Collection: Part III

Reflection III

Ask questions and answer them; this practice can bring you further in life.

Evaluation Writing Handout

Initially, I had thought my project would revolve around geometry and sacred geometry as I felt like the shape/form of the final outcome was the most important and this led me to be extremely inflexible. So I struggled a lot trying to break away from the whole concept and learnt to be more flexible because it was hindering my ability to truly answer the brief I sat out to do. 

The most successful aspect of my project would be my research - I spent a lot of time and effort into it because I always believed that research is the backbone of any design. I tried my best to incorporate as much primary research as possible as my product was extremely human centred so it only made sense to have more primary research in order to get a true understanding behind what people think about mindfulness. The least successful aspect of my project I believe is my lack of material experimentation. I wanted to experiment with as many materials as possible because I love working hands-on. However, because I changed my entire project and thus project proposal when everyone already had one week's worth of research, I had to give up working with all the models that would take up my research time.

My greatest strength is that I try my best and I never ever want to give up. It has allowed me to persevere through the first two, three weeks of the project where I changed my proposal, got sick and did not do much. However, thanks to the support of my tutors, I managed to pull through and get to this point. A weakness of mine is procrastination. I'm an avid advocator for it - I always leave things to the next day or the last minute when I can and I do end up finishing it but at a much lower quality than it would have been if I had not procrastinated.

Assuming I have achieved my intended outcomes, I hope to be able to take these concepts and ideas develop them to be an even better product - with better research, reflection and more material experimentation, I would love to create the ultimate mindful product that can really motivate someone to try. Perhaps I'd make a whole line of products about mindfulness and even branch out into things that can make us feel happier in our everyday lives or cheer us up when we are feeling down. 

Looking back on my project, the one thing I wish I had time for was material experimentation. I feel like not being to do it really affected the quality of this project as I don't have anything as proof of having tried making something hands on. I also wanted to do my best in nailing a good reflective page this time round because I didn't do so well in the previous part and I believe that reflections are an important way for my to look at my project in the past, present and future. Getting an insight like that, I believe is something that cannot be given but something I have to learn on my own.

Overall, I am relatively satisfied with my product. I feel like the final outcome did answer to my proposal and I did include both primary and secondary research, as well as a final outcome that is on par with the goal of creating a new product or elevating an existing product to help first world people between the age of 16 and 25 find calm and tranquility in their busy lives.

 

13 Apr 2018 (Fri)

I did my final design sheet on my Final Outcome and visualisation but wanted to do more so am currently in the process of creating a logo, packaging and website for my product! I believe these are extremely important in today's tech-savvy society (especially since my target audience are between the ages of 16 to 25 from first world countries which are the leading pioneer in cutting edge technology). It's become more of a necessity than a luxury in today's growing digital age where the first online destination people go to when they want to know more about a certain product is to their website first in order to gain an in-depth knowledge on the manufacturing process and such. 

In addition, a term commonly used in the commodity market today is "bringing pleasure at point of purchase". The feeling of opening a new, unopened box and feasting one's eyes on the brand new, beautiful product placed in a way that best captures the viewer's attention. This is a strong, and important feeling - much like an impulse - that plays a big role in the consumer market today. Just take a look at ceramics designer's instagram page, or Prick's instagram page and Rituals' as well. Even from these three accounts, it's evident that a common "theme"/"style" is running through their feed - a style that borders on minimalism. Marketing in the past used to be done only on posters, in newspapers, on television, radio etc. But with popular social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter, advertisement has been brought to a whole new level where every picture posted on these platforms act, in its own right, as a form of advertisement. Hence, we see the how social media and online devices have completely changed the game of advertisements. 

12 Apr 2018 (Thu)

It's photoshoot day and as expected, everyone was running behind schedule and at first, one of the tutors did not like the idea that my tea light holders were much bigger than the actual tea lights themselves so they skidded around. Even I had to agree it seemed very amateurish and poorly done. So I removed the top ceramics piece meant to hold the tea light and put the tea light directly on the wooden attachment which made it look better! As such, I tweaked my final design a little bit more which I felt also helped convey a sense of calm better and was closer to the goal I was hoping to achieve. Thank you tutors for pointing that out! :)

Halfway through the photoshoot, my wooden attachments became loose from the clay base and started falling apart. So I went home and tried working with different types of clay, like the Dars one and Fimo Air Basic. Out of all four clays (including Claydium and Daiso Soft Clay," I think the Dars one worked best because of its consistency. Fimo Air Basic was too wet, Claydium was too dry and Daiso Soft Clay just didn't look the part because it looked almost like a child playing with playdough.

