Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Further Research : Meaty Fashion

After a lot of consideration about my own final piece I have started experimentingwith raw meat.

Here is a few examples of the use of meat in today’s
couture fashion.

Looking at the organic forms and textures created by Bauer I wondered about an equally organic material to express that kind of inspiration.

Meat seems to be perceived as controversial but it is slowly gaining popularity.

Icon in Meat

Meaty Fashion successfully draws attention to many serious issues including animal cruelty. The newest Jeremy Scott’s collection uses some artificial ham to reinforce the idea.

And, of course, Lady Gaga did not fail to shock wearing her truly meaty outfit complete with a head piece, handbag and a pair of heels.

Margaux Lange - Barbie Jewellery

Margaux Lange is one of my favourite jewellery designers, at this point in time.

Her work is also related to the body but this time from a different perspective – practically the opposite of organic.

Lange looks at the
mass production aspect of Barbie Dolls and their iconic influence over the way the perfect body
is perceived.

Ela Bauer - Degree Show Work

I feel that it is really important to highlight her initial ideas of jewellery design and how challenging her perception of our discipline was and is, continuously.

initial pieces show the artist’s reflection upon what jewellery really is or is supposed to be.

The pieces presented at
Rietveld Academy argue with the idea that jewels have toadore the body in a decorative way.

Projects : First we Quake, Now we Shake

Apart from making jewellery, Ela Bauer, with some help from fellow designers organized an international exhibition aimed at creating links between jewelers from around the World.

The exhibitions gathers
contemporary jewellery from many countries and it travels from one art gallery to the next visiting: Amsterdam, Tokyo, Munich, Stockholm and Bern.

Projects: Novajoia – Creative SPA in Brasil

Ela travelled all the way to Sao Paulo to give a lecture about souvenirs and their connections to jewellery design.

She participated in a series of
workshops which were focused around the idea of taking part in a journey and forming memories as the result.

Many interesting pieces of exiting, anti-cliché souvenirs got constructed and exhibited during a symposium called BOOMSP design.

Projects : Troost (Consolation)

Another highly valuable project that Bauer participated in was organized by Arte Libera from Geneva. The exposition was centered around the idea of childhood protection.

Ela’s pieces made for this are ones of my favorites.The materials that the designer has used for this project are mostly found objects, which were abandoned and forgotten, just like the lost children, the central idea behind the whole exhibition.

Projects : Prix Europeen des arts appliques

Ela Bauer is very open and exited about taking part in International Jewellery and Art Projects as well as collaborations and workshops.

One of the most successful
exhibitions, she has taken part in so far was entitled:

European Prize For Applied Arts.

Bauer’s work was selected as a
poster piece and distributed throughout the city of Bergen in Belgium.

The brooch she designed and made managed to
publicize the exhibition very well and this collaboration was truly unforgettable for the designer.

Inspiration - Ela Bauer

The main source of inspiration for Bauer is the human body and nature.

Her designs mirror the organic. They seem to have a heart beat.

They shock with
tissue like textures and keep developing themselves with the speed of the

A series of heart inspired jewellery.

Personally, I find it very moving and the process of creation of these pieces is fascinating, with connections to shamanism.

The hand-made element reinforces the artists concept.

Materials and techniques

Ela Bauer

The designer is continuously exploring the possibilities the plastics provide in jewellery design :

Silicone – rubber
Copper Mash
And Porcelain

Only very occasionally does the designer use silver or other precious metals.

The same applies to precious
stones, minerals and materials like glass and coral.

plays with her materials for as long as necessary to achieve the kind of results she has planned for the piece.

Invention is central to her creative process.

A contemporary jewellery designer, but is that all… ?

Ela Bauer

Ela started her literature studies in Israel, in the city of Tel Aviv and after graduating, she decided to continue her education.

This time, she chose to explore Jewellery Design at the local
Technical School.

The next step for the designer was to move to Amsterdam, to
Rietveld Academy, where her adventure with Plastics started.

Object ’95 :

silicone – rubber




Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Dissertation Proposal - Draft 1 - Bibliography

Adamson, E., (1984), Art as Healing, London, Coventure Ltd.

“Art as Healing” explores the relationship between art practices such as painting, sculpture and sketching and the psychological effects that these have on young children, the mentally ill and the most vulnerable members of our society.

Bremner J., Dean J., McCoig M., Skinner, K., (2005), Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital: Arts Project, Aberdeen, PACE

This colourful publication illustrates the story of the refurbishment of the Children’s Hospital in Aberdeen. Some wonderful examples of architecture and design were used in that project along side art work provided by Scottish Fine Artists. The book demonstrates the kind of environment that inspires and encourages patients to stay positive and get better.

