Category Archives: Design

The Great Thing About Making Bad Decisions

Such an inspiring book. ‘Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite’ is written by Paul Arden and made me feel great about the way I work. The book lets you in on how making bad decisions can lead to surprising achievements and rewards.

It explains that your bad decisions can actually influence others, for example, in the day, high jumpers used to jump over the bar front first – almost like a forward roll. This was called the Western Roll.

However in the 1968 Mexico Olympics a guy called Dick Fosbury approached the bar but turned his back on it, flipping his legs up from behind him – beating all the other athletes by miles. This is called a Fosbury Flop and is now used by everyone.

Just shows that making a daring decision can have great impact.

“The problem with making sensible decisions is that so is everyone else”

Another really funny story is explained of an Oxford professor bathing naked in a river. He was getting out when a boat of undergraduates floated by. In sheer panic he went for his towel and wrapped it around his head. The bottom line is he would rather conceal his identity than being humiliated!

Arden points out that showing people your work is a good way in getting constructive criticism. However, do not ask them what they think about it, as they will probably say everything positive – not wanting to offend. The only way to get great constructive criticism is to ask them what is wrong with the work and give them permission to give truthful comments – accept the comments and do not fight back! This is key in developing work, amending the problems and most importantly gaining strength in what you do.

“Be your own worst critic. When things go wrong, it’s tempting to shift the blame. Don’t. Accept responsibility. People will appreciate it, and you will find out what you’re capable of.”

  

Arden illustrates that having too many ideas is not always good. You tend to become flustered and do not finish things to their utmost potential because you have something ‘better’. Maybe having fewer ideas are better so you become more focused and work harder on each of them – making the most of the ideas you have.

This book is really motivating as when I work I usually take risks, however, I’m also thinking it might be better just to go down the safer route. But a little of me thinks – “that does not get people talking about your work, it’s not exciting to be safe”. It is the same when you go into a gallery and see something full of sexual content and quite disturbing. You end up talking about it throughout the whole gallery saying how obscene it is. Even when you exit the building you tell your friends about it. TELLING THEM ABOUT IT. This is the way it has effected you. The image has remained stuck in your brain. Memorable. This is what taking risks is all about. Taking things over the edge. So yes risk-taking creatively is something I truly believe in.

Leaving on one of my favourite inspirational quotes, he concludes:

“The world is what you think of it. So think of it different and your life will change”

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Sea Anemone Project

My family are all scuba divers. I love being under the water it’s such a magical place! Feel like a mermaid. It’s brilliant. When I’m under I usually tend to touch things. It’s tempting when there’s colourful little feathery crawlies and wobbly jellies. Once, I got so into it I actually rubbed my face against a sea anemone and it ended up stinging me all over! Ouch. Yes – tip for today: maybe don’t touch things when you haven’t got a clue what it is. Following on from that, I based this project on sea anemones.

They are amazing underwater jellies that possess long wobbly tentacles which wave with the tide. Their colours are vibrant and can usually in groups competing for light just like land plants would do. I really wanted to capture this sense of cluster growth and bright colour, in addition to their strange jelly quality. Here are some of my sketches illustrating their bulbous forms, colour and alien-like features. Be prepared, some of them can be a bit… well, a bit suggestive in shape.

The last picture was my first sample in which I created 3-dimensional crevasses and little hints of colour. I was very pleased with the result as allowed me to think of all kinds of shapes –  the possibilities seemed endless! I even got excited about colour as you will see in my more developed samples below.

Once I got the hang of creating colourful alien-like forms. I tried envisioning pieces on the body. I took inspiration from the designers Lucy Mcrae & Bart Hess and Mi-Mi Moscow. They are both collaborative designers who make creative pieces adorned uniquely on the human form. I like adorning the body in unusual ways because I like morphication and changing the normal shape of the body. Almost like transforming people into underwater creatures themselves. This was my idea.

I wanted to emphasise growth and re-creating the human form. My final outcomes are a mix between final photographs and pieces, aimed to capture unfamiliar shapes and strange alterations to the body.

For my first solution I attached anemone tentacles to the ends of fingers – changing the length and proportion of the fingers to the rest of the body.

Next I created a simple ring with which protrude rather suggestive tentacles. I liked the contrast of the smooth reflective metal to the rubbery matt texture of the latex. The benefits of this ring is you can put on your jacket without worrying about the tentacles breaking off as they are extremely flexible.