11 Apr 2018 (Wed)

I was so happy when my new pieces came out of the kiln looking much better than the first batch! It was better glazed and more presentable. I experimented a lot with shapes and forms hoping to use them in my final outcome but when I thought about it again, decided to go back to being "simple" and used all the normal cylindrical pieces for my final outcome. The only problem was that two of them had thicker walls while the other two had thinner walls. And that two of them were taller while the other two were shorter... I really regretted not paying more attention to this. The good thing is, my wooden attachment all stuck on just fine! All that's left is to find a name for the product and make sure everything is ready to go for tomorrow.

Self Assessment Workshop

The Unit 7 Criteria consists of 7 main points that are further broken down into detailed explanations, totalling up to 12 different things we need to take note of as students. The first part is about our proposal. You have to have a range of critical and contextual perspectives for you to even start a proposal - meaning you should understand without batting an eye what it is you're about to propose. You also have to have detailed analysis and evaluation to clarify and start developing your proposal - meaning you do your best in getting rid of unnecessary information and expand on those that are actually important, relevant and will have a major impact of your proposal and therefore your work.

Afterwards, you begin your wide-ranging and in-depth research to support the development of a personal project - meaning you can't just focus one aspect of your project to research on but rather holistically and include as much relevant information that can help develop your project as possible. It is also important to use analytical and evaluative skills to develop a range of creative solutions - meaning you make use of what you have learnt and put it forward to create as many ideas as possible and eliminate and develop from there on to achieve the best design you can using the information you actually learnt to answer the brief.

This is where you start solving practical and technical problems within your project - what are some of the craftsmanship you need but don't know? How are you going to tackle that problem? Maybe use a substitute material due to the short amount of time you have? How will you justify the changes made, then. It's the same with any theoretical problems you might encounter - are you sure this answers the brief? In what way does it and does it not answer the brief? Why have you done it like this? What can you change when you encounter a problem and how are you going to justify it.

Your action plan is just as important as anything else. You set up a timeframe for yourself and you stick to it. Unless you're like most people around the world because the world had illnesses, accidents and procrastination. The idea of having a detailed and well thought-out action plan is to help students manage their time more efficiently. You tend to get lost in time with longer projects like these after all. So the action plan you made for yourself (you know yourself best) is more than likely to change every now and then. Of course, it would be best to stick to the same action plan throughout but that's close to impossible to do change your action plan as you see fit but make sure you can still complete everything in time.

As a art and design student, we are expected to experiment and work with a range of materials and mediums to get a feel of which one will work best for out final outcome. This process is important as you cannot feel a certain material when drawn over paper or digitally. Get down to it with the material itself and you'll find that things often go quite differently from what you'd expect - it can be good or bad. The idea is that you have worked hands on with the material and gained something out of it - that's the whole point of material experimentation! You'll never know until you try. In a sense, this can also be considered research because you're looking to see which ones work best with a trial and error sort of technique.

Of course, after each and every day of work comes reflection where you critically evaluate and record its development - meaning you think back about the decisions you've made, how it has affected your work, how you think it will affect your work, why you made these decisions in the first place etc. It's like a formula: you choose to do something, you think why you did it, and you think about the consequences. all choices are a process with a continuation. You will use evaluative and reflective skills to make perceptive decisions in support of your project - meaning you use this chance to also think ahead and make necessary changes based on what you did today, or how you might choose to do something differently because of this experience etc.

Lastly, candidates should explore a range of considered strategies to present their project - are you going to use drawings, paper models, miniatures, final outcomes etc to best present your project from head to toe. A2 sheets are an easy way to do that as they are clear, concise and do not require much skill apart from cutting and pasting but if you can't arrange it in a way that best communicates your project, then it doesn't matter what you do. So think carefully about how you want your viewers to perceive this project. Then you present your project skilfully and proficiently to a specified audience - your family who doesn't know much about design? your tutors who know what you've been up to? assessors who might have no clue what slip casting is? you'll have to consider all these when presenting your project to different audiences.

If I handed my project in today I'd probably get a pass because I just about hit the mark for everything, just barely. I actually think the only thing that might help me get a merit is my research which I not only put a lot of time and effort into, but because I felt the importance of a project lies in its research and ended up spending more time on it. Reflection wise I don't think my reflections are necessarily evaluative or analytic so I have to try my best and improve my reflections. Also, I did not get the chance to experiment with many materials due to a lack of time. 