Farrelly – Hansen, M., (2001), Spirituality and Art Therapy: Living the Connection, London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Avery interesting take on Art Therapy is explored in this book, the author describes many incidents were the use of Art Therapy was priceless but the fact that is was connoted to a particular religion was essential. This shows a “shamanistic” view on the discipline which contradicts all the most of the other books I read, which treat Art Therapy almost as rigorously as if it was a science subject.

Furth, G. M., (1988), The secret world of drawings: a Jungian approach to healing through art, Boston, Sigo Press

Gregg Furth's book is a complex study of spontaneous drawings created by a wide spectrum of patients, from young terminally ill children, their parents and families to troubled adolescents, prisoners, the disabled and the elderly.

Gordon A. M., Browne K. W., (2007) Beginnings & Beyond: Foundations in Early Childhood

An effective book which considers all things important when growing up. It explores different relationships and the way’s a child is starting to form their opinion of the word around. A big section on learning new skills and how creativity develops from a very young age.

Gordon P.,
Szreter R., (1989), History of Education: The Making of a Discipline, Oxon, Routledge

Great source of information on how education actually started and how it has developed to the stage it is on at the moment. Many valuable stories and facts written up in a clear and understandable language to promote a further research into the field. An essential read.

Malchiodi, C. A., (1999), Medical Art Therapy with Children, London, Jessica Kingsley Publishers Ltd.

Malchiodi focuses on using art as a means of communication between seriously ill children undergoing aggressive medical treatment and the professionals working with them. It helps to use and translate the language of drawings into our day to day verbal communication.

MacLeman, M., Pearson, J., (2008), The Pattern of a Bird, Glasgow, Art in Hospital

This beautiful book tells the stories of a hospice’s patients and their adventures with Art and Poetry. It shows how important art making or the creative process, as a whole is, in relation to situations of deep despair such as terminal illness. A truly inspiring publication.


The American take on Art Therapy. This will enable me to look into the differences between the practises of this discipline in the two countries. Which one is more effective, works more efficiently and create a safer environment for the patient? These questions will definitely be addressed in one of the parts of my presentation.


Another professional web page focusing on the use of Art Therapy within the UK. Many interesting events and facts are discussed on the forums. This will be really useful of finding information out about potential contacts and people to interview.


The National Society for Education in Art and Design’s official website. General information for art and design teachers and those interested in this path. This web page has many sections including a primary education one, with articles I will most probably find invaluable in to further my knowledge of the field.


A fantastic website for a valuable information concerning Art Therapies. It looks at Music, Drama and Dance as well as Art Therapies. Many useful links to other web pages of different organisations can be found. What is even more exiting there is a forum filled with suggestions about upcoming events relation to this discipline.

Dissertation Proposal - Draft 1.

Heal my body, heal my mind.

Early education, Art Therapy and Design.

Education is what I always found fascinating and recently while researching it further, I discovered many links and interactions between Design as a whole and its connections to specific educational methods and techniques.

While, still at the most basic stage of my research, I came across one other discipline which seemed to connote to these two hugely – Art Therapy. I decided to go down that route and to familiarise myself with the available resources, primarily books and journals.

After a few weeks of looking into Art Therapy in relation to several psychological issues, I most definitely decided to explore Art Therapy with children in particular and more precisely, kids with serious medical conditions, after traumas or undergoing hospitalisation.

Continuously, trying to broaden my horizons, I took an interest into hospital and hospice design. The interior design of such institutions is crucial as well as the Design Idea behind it, the concept of a more child friendly and, in fact, a more art friendly environment.

I ask myself, whether or not, us as Designers should be more curious about the well being of our consumers and could dare to “heal” faulty designs within the educational and the health care systems.

Furthermore, I wish to investigate if introducing art therapy in primary and secondary schools could not be the answer to aggression, racism, bullying, homophobia and sectarianism.

I cannot wait to arrange some primary research opportunities, possibly in both schools and hospitals, to gather more firsthand information.

My aim is bring the benefits of art therapy to the attention of Designers and to encourage more inter-specialisation collaborations.

This subject is not related to my studio work directly as of yet, although the flow of ideas could most possibly inspire my Degree Show theme, which I am hoping will eventually happen.

The people I believe would benefit from my work are children and parents undergoing medical treatment, teaching and medical staff, fellow designers and architects.

Furthermore, I might look into going down that career path myself and feel I need to explore it further when I have an opportunity to do so.