Finally I transformed the shape of the back into a kind of extending dorsal fin. Little anemone branches sprout from the surface down the spine as if they were spreading. Long roots stretch across the back to stress this idea of hosting and the ‘taking-over’ of the body.

Next I’ll be looking at making luminescent creatures and incorporating bits of wire to make them look more intricate and delicate. Thanks for checking out some of my work!

http://www.BodyMod.org/flash/mymods.swf

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Design & The Market: Presentation Over! Now Think

What a relief! The nerves and worries are all gone! Just had our presentation today with the team talking about Stephen Webster. So what are my conclusive thoughts?

Well I got to say the group who presented before us, Illustration, were brilliant! They were able to interview the artists direct and displayed fab hand-drawings of characters in their piece. But I personally do not think we could have drawn our own characters as they are real celebrities and high-end designers. So what were the pros and cons of our presentation?

Perhaps we could have said more about Stephen Webster’s brand as that played a big part in the business and less about. However, we went into detail at how he got recognition and the importance of contacts. How taking risks has really paid off for Webster. This is all to do with business.

Overall, I think the purpose of presentations is to establish more confidence in talking in front of people and the use of intellectual language which is vital in being a professional business person.

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Design & The Market: Engaging With the Designer

Had a really successful weekend with this research project so far. I was able to get hold of a woman who worked with Stephen Webster for 3 years so should have a considerable amount of insight into his business. She has made prompt responses to my emails which is always a good sign and only lives 2 hours away so will arrange an interview with her very soon.

In our group today, we met up and brainstormed what Stephen Webster was all about: his inspirations, advertising, press, etc. It was brilliant, it all seemed we had done our homework! We then focused on areas where we would require more information and have selected separate ones for each of us to research on for friday. I chose ‘Inspirations’. The team also managed to brainstorm questions which could be asked for the interview and type up a confidentiality consent form.

Overall,  a very productive day. Well done team!

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Design & The Market: Research Your Business

For our first Design & The Market we have been asked to identify an enterprise, such as a company or freelance designer, to research and evaluate, followed by a presentation about that business. This should help us understand and acknowledge of what running a business is like.

Today, we allocated ourselves into teams. My team includes Linsay Thompson, Lucie Hunter, Cat Doyle, Rachel Bruce, Jennifer McGurk and myself. We sat down and had a brainstorm of which successful designers and companies we would benefit  from most and decided on Steven Webster, who creates cutting edge, almost glam goth, jewellery.

We decided as a group which individuals were best at talking, researching and presentations, thus, making sure we were organised to proceed knowing which person was doing what in the continuation of the project. Through the technique of brainstorming our team thought about different questions and things to look for in more detail when researching Webster’s company, including market research; what is happening in the Jewellery industry?; What are the trends? And so fourth.

It was a successful first meeting, everyone seems to be excited and enthusiastic about the project. So looking forward to hopefully getting in contact with the ‘Webster’ himself.

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Visiting Sheila Fleet’s Workshop

Nearing the end of my Christmas holidays in Orkney I decided to take up the courage and organise a visit Sheila Fleet’s workplace. It turned out the whole visit was AMAZING. They were all so down to earth, honest, helpful and lovely! Unfortunately Sheila Fleet, herself, was away South doing some work-related things. However, her son, Martin, was kind enough to show me the ropes of the workshop as he works there himself.

Makers at work

The workshop was a nice traditional bungalow building out in the middle of nowhere. Inside it was so modern! You would step into the shop first of all, where all the jewellery were all nicely displayed in glass cabinets, then walk through into the office. It was a really friendly atmosphere, like Martin said “we are all family”, and I could see that. Martin brought me through into the workshop where maker’s huddled at their benches happily making. First off, I was shown how pieces were made from start to finish with the help of pictures and pre-made jewellery and moulds. Then I got passed onto a highly organised ‘Dave’, the guy in charge of the lost-wax casting process.

Series of photos showing how jewellery is made

After this I stood by one of the makers, Bryce, and asked him endless questions about jewellery, techniques, my work, etc, as he sat there polishing almighty gold and silver on giant machines. This was utmost helpful to me.

Maker soldering silver band together

I then watched the 2 young enameling girls scooping tiny grains of glass onto silver. I learned so much from these girls as I have never tried enameling before.