9, 10 Apr 2018 (Mon and Tue): Reflective Review Workshop

It's our first day back from Easter Holidays and everyone is just raring to go. With just three more days to Photoshoot day, everyone is making the most out of this crunch time and getting all that last minute stuff down. I went to KX to put my things from the Friday before Easter into the kiln and then went home to work on workflow. On Tuesday I went to KX to deliver the moulds I borrowed back to AW and then went home to work on my sketchbook. 

On Monday, we were asked to write a reflective review that reflects on the progress of your Unit 7 project at the beginning of the final week:

At this point, I just about got all the physical materials done; the wooden attachment, the lavender candles and putting the final batch of ceramics into the kiln for firing. I believe that researching for this project has been tedious and draining. Everytime I put an entry onto the Research Page, I wonder if it's relevant, or is this piece of research reliable? So I end up gutting everything and putting those I know for certain is right and can be trusted. I've always enjoyed the researching component in design because they are the backbones of all my design. I especially loved conducting the interviews with my interviewees as product design ceramics, I believe, is all about interaction and human touch. For example, when I asked them about scents and what their room is like, I had a very vivid image of what kind of environment my product will be placed in (which later went onto paper during the Where workshop). I do struggle, however, with reflecting as I often include them in my Research page, thinking it is a part of researching where I jot down my thoughts and how they affect the design. After learning that all that was supposed to go into reflection, I took extra care and tried my best but I fear that I may still have some reflection embedded in my review which I noticed only recently. I also struggle with reflection because at the back of my head, reflection is all about reiterating what has happened even though I know it's really about analysing and explaining. 

I recall how focused I was on the for/shape of an object when I first started. I thought it was the most important thing at the time. However, I learnt to let it go over time as I was restricting myself too much which couldn't allow for any flexibility at all. So I took another approach and let the form come in at the very last moment. That is because when I started out with a fixed form, I would always run into problems, but if I had done it the other way around and let the shape form alongside the goal of my product, then I wouldn't have to fight it so much. In the end, my final design consists of an elegantly shaped two-part ceramics piece with a wooden accent in the middle to realise my sub-goal of an aesthetic form that was both natural looking and functional. 

If I get the chance to exhibit, I would love to bring my breaking miniature model to show people how tenacity always wins, as well as my A2 sheets which are at the moment a little ugly so I intend to redo them with the exhibition in mind, even if I don't get to exhibit. Of course, I will model my final outcome along with a few other things I haven't quite confirmed yet such as a website, packaging, brochure of sorts which I feel are actually necessary in today's product design field. After all, the product designed is the person who knows his design best of all so it would make be great if he could be the one designing the packaging etc. 

Time-wise, I started off a little behind time and made changes to my action plan twice but now, it's going smoothly and I intend to actually quicken things up if possible so I will have time to work on those tentative extras!

8 Apr 2018 (Sun)

Today was the last day of Easter Break and I got two more design sheets done (one for design development and another for material investigation and process) over the span of four days... The second one is a little weak as I didn't do the materials wall and so didn't have much to say about that. But I talked about working with different types of clay (note to self: I still haven't gotten that polymer clay I said I would get) and how I solved the wooden dowel problem. 

6 Apr 2018 (Thu)

I left my design sheets to last because I was never very confident in them. I started with a primary research sheet and already, had troubles organising them in such a way that best communicates it to the reader. Plus I didn't have anything printed out just yet. It took me a while but I finally found one way of organising that I was happy with and managed to get two others done (one for secondary research, and another for initial ideas). 

4 Apr 2018 (Wed)

I got to melting my tea lights in a steamer set up but had a lot of trouble the first time I did it. I was planning to make ten and had ten more to spare but even then, I had to be careful because I lost seven good tea lights on the first try. I will let the video do the explanation. So I tried a second method which yielded much better results even though it would take time to do ten pieces. But it was definitely worth all that waiting. This is because the second method is less accident prone and is easier to deal with when handled with care.

Mixing Melted Wax with Lavender Essential Oil (first try)

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Mixing Melted Wax with Lavender Essential Oil (second try)

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3 Apr 2018 (Tue)

My items arrived (thank you whoever invented Amazon Prime) today and I managed to roll out my fibre clay smoothly using one of my glazed test piece as a rolling pin so I got the wooden attachment done. Ideally, the base would also be made of wood or ceramics, but at this point that doesn't seem very feasible so I used fibre clay as an alternative. I also tried doing it with the small amount of soft clay I had left lying around but preferred the smooth finish the fibre clay offered. Here is how I did it:

  1. I rolled my fibre clay out into my desired thickness using the glazed test piece
  2. Using the same text piece, I punch a hole right through the clay and took out the circular bit and smoothed it out
  3. After which, I attach it to the wooden ring using super glue and ta-dah!

And then I decided to procrastinate the tea light making to tomorrow. 

2 Apr 2018 (Mon)

I saw these online and decided to order them as an alternative to wooden dowels. I will use clay to make a base and make sure it will be able to fit into the vessels and sit snugly on top! I also ordered some white tea lights and lavender essential oil (this particular one that is suitable for making soaps and candles on top of its main use for aromatherapy) to start making my own white lavender-scented tea lights. 

I have decided to focus on Lavender only because my target audience is younger and do not have the money to afford candles with two or three different notes. During the secondary survey I conducted, I listed a few popular aroma scents that are used to calm people down and asked which ones my interviewees were most familiar with. The unanimous answer was lavender and so I went ahead with that as I wanted to use a smell that my target audience will be familiar with. 

1 Apr 2018 (Sun)

I am a terrible student because procrastination is my best friend... A quick update on things:

  1. I need to get something wooden ASAP or find a substitute for it.
  2. I also need to get polymer clay to try and do a miniature using that.
  3. I have to finalise my design!!!

 

28 Mar 2018 (Wed)

I was lazy and did nothing yesterday. So today I willed myself to do some work but was only really productive for an hour at most where I tried my best to work with Daiso Soft Clay but like before, because I lack certain tools, I couldn't even roll it out properly without punching a hole through it. I persevered on for a whole hour before finally giving up for the rest of the day. I realise now that I have very "rough hands", as in I cannot work delicately, sadly. Perhaps that's why my drawing style is relatively messy and why my first batch of fired pieces came out the way they did.

I did my "Who" and "What" Workshops today.

Both the workshops highlighted the way of life my user group might be living in - is the person's room cluttered, what does this person do as a hobby, what kind of books are on this person's shelf, what kind of a place will this product be placed in, and why is it that the first image that comes to mind is that of a girl? 

I find myself trying to convince myself otherwise. That this is supposed to be unisex, and for everyone between the age of 16 to 25, males, females, trans, queer and all included. But for some reason, I always imagine it in a girl's setting. Perhaps due to the fact that I'm female, and 3 out of 4 of my interviewees are female..? Perhaps it's just the very product in itself? For example I visited Rituals one time and in ten minutes, there were 14 people of which 8 of them bought something and all 8 of them were girls. During my twenty minutes at Urban Decay, I would say the customer gender ratio was female 9 to male 1. There were a lot of girls. Maybe that's why I perceive unconsciously that this is a product girls are more likely to buy. As such, I thought about shifting the direction of my project and aiming it towards girls, but instead, I persevered and tried my best to make it as unisex as possible because my goal is to create a product that everyone between the age of 16 and 25 can use comfortaby.

26 Mar 2018 (Mon)

After two full days of joy, happiness and rest, I sat down to get some things done as I encountered a few problems:

  1. My mother absolutely refused to let me buy those wooden dowels because of money so I was stuck.
  2. I tried redoing the miniature piece using the same Claydium because the previous one fell apart and was thrown away by my grandmother before I could even take a picture of it. But like the one before, it doesn't look great. I wll try using Daiso Soft Clay next.
  3. I looked online for a lavender scented tea light that was white in colour, but only found purple coloured ones. So I've decided to make my own by buying white tea lights and mixing in lavender essential oi.

So the only real problem I have, is the wooden attachment because I don't even have any wooden materials with me for me to work on.

Miniature Second Try with Claydium

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23 Mar 2018 (Fri)

I went to KX early in the morning to check out the Ceramics Exhibition and wait for the fired pieces to come out. The works displayed were all very inspiring and I found a few designers I could use as reference for my project! I think. When the fired works came out, I was disappointed in how the glazed pieces didn't turn out well. So I did my next batch with a lot more care and was taught by Hang Jae how to spread the glaze the surface as evenly as possible (thank you Hang Jae!!) then made a run for it at 3:30pm as I had something on. I didn't work on anything until Monday.

22 Mar 2018 (Thu)

I first went to AW to have a quick progress tutorial with Kathleen to update her on how things have been going and she seemed relatively satisfied with where my project was going (I showed her my sketchbook which still doesn't have any pictures and some pictures I took of my ceramics work) and the only big problem was that I wouldn't have any time to work with my preferred secondary material wood due to limited workshop time so we thought of different ways to counter that. One method she thought of was using wooden dowels that have the same diameter as my ceramics pieces then sawing them into my preferred thickness. She recommended Walnut and Ash and said I could  Another thing was that I had to make sure all the ceramic pieces will be ready for the Thursday we return after Easter. Although she couldn't remember in explicit detail, she said I will have to continue improving my workflow to get better grades.

After that, I headed to KX but on the way, made a stop at Tiranti's with Shirley as I wanted to see what they have and I happened to see they have clear beeswax for wood and so got a whole bottle of it to work with over easter break. At KX, I continued working for a bit but had decided not to do anymore pieces so instead went home to rest and do a bit more sketchbook.

21 Mar 2018 (Wed)

I went into KX to fire the new pieces then casted even more pieces for Friday. At home, I worked on my research for workflow and sketchbook. I learnt about how "space", "atmosphere" and architecture all play a big part in our lives and how our busy lives prevent us from noticing even the littlest things in life. I expanded from there and made sure the concept of "space" will be prominent in my final outcome. Aside from that, I walked around Urban Decay (mentioned by my business friend for having a great market targeting people between the age of 16 and 25) and took some notes/pictures of ceramics plant holders throughout the store which piqued my interest so I will be doing some research on potted plants in ceramics as well - focusing mainly on popular small table top plants like cactuses.

19, 20 Mar 2018 (Mon and Tue)

I returned to the studio that morning to look at how the fired pieces came about and I'm relatively satisfied with them. I could improve further on the way I handle them before they're fired as the pieces are very sensitive to touch, fingerprint and pressure which ultimately affects the shape of the supposedly smooth and pleasing product. This is a disjunction between the process of slip-casting, and a factor that is important to my final outcome. I started casting more pieces and glazed the already fired pieces to ready them all for another round of firing on Wednesday. I used a bit of Fiona's blue glaze to see how it will turn out (thanks Fiona!) and I just worked on my sketchbook separately at home.

16 Mar 2018 (Fri)

I made new revisions to my action plan before heading to the KX campus to put my peaces in the kiln for firing. Before that, however, I got around to making a few more (I think about 2, 4 more pieces) and blowed dry them before also putting them into the kiln with the pieces made yesterday. After which, I continued making more pieces until 4:30pm and returned home to work on my sketchbook to look at how I could tweak the slip into various shapes and how that would affect the shadows cast and the way the scent of the candle might travel. 

15 Mar 2018 (Thu)

I went in to school today to discuss my absence during the progress tutorial and the slow progress I have made with my work during the time I was sick. Both Georgia and her were extremely understanding and explained that I could, instead of making my own moulds due to a lack of time, use premade moulds stored in our PDC room. Although I feel uncomfortable doing so, I gratefully accepted their kind gesture and brought the moulds over to KX the very same evening and worked until 10 to get as many things done as possible before firing tomorrow (they fire every Mon, Wed and Fr). I completed about 6 good quality pieces and 2 not-so-good quality pieces. 

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Reflection on WIP Show:

The WIP Show is a chance for 3DDA students to showcase all the works they have done thus far - starting from when they started drafting their proposals back during PART 2 Assessments up until today. This can include anything from research and reflection on their workflow, to their sketchbooks, action plans, material experimentations and the miniature workshops they did just last week.

All students looked at the works of other students from their own pathway first, so I started off with PDC students and was immediately intrigued by Fiona's project proposal titled The Blue in Us which took on both a literal and metaphorical perspective in our daily lives. I distinctly recall her sketchbook had som very elegant photographs of all things blue in her life and they were all taken such that the colour itself took centre stage and really captured people's attention. The colour blue has always been associated with the sky and sea, its calming tone soothing to the eyes (unlike yellow or red) and oddly, a colour often associated with males (like baby boy products). My Mother herself is also a fan of blue (light blue/sky blue mostly). I remember asking her why she wanted to paint a part of our living room and her room blue (a shade extremely close to Dulux's Atlantic Mist). To her, the colour she chose represented a feeling of freedom unconfined by physical barrives. I think what really attracted me to FIona' project was how she had so beautifully deconstructed and reconstructed the emotions and feelings of "blueness" such as when we're feeling blue, or have that Monday blue etc. It made me think about how we often over complicate everything in our lives. As a fellow student who is also doing Ceramics for  Unit 7, I admired FIona's fast pace of work as she already had some tester pieces on the table using the moulds she coasted a few days ago. Another project that caught my attention was that of Betty's who was looking at celebrative/festive foods in different cultures all around the world. As someone with a similar cultural background to her, me being Singaporean Chinese and her being from China, we grew up celebrating similar festivals such as Lunar New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival in a similar fashion where we laid big plates of foods in the middle of the table and everyone takes their own portion. I believe (I can't remember exactly) her goal is to create a product that makes it easier for people to take their portion - especially when there are over ten people taking from the same plate - and make it such that it could assimilate into as many different cultures as possible. In order to achieve that, she did some primary research through short interviews with students of different backgrounds in our class and did her best to steer away from making it such that it looked like it was only for Chinese culture because her initial idea was very much based on her own experience.

Afterwards, we moved to the JFFA room and looked at some really interesting and almost thought-provoking work. I had thought about it before, but the WIP Show really allowed me to cement the thought of how the JFFA pathway almost seem to have a Fine Art property to it. They were not limited in any shape or form and really went all out, trying and retrying ways of attaching things to the body to change its form or silhouette or even purpose. A lot of the projects are also much more introspective compared to that of PDC, with a lot of personal interpretation encompassed within the JFFA projects. Another thought that stuck u to was how each and every sketchbook was like a work of art in itself as they were visual captivating with rich visual images but not much annotations like we do in PDC. The one project that really caught my attention was titled Strange Beauty - Hybrids and Mutations by Mary Chi Ching CHAN. While I did not get the chance to read the proposal in detail, what really caught me at first sight were the image references she used on her first page, as well as the material experimentations she had done. The images were grotesque and made me wonder how it is they come up with all these ideas and are actually able to execute it on the human body - almost like a mix between make-up and the JFFA course. The images irked me to no end but I still found myself inexplicably drawn to them as they had an other-worldly (something that belongs to the unknown) sort of feel to them. It forced me to reflect on my own personality and wondered if this person was trying to achieve something like drawing the inner monsters inside us. Everyone has skeletons in their closet after all. I also remember thinking what it would be like for my tricophobic friend to stand in front of the itchy pieces of work I believe to be part of his material experimentation. Although I can't say much because I'm not someone who understands the world of JFFA too well, I would like to think that this person was on the right track as you could tell he drew inspiration from the images in his proposal which probably shows his research were all more or less relevant to what he's exploring. 

Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to look at the works of ASD students as I had to do my best to catch up on my own work but I heard from a few of my friends that apparently ASD didn't really have much to talk about especially since there wasn't much 3D work. I wonder if it's because they struggled to make to-scale models of their final outcome - math and science is, after all, still a big part of archticture even though the ASD course focuses mainly on the design aspect. 

I also, sadly, missed hearing selected students talk about their own works but heard that Hang Jae and Ikki from PDC were chosen to talk about theirs. I've heard from Hang Jae before this that he was going to do something that focused on the Korean Food Wave in UK/Europe by making a tableware out of ceramics and metal. As for Ikki's project, I remember his sketchbook the most as it made a lasting impact. It looked extremely fine art for someone in PDC and I admired his use of a wide range of materials and medium through material experimentation to reflect his ideas and thoughts on the project.

I will also be using this chance to reflect on myself, my project, my way of working and what I wish to do going forth.

My theme Mindfulness, I believe is more... a mix of both introspective and nonintrospective? It looks at self-awareness (understanding yourself) as well as the environment around you and how you can use this to your advantage and learn to attain some level of peace and calm in our every day lives. The goal stated in my project proposal is to create a product or elevate an existing product that can help people between the age of 16 and 25 from first world countries find some sort of tranquility in the midst of their busy lives; sometimes we forget to take a simple break between work, study and social lives. This product aims to help facilitate that and remind the user how important it is to sometimes take a break to themselves. I feel like I've come a long way from the day since I submitted the proposal as I no have a focus on scent and tea lights.

My sketchbook, at this point, is still limited to mostly drawings and annotations as I still haven't gotten round to printing images out to paste them in. I do think I need a lot more improvements in my drawings and mapping my sketchbook out in a way that's easy for people who do not study PDC to understand easily. But it was a difficult thing for me as I am often unable to continue once I stop in the middle of something and so just drop it and move on. 

Research-wise, I've been focusing mainly on Scandinavian products so far but have one or two references to Scandinavian clothing and architecture as well. I hope to be able to incorporate some Japanese references as well because I've often associated Japanese and Scandinavian designs - both belonging to the "minimalist" category. Sort of. I also focused more on tea lights and candles although they are more evide than than in my sketchbook as I am looking at the form of candles and tea light holders and drawing references from there. So far I believe I have used my research quite effectively... Though I believe I improve in that respect as well so that going forth, I can focus more on scents, tea lights and atmosphere.