1. A full review of literature and Internet sources on the subject of Art Therapy with children.

2. Full reviews of local authorities take on Art Therapy and Art Therapists offices in Dundee and Scotland – interviews.

3. Interviews with school children, art and care teachers and school psychologists.

4. Interviews with GPs, paediatricians, hospital and hospice staff members and patients.

5. Interviews with fellow designers and architects, especially interior and environmental.

6. Art and design experiments with school children and kids at the hospital/hospice.

7. Questioners of awareness about Art Therapy practice to all above.

Art, Therapy, Children, Education, Elementary, Hospital, Interior, Design.

Bibliography - Assignment 4

Adamson, E., (1984), Art as Healing, London, Coventure Ltd.

Furth, G. M., (1988), The secret world of drawings: a Jungian approach to healing through art, Boston, Sigo Press

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Assignment 4 - Summary 2

Gregg M. Furth - "The Secret World Of Drawings: A Jungian Approach To Healing Through Art".

Gregg Furth's book is a complex study of spontaneous drawings created by a wide spectrum of patients, from young terminally ill children, their parents and families to troubled adolescents, prisoners, the disabled and the elderly.

One of the key questions that the author asks and eventually succeeds in answering is whether or not art as a creative process has the power to heal a hurt subconscious mind. The author had studied at the Jung Institute in Zurich and follows a route known in modern psychotherapy as Jungian Psychology. The crucial point of this belief, in connection to art therapy is that, it can be used to cure and help to re-establish one’s confidence after a traumatic event or a period of acute distress. The author of the theory himself, Carl Jung, practiced art therapy in his own life, in times of stress or despair and he believed that it was more than solely recreational.

The writer looks into a number of studies in the book, during which he deeply analyses the patient’s drawings or other means of art, his condition and further medical evidence. Furthermore, the subject of dream analysis is mentioned throughout the book as it is closely related to the subconscious symbolism expressed through spontaneous drawings. As an example, Furth explores a case study of a young, terminally ill boy, age 5. He looks into a drawing given to him by the mother, without a clue about the author of that drawing. After a period of analysis, Furth manages to uncover some key facts about the patient which are rather shocking having said he did not receive any information about who the patient was. During the consultation with the boy’s mother, the therapist uncovers the truth and delivers a deeply meaningful explanation of the boy’s thoughts and feelings during the process of creation of the drawing relation to the terminal illness.

Other aspect of the book that I find truly helpful is the author’s analysis of his time spent in Jamaica as a Peace Corps volunteer, during which he takes the position of a primary school teacher. That time was very influential for the author mainly because of two aspects. Firstly, the fact that he discovered a relationship between a child’s ability to draw, in order to develop hand to eye coordination skill and also the relationship between the act of creating and the possibility of expressing inner emotions through it. Secondly, during that time Furth befriended an old man, who was trying to prepare to pass away, knowing there was still a number of unfinished business he had to take care of before dying. Later on in his career, the writer managed to connect both of these experiences from his time in Jamaica to develop a deep understanding of the needs and wants of terminally ill children.

Overall, I found this book painfully fascinating and truly reassuring as it proved to examine many aspects of art therapy that interest me. It is so much more than just a guide to analysing drawings of the patients concerned, it explores the core reason behind art therapy as a whole, its benefits, its faults and the importance of practicing this method of psychotherapy whenever possible.

Assignment 4 - The Summaries

I decided to look into the field of Art Therapy for my dissertation proposal. I am hoping to relate it to Education as a whole and highlight it's role in a young child's creative development.

The books I have found most helpful so far are : "Art As Healing" by Edward Adamson and "The Secret World Of Drawings: A Jungian Approach To Healing Through Art" by Gregg M. Furth.

Both of my summaries found below inspired me to look into my area of interest even further. I found deepening my knowledge of Art Therapy truly fascinating and I feel positively inspired and exited about my dissertation proposal which, for the time being, is in a draft form.

Both of the publications I used for the summaries below are books, this is mostly because I felt I needed to read more than just an article about my subject, considering how wide it is. I did read articles on my subject as well as books, yet I do not consider any of them sufficient at this level.

Edward Adamson - "Art As Healing".

“Art as Healing” explores the relationship between art practices such as painting, sculpture and sketching and the psychological effects that these have on young children, the mentally ill and the most vulnerable members of our society.

The author, Edward Adamson as an artist himself, challenges us to reconsider what therapy really is and how to use it in order to help to bring out some of the most shameful and difficult thoughts out to then deal with these through psychotherapy. The writer studies many examples from his work experience of over 37 years at the Hospital for mentally ill – Netherne Hospital.

The most vital part of the book is the exploration of numerous examples of drawings, paintings and sculptures that are visual examples of how art therapy affects individuals and how certain symbols being repeated throughout the whole field. Some other important aspects of this publication are: firstly, the layout of mental hospitals and similar institutions which is mentioned a number of times. Secondly, preventive art therapy is explored in the last chapter if the book and it relates to activities for troubled school students and people exposed to stressful and traumatic events at that particular point in their life.

When it comes to the author’s key sources and influences, primarily, it is his almost life time of work as the Art Director at the Netherne Hospital for the mentally ill. From that time, there are many studies made that the author included in the book. A few of these are, for example, explorations of symbolism and the hospital environment as well as particular art techniques used by the patients and their relevance in the recovery process. Furthermore, the writer has a private practice in his own studio in Chelsea and is a curator of a new art gallery near Cambridge which focuses on the works of his art therapy patients.

The most important conclusions the author reaches are how effective non-invasive treatment such as art therapy is in relation to mental illnesses and patients who are most vulnerable to post traumatic stress disorder and personality disorders. Another very important conclusion of the book is how important Art and Design as a school subject is. It is well know that in primary school all pupils are encouraged to participate in creative classes, however as soon as a transition to secondary education is made all efforts to develop the creative side of student’s personally are almost abandoned in order to focus all the attention on so called “real” subjects like Maths, Science or English. The implications of this could be tremendously severe as anger and frustration without a means of being expressed say stored in one’s subconscious waiting for a climax moment of outburst.

As a whole, I found this book truly helpful in gaining a better understanding of the subject of Art Therapy as a whole. Moreover, I appreciate the fact that the relevance of teaching art was mentioned and discussed, which is of great interest to myself. I am certain that in the near future, I will be delighted to look into this publication again to support some of my own views and conclusions.

Ela Bauer

The Research Project is going very well so I thought, I'd post a few bits and pieces about my Jewellery Designer.

Ela Bauer is a jewellery designer based in the Netherlands. Initially, she studied Literature and Indology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. After that she got into the jewellery department at the Technical School in Jerusalem. Her next move was to join the Gerrit Rietveld Academy of fine arts in Amsterdam.

She Graduated in July 1995 at the jewellery department. Since then she's been really busy participating in many diverse projects and exhibitions.

Bauer's work is really organic and at times rather literal. One of the things I admire most about it is the fact that Ela is not afraid to shock her audience as her pieces often relate to slightly unusual sources of inspiration, especially considering that Jewellery is still primarily seen as adornment of the body. I think Bauer is trying to challenge that perception and reinvent some aspects of our specialisation.

I added a few examples of my designer's work; these are most probably my favourite ones so far!

Assignment 3 and Art Therapy

Just a little note to say how exited I am about my dissertation topic and how fantastic the books I managed to find are!

I am still waiting on a few vital books that I have requested and shouldn't take too long to arrive. Also there is a fair amount of articles that could potentially be rather helpful in further research, a few weeks down the line. So far I have not found any that were directly related to the angle I am looking at my topic, art therapy.

Our group meeting that was held a few weeks ago for Assignment 3 has also helped, as it was clear that all of us needed some further discussion about the dissertation topics and areas of interest. The mind map I made initially did not need much alteration although I decided to construct another one anyway. It will be posted up tomorrow after my meeting with an advisor from dyslexia services. The meeting tomorrow concerns proof reading for my dissertation proposal and some further help and advise in relation to Design Studies and my studio Research Project.

Lastly, I have to admit, I am very exited to hopefully have my tutorial with my group soon. We are awaiting an email from our tutor and wish to wait no longer in order to finally get some advise on specific areas of our research and relevant questions relating to our area of interest for the much discussed dissertation proposal.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Dissertation Alert Is Finally On!

This Wednesday all of us, 3rd year Design student have a workshop planned at the DUSA. This is very exiting but unfortunately quite frightening at the same time. Everyone has been talking about our ideas or lack of them in relation to the dissertation topics.

Oh, it is going to be fun fun fun!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Design Group Meetings

Some photographs to document how busy all of us were in preparation for submitting our Wiki assignment. It was very crucial that all of us were present at the meetings as it helped all of us to develop our ideas further. Discussing any possible problems with the group always made it easier to find new solutions and underline hidden problems too. Overall, I consider it a successful method of learning.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Education and Design


Jewellery and Metal Work Design

Education is the process of learning new information, experiences and emotions concerning all aspects of our lives. It starts from the initial moment we are born and lasts all throughout our entire existence. Painter (2009) emphasises:

“During a considerable period in his life, man is helpless and ignorant; he is without the strength and knowledge necessary to maintain an independent existence. It is this fact, that renders education a necessity.”

Education is an ongoing process all living creatures take part in; no one can escape it as it is a natural progression in understanding of the World that we live in, the society we are part of and the greater philosophy behind life in general. Education is one of the most basic human rights. It is a compulsory part of growing up and it is essential in forming our personalities, characters, skills, values and knowledge.

The history of education stars at the very beginning of our civilisation and it is continued, transformed and adapted to the changing times regularly. It is corresponding with all major historical events and it is shaped by the ongoing expansion of the society. Starting in the ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome education has made its way into our day to day lives and created numerous chapters, several for each country and continent depending on their level of development. Gordon and Szreter (1989) highlight:

“Educational history presents numerous points of contact with the whole current of the history of humanity and human interests, and necessarily develops a broad outlook.”

In the preliterate civilisations education was passed on verbally or through mural paintings. It was passed on from one generation to the other but soon after that, this system was classified as insufficient and a new way of sharing information was created – writing. Along with this development, new ways of teaching emerged and education was transferred into specific institutions in the ancient times. Unfortunately, it was only accessible to the rich members of the society who believed that solely boys should be educated, discriminating girls and taking away their chance of gaining a better understanding of the World. This approach changed drastically after the Reformation period during the European Renaissance as Gordon (2009) brings to our attention:

"The call for a universal education and literacy are two fundamental effects of this period on education as we know it today."

From then on education was recommended for both sexes, although the differentiation between female and male students was still appallingly visible. Furthermore, education was practically fully coordinated by the clergy and sponsored by the churches which often did not result in the best outcomes for the poorest students. Following that many European governments started founding of basic and primary education as it was believed that literacy and general knowledge helped in creating a new kind of citizen with full respect for the state’s laws.

In the present times education is one of the most fundamental pillars our society is based on. It is essential for all individuals to further their education to the best of their abilities in order to enhance the development of our culture. Education could be divided into separate institutions where it takes place at: Primary, Secondary and Higher/Further. Each one of these subdivides into more specific groups which are very different from one another at many levels.

The connection between education and design is
indisputable and it is almost impossible to think of one without mentioning the other. Education shapes and influences design development and all the same design helps to form new teaching/learning methods and makes us imagine innovative ways of approaching educational techniques. The most important aspects of these disciplines combined are developing new, exciting and effective techniques in teaching design and other subjects at different levels of education. Eastman (2001) makes a very important point:

“The need for innovative designers has never been stronger. Industrial organisations and institutions of higher education alike recognise that as society advances design problems increase in complexity”.

The links between the two specialities are growing stronger minute by minute as the latest researches prove the effectiveness of design techniques applied in education. A valuable example to illustrate this is the use of visual techniques such as art and colour therapy, which originated from design related fields, into the teaching methods of special needs pupils in primary and secondary educational institutions. Rubin (1999) states:

“I am convinced that it is the synergistic potency of the combination of art with therapy which accounts for the extremely rapid growth of this still-young field.”

Another important part of the union of education and design is the use of new technologies in primary and secondary institutions. The relationship between new designs and the ways of teaching traditional subjects is ever changing which opens many possibilities for new designer to enhance the learning experience of often bored and unhappy students. Mixing new technologies can transform learning into an unforgettable experience and maximise the teaching results for both educators and pupils. Moreover, there is a vast amount of inspiration of be found in the actual process of learning design and teaching design. It is a very innovative and controversial subject which could potentially suggest an alternative approach toward educating in general as Eastman (2001) implies:

“Strong links are yet to be forged between pedagogical theory regarding design learning and the science of design itself.”

Design has the potential to change the facade of education for good; it has the means to employ fresh, ‘outside the box’ ideas to all types of education: primary, secondary and higher. Looking into educational systems from a creative thinking perspective enables designers to generate solutions for existing as well as potential teaching problems. Educators and designers working together have the potential of improving the two disciplines by sharing their experiences and developing innovative explanations into the existing programme. A collaboration of education and design could be the future to a more efficient, exiting and valuable teaching and learning experience.


Gordon A. M., Browne K. W., (2007) Beginnings & Beyond: Foundations in Early Childhood `

Gordon P.,
Szreter R., (1989), History of Education: The Making of a Discipline, Oxon, Routledge

Eastman, C. M.,
McCracken, W. M., Newstetter, W. C., (2001), Design Knowing and Learning: Cognition in Design Education, Oxford, Elsevier Health Sciences

Verzelius, Newton, (2009), A History of Education, Danvers, General Books LLC

Rubin, J. A., (1999), Art therapy: An Introduction,
Lillington, Psychology Press

Tuesday, 30 March 2010


Bibliography :

Banksy, (2005), Wall and Piece, London, Random House

Coles J., (1997), World Beads, London, Ryland Peters & Small

Morris, D., (1999), Body Guards, Shaftesbury, Element Books Limited

Palmer, R., (2008), Street Art Chile, London, Eight Books Limited

Sataloff, J., (1975), The Pleasure of Jewellery and Gemstones, London, Octopus Books
















Monday, 29 March 2010

Essay 2

The project brief I would like to reconsider in connection to the secondary research methods developed in Design Studies in semester two is Stone Setting. This project did not simply require us to learn a selection of new jewellery skills, it had another level which encouraged research into the ideas of luck and superstition which interest me greatly. I focused on the aspect of body guards, objects that are considered to have protective powers over the owner or that simply bring good fortune to the wearer.

In my secondary research I looked at a number of books related to the subject. I discovered how wide the field of projective amulets and charms is and was astonished at the fact that almost everyone one I asked had some sort of an object that they considered lucky. Even the least superstitious people I have ever met turned out to be in possession of a sentimental piece of jewellery or some other small item that was either worn or carried or just kept safe. Another research technique I used to complete that project was simply surfing the Internet. I came across many on-line “societies” devoted to popularising a certain ancient symbol or an image that assumingly has some kind of protective abilities. In fact, many of the websites I came across had alternative versions in a language different to English which made me realise that there is quite a few objects that are considered to be lucky globally. This made me wonder even further, whether it would be possible to classify or maybe even rank those objects to create a list of the top body guards of our times. Nevertheless, after thorough consideration and lengthy discussions with my classmates I came to the conclusion that since the people of every single culture, religion and country believe that different objects bring luck, it would be rather impossible to state for certain which one is the Worlds most popular. However, using the techniques of secondary research I have practiced this semester I could quite easily find out that is the number one British protective amulet.

Out of all the methods we studied this semester interviewing seems to be the most striking idea. The groups of people I would interview would have to be divided accordingly to their age, sex and occupation. Lets say, I wanted to ask my university friends the same set of questions about their lucky objects. Most of the interviewees would therefore be round about the same age of 19 to 25, mostly female, British and students. That would give me an idea if the younger generation is superstitious and why is that. Then I could contrast that with the same set of questions being asked to the older generation of over 70 years of age. The outcome would reveal if anything has changed in our understanding and beliefs in superstition over the 50 years diving the two groups. For example, some of the questions I would include are: “in your opinion, what does superstition mean? And do you consider yourself to be superstitious and why?”, “what is your lucky object and how did you get it?”, “ if your lucky object is not wearable but could be redesigned to be, what form would you prefer to wear it in? (ring, necklace, brooch, bracelet etc…)”. Moreover, I would keep truck of the colours of the objects mentioned so that by the end of the interview process I would have a clear idea of the colours that seem to be repeating and therefore are considered luckiest. The results of this form of primary research would enable me to design a full collection of lucky objects that would be universal to all ages. I would know what materials, symbols, textures and colours to use in order to achieve the best outcome and satisfy the majority of the customers.

Another technique I could potentially use in order to enhance my project is observation. I could make up a collection out of all the objects that I discovered to be protective in my secondary research and expose my interviewees to it. I could ask them to pick, present and explain which one of the objects has the most “powers” and why. Next, I would ask them to place it somewhere on their body to give me an idea of how to incorporate it into a piece of wearable jewellery. This experiment and the interviews could also the conducted on a group that is exactly the same as the first one just of a different nationality. By that I would find out how big the cultural differences are when it comes to this subject and I would be able to see if a national luck charm could be named for each country. Even in the case if I was commissioned to design and make a one-off piece of jewellery of a client I could employ both of the techniques discussed above to gain a better understanding of their taste. This proves how vital methods such as observation and interview are when it comes to designing something as personal as a piece of jewellery.

In my opinion, using Design Studies techniques in my everyday work in studio is highly beneficial. To be more specific, I cannot imagine not using those tools because I do it all the time, even without thinking about it. It is our subconscious way of making sense of any situation we are in, in the Design environment. Primary research happens all around us, it is just that we need to pay more attention to it and make more of an effort to link it to secondary research. Those two types of researches when interconnected form the perfect combination to success. We just have to remember to look into insignificant details we would normally miss, as sometimes they can tell us more then just mechanical reading. So from now on, I promise to look and ask, not from just reading. I am sure it will be worth it.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Essay 1

In the first semester of the current academic year, in Design Studies, I have looked at a subject that I felt was of importance to me, a design student, but also to the general public. I studied the ways in which graffiti affects the behavioural patterns of certain groups in the society and I repeatedly asked: “is it art or is it just a form vandalism?”. The books, videos and websites I found highlighted the cultural importance of graffiti and enabled me to understand the history of it more deeply. In conclusion to my secondary research I have not stated any correct answers, the question remains open for a full and thorough discussion. My intention is to demonstrate the sea of opportunities in relation to primary research of this subject. I am going to present many possible ways of finding out the true opinions about street art and the global attitude forwards this discipline.

In the secondary research I managed to gather some crucial information about the origins and meaning of street art. I have looked at many books and photo albums that illustrated the subject. Furthermore, I have discovered many interesting websites for and against graffiti, from artist’s portfolios and blogs to government directed campaigns to fight it. I looked at different graffiti movements and at the ways they were formed. Also I tried to tackle the issue of political street art, it’s consequences and the thinking behind it. I discovered the key personas in street art such as Os Gemeos and Nunca and I have refreshed my knowledge of the legends we all know like Banksy and Blek Le Rat. All of those sources provided me with valuable academic knowledge however, apart from websites with comments on them I did not come across too many personal opinions of what people generally think of the practice of graffiti and what are the key ideas associated with it.

As an Art School student, I realise that my opinions quite often differ from the unspoken rules and regulations that we are all almost forced to obey to fit into the society. This mostly affects my perception of street art which means so much more to me then just a form vandalism. It is one of the purest forms of art and it ties in closely with the ideas of mysticism and shamanism. To explain that, I must refer to the earliest examples of drawings in the caves of Lascaux in 1500-1000 BC. Somehow, I can feel a connection between those two and this makes me respect that form of expressing one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions greatly. However, as far as parts of my secondary research proved not everyone thinks in that way. Commonly graffiti is hated and exterminated and it’s authors alienated from the public discussions and called criminals. To find out what specific groups of our society really think of graffiti I would have to conduct a series of experiments. Hopefully, after studying the results my understanding of this form of art would improve.

The first method I would employ is interviews. I would make sure I ask the same set of questions on the subject of street art to people of all ages to check if the perception of graffiti changes accordingly. The groups would divide as follow 5-15, 15- 25, 25-35, 35-45, 45-55, 55-65, 65>. Next, I would compare my results, find out what group is the most open, positive and informed on the subject and which one is the least interested, most negative and stereotypical. Then, I would go on to the second stage of the experiment and make up a serious of photographs and images into a slide show and project it to both groups. I would record their reactions, thoughts and feelings via a more in depth and specific discussion. I would question their first ever experiences with graffiti, ask them how they felt about it back then and compare it with their current opinion. I would contrast those opinions with one’s of the other group and try to engage the two to start a debate. The whole session would be filmed so that I could easily go back to it and study it further. Certainly, by this stage my knowledge would be big enough to enable me to notice the smallest changes of attitude forwards the subject and I could see it either to the two groups was influenced by the other one. Finally, I would repeat the initial interview to examine if the answers remained the same.

The second method I could potentially use is observation. Just observing people looking at a graffiti mural would hardly give me enough information to conclude on their true attitude towards it. I would have to go a step further and provide the public with a more interesting and slightly controversial showcase. How about filming or recording the on lookers reactions to someone actually performing the art of graffiti, out in the open, on the streets, illegally. It is fascinating to me to imagine what kind of actions would be observed then. Would anyone try to stop the artist? Would the police be called immediately? Or maybe some people would actually enjoy the spectacle and want to take pictures and meet the artist? Finally, would anyone dare to join the artist and physically participate in the performance? The questions above seem to be eager to be answered and I wish to think that one day I will see the answers with my own eyes. Those answers would enable me to address the issue of treating street art as a crime and would help to change the face of graffiti, in defeating the stereotype. With the knowledge gathered in primary research a group of designers could come up with a program to educate the least informed groups of the society about the deeper meaning and purpose of street art. Though that graffiti would be seen on a whole new level and would not be dismissed completely or simply categorised as a crime. In addition, possibly more legal opportunities of taking part in this form of art would be created by the government so that there would be no need in performing graffiti illegally in the first place.

In my conclusion, I would like to highlight the importance of primary research. Furthermore, I need to stress that it is the primary research that is highly enjoyable to me as it allows interaction with the public or the client. It is a very active form to gathering information and it could be used in many different ways. To myself as a designer in progress primary research is priceless. Believing that our role as designers is to improve the human condition it is the staring point on the journey to the future.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Deeper Meaning.

So just to be clear:

J = Male, a student of Computing, 20 years of age.
B = Male, a student of Engineering, 22 years of age.
S = Female, a student of Jewellery Design, 19 years of age.
C = Female, a student of Jewellery Design, 20 years of age.

After asking four students of contrasting disciplines and sexes a serious of 8 questions, I have discovered nothing out of ordinary. The interview proves that some of the common perceptions were true in these cases.

Yes, boys are messier then girls.
Yes, girls care about their living space dramatically more then boys.

No, boys don't seem to be attached to objects as emotionally as girls.
No, you should never expect a boy to use more words then the absolute minimum.

(The points above only apply to the 4 people I interviewed.)

The interviews show a great deal about the personalities of the 4 students. They enable anyone to write their own story of their lives. Furthermore, they would give me as a designer an amazing opportunity to study the likes and dislikes of my customers and come up with the ultimate product that would satisfy all their needs.

It is clear to me that each one of them is "into", how much importance (or how little) the pay to certain details and what is and what is not to their taste. Obviously, if I was to design and produce a piece of jewellery for one of them, more thorough research would be required. I would have to ask questions that are more specific and direct. Although, I would definitely stick to the set of questions i have already use, as in my opinion nothing tells you a better story of the person then their own house/room.

In conclusion, I have discovered an invaluable tool of an interview and I am not going to hesitate to use it. This assignment proved to me how important it is to ask the right questions at the right time and push interviewees to give fuller and more informative answers. The more you ask, the more and better your ideas are going to be.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The 4 Elements.

1. What are the 5 words that describe your room best?

J: Messy, familiar, cosy, mine
B: Disorganised, relaxing, quiet
S: Red, squishy, warm, cosy, sensual
C: Duck-egg blue, tidy, airy, boxy, harmonious

2. How does your room makes you feel when you’re angry?

J: Doesn’t make me feel any different.
B: Keeps me distracted and makes me more relaxed.
S: Better, it’s my space so it make me relax and it keep my mind off any worries.
C: Worst, makes me feel caged, I lock the door, look down the window.

3. … when happy?

J: Comfortable and relaxed.
B: Doesn’t affect it.
S: I like spending my time there, it makes me feel content.
C: Relaxed, when I came back from a night out I look forward to my cosy bed.

4. That are your favourite possessions in the room (where do you keep them) ?

J: My laptop and speakers, on the desk.
B: The CD and DVD collection, I keep it next to the window.
S: Lamp, cushions, elephant ornament I keep on my play station.
C: 1950s type writer, fuzzy fairy lights, vintage armchair.

5. Do you ever eat in your room?

J: Yeah, quite often, in front of the laptop top.
B: No, I never do. It doesn’t feel right.
S: yes, love to get my breakfast in bed.
C: depends what is it, sometimes it’s OK but usually I don’t like doing that.

6. How do you feel your visitors feel when they come in to your room?

J: The complain about the mess but are impressed by the amount of technology in it.
B: Anyone who visits is really shocked at the state of it. They can hardly find and spot to sit down.
S: yes, everyone complements it, the bed seems most liked, they like sending time in it.
C: guarded, because they feel like they shouldn't touch. They like the room but they are a little scared of my attitude of my attitude.

7. What colours describe your room best?

J: Yellow and black.
B: Grey and white.
S: Purple, red, dark brown, gold. Those colours make me think of India, they are seductive and I really like the way they style my room.
C: Duck-egg blue, cream, navy, antique gold. Those colours are calming. My mum picked them but it was a mutual agreement so it doesn’t make it any more or less special.

8. Can you picture your room in 5 years time?

J: Yes, it will be much bigger and way more technologically advanced. I’ll get a remote control for everything even opening/closing the door.
B: I’m not too sure, but I know I am going to need a massive set of shelves to keep my CD’s on.
S: It will look pretty much the same, with the same colour range and all my favourite objects. I would like it a little bigger though, especially the bed. Also I think there will be more plants and flowers in it.
C: I think it will be completely different. It will look more grown up and I can see myself living in a different place, so I would want to decorate it in a new way.