Applying enamel to silver

Finally, after hours of learning and watching, a woman who works on the displaying of the jewellery, Christine, was helpful enough to show me, in detail, how she goes about displaying the work to its best potential.

Jewellery in the making

This experience was a huge learning curve for me and taught me tricks of the trade. I recommend all designers to go out and meet other makers as it can open your eyes to so many things.

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ROUSEY-WRAP Imake Project

In our Critical Making Module we were given a brief asking us to design a concept which improves your daily life via exploring traditional design & craft practice and new technologies. For me, waking up in the morning is a real task especially during the winter months, thus, decided to design some kind of alarm clock which assists your waking routine. I had a great time researching all kinds of alarm clocks, like one which wafts a smell of cooking bacon or freshly brewed coffee so you got to get up and replenish your appetite, and another which actually donates your hard-earned money to some charity so getting up is a MUST. Inspired by these quirky designs I started to think of my own.

I came up with a magnetic alarm clock concept. The idea was you would wear pyjamas fitted with small magnets and when the alarm went off the magnets would activate and quite literally pull you out of bed.

I also thought of a duvet which turns extremely cold which makes getting out of bed a relief. HOWEVER, I was a little scared because supposedly magnets can do horrible things to people with pacemakers and my grandpa has one so was against that idea. I decided to go for a safer option and design something that would actually physically shake you awake. In addition, looking into sleeping disorders and treatments helped me with my designs, in particular, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

SAD is basically a mood disorder which affects individuals in any season, but most commonly in winter (winter blues). It can cause depression and make getting out of bed extremely difficult. To be honest I think I suffer a bit from this and wanted to keep this in mind when designing.

I thought a designing a special duvet which could gradually brighten and gently vibrate rather than scare you awake with a blaring noise. For inspiration I looked at photographs taken on Guy Fawkes fireworks night and went on creating numerous fabric samples and even investing in Electroluminescent Wire which is amazing stuff! I dyed, melted, grated, sewed and pleated materials to try and achieve an effect I liked for the duvet.

Inspiration

Material Samples

The images above are plastic bags ironed together with metallic foils in between and embellished with sewn circles on the top to echo the circular shapes created by the fireworks in the photos.

Pleated materials to create texture and light effects when the fabric reflects.

The material above has been dyed using a rusty items so the brown rust transfers permanently to the fabric. Pretty cool tie-dye effect but does not really fit in with my project.

During this project I took part in an Arduino workshop run by Ali, Digital Interaction guy, which took a whole day. We were taught how to program LEDs, Light Dependant Resistors (light/dark sensor) and Variable Resistors (dimming/brightening device) through Arduino circuit boards which allowed us to understand how to incorporate technology into design. I got really excited to blend textiles and technology!

I discussed with Ali the types of motors and sensors I required for my duvet. I used Light Dependant Resistors to light up the EL wire when the surrounding area had no or very little light (i.e. sunrise, night, sunset), which were programmed through Lilypad circuit boards (perfect for textiles as they are small and washable).

So my final outcome is a beautiful yet medicinal duvet aimed for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective disorder. The EL wires turns on automatically at sunset before you go to bed so you can fall asleep to an ambient glow and at sunrise (or when it nears the time wanting to waken) it automatically turns on again gradually to act as a sunrise (especially good in winter). When it is time, the blanket will gently vibrate and arouse the sleeper awake. Overall, I believe this Rousey-Wrap can suit any occasion, whether it be for people who suffer from SAD or just as an elegant decorative item for your room.

Above is my first prototype however I thought the EL wires were a bit harsh when on so decided to conceal them with an layer of fabric so the wires would softly glow through.

Sorry but I tried to take photos of the blanket when the EL wires were on but the light was far too dim to catch anything on camera. But it does look very relaxing and ambient, perfect for a gentle glow in your room.

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Critical Making: The Body & Technology Team Project – Week 2

INVENTION OF THE MIGHTY POD

In week 2, we narrowed down our ideas and discussed which one was the strongest. We developed our strongest idea, trying to create it for a purpose as originally it seemed to not fill a gap in the market. Thus, we thought of ideas that would be made for a purpose. POD-ED: a place where you can take your child for a worry-free health check up, whilst letting them have a little fun and education. After coming up with this fab idea we worked on different aspects of the design – the interior, exterior etc. This is where all of our different disciplines came into play. Good times.