I had a few initial ideas popping up when I first started the project and they mostly revolved on the shape and form of the object first before anything else as I focused a lot on geometry - an important characteristic in Scandinavian product design. After awhile, however, I struggled to continue developing it as they had no real purpose or goal in any of the ideas I drew. So I looked to researching on what things can help people calm down and relax and discovered the power of candles and scents, which reminded me of "Glo" - a very simple candle holder with a very simple attachment that was showcased at the 100% Norway exhibition. I also started focusing on atmosphere - a contributing factor to help people "attain mindfulness" and worked on developing ideas from there. I did kind of get sidetracked along the way but thanks to the "re-think" workshop, was able to steer back to my original goal. Right now, I still haven't yet committed to a single idea but am focusing on one current idea to develop on as I want to see how I can develop it in using various factors.

The final material for my project will revolve around ceramics as I believe its a material that best conveys a sense of familiarity on tables where I plan for my product t be placed. The miniature model I made the other day using fibre clay didn't turn out well... I keep wondering if it'll turn out better if I redid it with the proper tools but for now, I would like to focus on finalising a deign because I won't be able to use my own moulds so I will have to accommodate using the moulds available. 

I would define the PDC approach as human-centered as in, behavioural, social and personal. It's all about interaction, I personally feel because a product is meant to be handled in some way or the other with a cause and effect procedure..? Compared to pathways like JFFA, it's more about personal interest whereas PDC is about both personal interest and other people as well... This is difficult. I personally like to focus on products that are preferably both functional with a sleek design that can assimilate into its purpose or even enhance the use of the product. I do wish PDC has more freedom on a personal level where I can do anything I like but the truth is, our products are all born out of research on humans - not just us but all those around us as well.

In terms of time-management, I'm a little behind what I hope I would have already achieved because of last weeks epidemic. So I will have a new action plan drawn and attached detailing what I have done and what needs to be done going forward asap. 

For the rest of the project, the aim is to get down to it and just work in the workshops simultaneously as more research is being conducted. 

12, 13, 14 Mar 2018 (Mon, Tue, Wed)

I took things easy after recovering because the last time I upped and went to school the next day after recovery, it backfired and I fell sick again. So, cautious of my health, I worked from home all three days and made progress with my sketchbook which now has quite a lot of drawings but no pictures yet. I watched YouTube videos about tea lights, essential oils, tabletop decoration, tea light holders and looked at the presence of candles in pop culture. Candles have recently gained popularity all around Asia thanks to popular Korean Drama (KDrama) Descendants of the Sun (2016) and Goblin (2017) where S2 Candles were often featured, especially in that of the latter drama where candles were a prominent subject. Upon looking into S2 Candles in a little more depth, I realised that the more elaborate and "high-end" candles (like S2 Candles and Scandinavisk) now have something called notes: the top note, middle note and base note. Refer to this link for more explanation. In the end, I decided to "simplify" it back down and use Lavender scented candles after conducting a secondary research with the interviewees who helped with my first interview.

10 Mar 2018 (Sat)

After feeling a bit better, I attempted to do a miniature piece of what my final outcome might be using White Claydium; a fibre-reinforced air-drying modelling clay which is smoother to use but apparently results in a stronger and harder final dried material without firing in the kiln. I struggled mostly with the technical aspect as I had a lack of craftsmanship and did not have the proper tools to help roll the clay out smoothly etc. As such, the final miniature outcome made in a day looked a bit... Like a dog's toy. It had lots of cracks and didn't hold its shape well. I might consider making one in Daiso Soft Clay next. 

Note: I forgot to take a picture of this first one and when it broke my granny threw it out without my knowledge. I made a second piece later on so refer to the image attached there please thank you.

9 Mar 2018 (Fri)

I was due to have a progress tutorial with Kathleen this morning and then go to meet Julia (the librarian) and Pauline (from study support). But my fever returned and I was stuck st home and ended up working on my workflow instead. I saw that Kathleen sent out an email about a Miniatures workshop that took place yesterday and thought I might try it out but was honestly limited to just using a portion of my mental and physical abilities. So I continued doink a bit of my workflow to try and catch up with the others.

8 Mar 2018 (Thu)

I was worried sick about my mould in the plaster workshop and kept wondering if they'd thrown it out because I didn't come to see it for the past two days. 

