time went on, we abandoned the realistic "weathered bark" motif, and explored more abstract shapes.

Finally, we landed on a simple, cylindrical trunk, with clyindrical offshoots meant to imitate sawed-off logs.

The Chungle Gym uses the same rectangular connecting rod as the other 3 toys in the series, but the holes in the bottom and top of each chungle are offset by 45 degrees, giving The 'Gym its signature "spiral staircase" look.

Each chungle took about 6 hours to print, and The Chungle Gym took over four days to complete.

This time, the size of each branch was limited by our printer's build volume, but perhaps, if we had been able to make the branches just a little bit bigger, our chickens would have felt more comfortable perching on them.

Maybe we'll find out at CHACK 2021...






One scrapped idea would have featured a giant 3D printed chicken full of worm-like objects.

I still think this chicken tetherball idea has some potential.

One early concept for our print-at-home trading cards featured a 7 color indexed color palette - we were going for a woodblock print style look.

Another idea had us exploring a C64-inspired pixel art theme, before eventually settling on a "high resolution photograph" art style.

And finally, here's a bit of digital ephemera - a flyer for the CHACK 2020 digital afterparty in Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch.