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.

What does the way someone decorates their living space tell you about THEM?

So I decided to focus on this particular subject mostly because I enjoyed "Snoop" by Sam Gosling. Well, maybe not only that... I love the simple messages you receive as soon as you walk into someones house or on an even more personal level, bedroom. The feel of the place, the way it slightly changes your mind about them or makes you think of them a little different. Some times that kind of impressions don't last for a long time, however in some cases they could be a crucial factor in making life long decisions and assumptions. As serious as it sounds, your room is the mirror to your personality, or at least the aspect of it that you feel comfortable enough with displaying to everyone else.

I'm into Jewellery. Being into jewellery I should probably be asking a more related and straight forward question like: " what is your favourite possession?", "what object do you treasure most and why?", "how much significance can a physical piece of clothing/jewellery/accessories mean and why do people consider certain objects lucky?". I am still planning on asking all those questions just not in a very literal way. I don't want it to be too simple. I'd much rather uncover all the answers delicately so that no one realises I have even asked. I am going to be SUBTLE!

Friday, 12 March 2010

West End Glasgow

So, I went for that walk today, in Glasgow. Friday afternoon, botanic gardens in the West End of the city. I thought this might give me a good opportunity to re-do the unfortunate assignment from last week. I couldn't be more right!

Stalking people in the park turned out to be a really interesting activity and almost all of it was to my liking. At first, I felt a little awkward so a decision to phone my best friends came along. However, I must admit it's was not exactly the best idea as it distructed me enormoustly and made me want to be back to Dundee in a split second. In conclusion I sat down on a bench, in full view of passers by and watched. Then I looked into my bag to find a friendly looking notebook and the following part of today's post is what I scrubbled in it...

1. The man with a dog.

The Man

In his late fifties, wearing a black leather jacket and khaki green trousers, glssses with metal frames, an m&s bad in his hand (the bright green one), walking slowly but surely, made eye-contact but looked away about 5 seconds later, black boots kind of too smart for the rest of the outfit, no visible jewellery although a gold/silver chain? around his neck wouldn't surprise me, no visible tatoos but I'm almost certain he must have at least one, no beard just greyish stubble, and grey eyes too I think.

Walking the dog after his lunch, I imagine they might have shared it together, the man seens to be divorced, the lonely look of regret on his face suggests that, or maybe he just started seeing someone new but it's not going in the way he wanted to, has kids, possibly two sons fully grown up and independent by now, the dog must have been bought from one of them as a birthday persent, there's no apparet connection between the pet and it's owner yet the dog is the only reason the man is in the park now, appart from that newpaper sticking out from his bag.

The Dog.

Small, used to be white but doesn't like being washed so is neutral colour now, curled tail, fluffy ears, overally content. loves the park and sniffing things.

2. The School Kid, lets call him Andy.

Curly hair, lots of it, brown with blond highlights, looks over at me and then looks away, has ear phones in, likes foo fighters, might be in 5th or 6th year, didnt go to school today though, on his way to meet up with friends, possibly somewhere in the park, checks his phone and then looks at me again, dressed casually and probably wants to go for that cool, laid back look, wears a watch which surprised me a little, got it as a present for his birthday this year, silver and brown leather watch simple and not too showy, walks fast, knows the park well, probably stays round the corner from here, turn in the opposite direction to the man with the dog.

3. The Two Ladies.

Probably mum and daughter, one in her early 60s or late 50s, the other one in her 80s, linked arms, happy together, deep connction, loving relationship, mum looks like a teacher, daughter looks like a teacher too, nicely dressed, navy jacket - mum, shorter jacket, brown - daughter, black shoes both, flat shoes, white hair - mum, light brown hair - daughter, a small, black hand bag - daughter, talking about the weather or the park or latest family events, walking really slowly stopping every few minutes but just for a little while, both have scarfs on and gold rings, mum has a few on one hand, must be the wedding and engagment ones and one other, daughter has just one visible, probably her wedding one, short hair both, gold earrings both, mum has bigger ones on, they must have streched her ears over the ears but she's doesn;t like taking them off, daughter has smaller ones on, they probably take this walk walk weekly it not daily, they know it off by heart and enjoy the fact that it makes them feel secure.

4. The Woman in her late 20s, early 30s.

Monday, 8 March 2010


New Post in Progress.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Our little trip to an old fashioned Shopping Centre in Dundee

In order to fulfil this weeks assignment, my friends and I have decided to stick the simple yet successful idea of snooping at the customers of one of the less popular shopping centres in Dundee. This has been a very interesting experience as it‘s almost transported us to a different decade, sometime in the late 70s and early 80s.

* the middle section of this post had to be deleted. apologies if what i have said offended anyone. i did NOT mean to do that. *

First of all I would like to comment on the music that could be heard in the centre. It’s mostly 80s/90s cheesy tunes, which I usually enjoy on the Saturday night out to an 80s club. As soon as you step into the second floor you realise that something is not right.

Second of all, the kind of shops that are found in there fall into the second class. Furthermore, I believe the low prices of those store and the convenient enough location of the shopping centre are the two most crucial aspects of it's existence. If not for those the centre would have evaporated off the Dundee map many years ago...