From left to right: Cara, Judy and Rosalind.

We met up in the Duncan of Jordanstone Library and had a good chat about what could be included and how they contributed to the design as a whole. We had A LOT of fun with this. Designs were drawn and ideas were noted, this is how we seemed to work best. Are possible ways of monitoring different aspects of health without it being obvious? Such as dexterity? Heart-Rate? Weight? Well this is what we investigated. The room would be filled with discrete monitoring devices which will be explained further in the next post.

Pea-pod designs links to Pod name and encourages children to eat vegetables.
Sketch of interior

I made some resin samples during the first week to show the group what nice colours you can get with them – almost gem-like.

On the same day, whilst us textile and jewellery people were busy idea hunting, the IED girls (Shona and Cara) went ahead and made a down-scaled model of the Pod in cardboard. Got to say it was really surprising how great it came out in the small amount of time they had!

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Critical Making: The Body & Technology Team Project – Week 1

THE BEGINNING

Yes well, this is me finally posting something after many weeks of working on projects. Every Wednesday morning and Thursday we worked on a project called The Body & Technology Project. The project started with a fascinating slide show introduction presented by, the funny, Jason Nelson. The aims of this course is to:

  • help us to develop a cleared understanding of critical thinking and making.
  • develop understanding of materials, fabrication and construction
  • explore historical and contemporary concepts in making.

STAGE 1, WEEK 1

After our introduction we were put into our allocated groups to get to know one another, they were: Rosalind Crawford from Textiles (who I knew from 1st year – she’s brilliant!), Judy Scott from Textiles (lovely lady with a talent for fabrics), Cara from Interior & Environmental Design (or IED), Shona Cairns from IED and, of course, myself from Jewellery & Metal Work.

Each team were given a subject to base their designs on – our subject was HEALTH. Immediately, my team got excited about the project – even when walking from the lecture theatre to our studios we discussed what we could do and make! It became clear that we were a focussed and hard-working group just from judging from that walk.

We visited each of our studios to give one another an idea of what facilities and spaces were on offer, as well as explaining our strengths which could possibly make our group excel more than others.

STAGE 2

After the tours we sat down and began kicking off the project with some brainstorming. This lasted for the whole day! Working together, I felt, was an excellent way to build confidence in your own ideas and to create stronger ideas as others contribute to them. It blended thoughts from different mind-sets (textiles, jewellery and IED) establishing a fantastic method of realising how broad your own discipline can become! Ideas we brainstormed were having the body in balance – to feel relaxed and mentally at ease. This is what we thought could benefit health and THIS is where our team name came about. Balance relates to the astrological sign LIBRA (balancing scales). However we thought if we translated the word into a different language it would sound memorable and more professional, thus, came up with the Swedish term ‘Vågen‘, meaning scales, however our spelling was VOGEN.

We had a really productive day brainstorming and turning up different solutions to answer our brief – HEALTH. We incorporated smart materials, wearable computers, radio frequencies an 3D printing into some of our ideas. Through this method of group brainstorming it allowed our team VOGEN to really grow, bounce ideas off one another, become motivated and enthusiastic about the project.

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Creative Paper: Li-Chu Wu

Li-Chu Wu was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She trained in Jewellery Design at Fu Jen Catholic University and graduated in 2006, followed by completing an MA in Jewellery, Silversmithing and Related Products at Birmingham City University in 2009.

Her sculptural jewellery looks nature inspired portrayed by their bulbous organic shapes. I enjoy looking at the lines made by the multiple layers of coloured paper. Wu’s method of placing bold vibrant colours next to one another is effective in making the pieces striking and particularly attractive in appearance. Their value increases when combining the paper with precious materials such as silver, emphasising that these pieces are truly special.

Wu’s intention is to  convey the values of the materials itself. Some of these pieces are small enough to wear and others possibly intended to be displayed as a unique sculpture because I personally could take time observing these pieces individually. The amount of effort put into making each piece in unmeasurable, Wu must take pleasure in “the making” part of design (the repetitive cutting, placing and gluing) because why else would she use these exact processes in every work. I aspire to this and feel similar in when creating my works, the whole repetitive processes such as weaving, beading, soldering I find is very therapeutic and take great enjoyment in doing it.

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