Meet the Teams: Julie Lorch and Clemson Winding

“I like tinkering, I like making things,” said designer Julie Lorch in her quick introduction to the Structure and Surface group.

Lorch just finished graduate school in the University of Pennsylvania’s engineering program, which took a more design-focused approach to field. The example of her work shown to the group was a heat engine – a set of pistons and gears that, when heated with a blowtorch, begins to spin. It’s a template that requires a huge degree of specificity – a hole drilled a hundredth of an inch out of place could mean the difference between the device working and not.

“I am not a precise person, at least I wasn’t,” Lorch said. “So I had to remake this eight times.”

After much trial, error, and exhaustion, Lorch said she eventually got a working model and, needing to mount it on something, chose a triangular cut of metal designed to look like slice of cheese.

“Even something as dull and boring as this heat engine, I like to inject bits of humor in surprise places,” she said.

Her manufacturer partners, Bill and Joan Clemson of Clemson Winding, showed a bit of dry humor of their own.

“We’re the in-between people,” Bill said. “We don’t have to buy anything, we don’t have to sell anything. We deal sometimes with the Amish. They pay cash, so that’s good.”

Clemson Winding got its start as a family business “until we got too big,” said Bill. “The city told us you can’t operate out of your house anymore.”

Using large-scale machines, they wind yarn either from a cone, tube or skein, or unwind it from the like, to the final package, often sending the end product along to fellow Structure and Surface manufacturers like Wayne Mills, etc.  for dying.

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