This morning, we did an interesting "re-think" workshop and looked at another student's project and thought about how we could "interrupt" the design process or regenerate new ideas for the projects. We discussed each other's projects in detail, asking about things like the scale of the project, material experimentations and USP of the product. After gathering the information, we went away and re-thought new ideas that can help propel their project forward or allow them to think in a different aspect that they hadn't thought of before.

I then had a talk with Kathleen to help kind of bring my project/idea back to the idea of simplicity and she touched upon the re-think workshop we did this morning.

Thanks to my partner Omotola who had a very similar project to mine, I was able to move forward with my project in a whole new light and design which I personally thought was a lot better than the previous idea I had, and it's much closer to the goal of "simplicity"/"primal". After the development of the previous idea, I felt that it was extremely complicated, and not so "simple" anymore. So the design Omotola had really brought me back to the root of "simplicity" and reminded me of the design "Glo". 

Thus, I now have a whole new design which answers the brief a lot better because of the concept and shape of the design itself. I discussed the moulds with the plaster technician and will start the actual mould making on Monday so I have to be on track with my new action plan (because I could not conduct a focus group and will instead conduct a second individual one to one interviews with the people who participated in the first one to one interview. This second interview will be about materials, material experimentation and interaction with materials. 

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Me re-thinking Omotola's Project

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Omotola re-thinking my project

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7 Mar 2018 (Wed)

I had to go in to school today for a taught day because Kathleen shifted Monday's class to today but my fever just broke and the rash on my back was just beginning to lessen so the doctor said I should continue to stay home another day and so, I did not go to school today yet again. Apparently the class did a miniature workshop so I'll be doing that in my own free time. 

6 Mar 2018 (Tue)

My fever returned with the rash so another day of staying at home.

5 Mar 2018 (Mon)

I was finally feeling better this morning and so decided to go to the Plaster workshop to get some things done. I learnt for the first time today how to make a plaster mould (I missed the demonstration before due to my health) and it was extremely fun but tedious and difficult to make. At the end of the day I managed to get one part of the mould done and will go back in tomorrow to get it done.

 

2 Mar 2018 (Fri)

Quick Update:

Fell sick with a fever that peaked at 38.9ºC and a rash covering my whole back due to the side effects of the Carbimazoles I take on a daily basis. So I was unable to meet either Pauline or Julia today.

1 Mar 2018 (Thu)

I presented my proposal to Kathleen today. 

It was rough, and poorly done but at least the tutors could grasp the main idea and concept of the project. There were a few improvements that could be made with the content of my proposal itself, as well as the structure of the sentences to better convey my intentions and aims. I also intend to include more images of relevant works by designers to let people who read the project proposal better grasp the idea and aim of my project. 

After making the necessary amendments to my proposal, I looked through it again and again to make sure everything was tip top perfect for the hardcopy submission on Tuesday next week and made sure to look back on the points made during my first session with Pauline on what constitutes a good Project Concept and Description:

  • Start off with a few sentences describing your idea and what you’re interested in
  • Discuss what you wish to achieve in the final outcome
  • Explain how you would go about conducting primary research
  • Include some examples of secondary research you intend to look at
  • Be as concise as possible for everything

I made sure to tick everything off, or do my best to get as close to the points as possible before finalising my proposal for the final submission. By today, I had conducted four out of five one-to-one interviews with students who were willing to help me with my project who all filled out a pre-interview form. I also gathered 30 responses to a general questionnaire I sent out to friends and family and received their general feedback and thoughts on the term mindfulness. I was quite happy with the primary information I had gathered at this point, but because four out of five of my one-to-one interviewees were Asian in ethnicity, I wanted the last interviewee to be of a Western/European nationality to give my primary research more breadth and depth or it'll turn into an Asian-living-in-UK targeted primary research. 

I kind of have an idea in my mind, focusing on tea lights and so thought of a basic mould to cast on Monday (because the plastic workshop is not open on Fridays).  

I am meeting both Pauline and Julia tomorrow to get my workflow and research on track!

27 Feb 2018 (Tue)

I rewrote my entire Project Concept and Description section of the proposal, changed all the images on the front page as well as the proposed bibliography in a night for my tutors to go through today and tomorrow. Today, we were asked to bring in loose pictures for a research analysis workshop where we will be asked to group our research in different categories or methods to help broaden/deepen our knowledge on the research we've chosen.

Before that however, Chris came in for a talk about "Narratives" in design where we learnt of five different definitions of the term "narrative" in the context of design. The five definitions are:

  1. minimal definition
    Narrative is a representation of one or more events.

  2. sequenced narrative
    Narrative is a representation of one or more characters or entities in a sequence of chronological events.

  3. logically sequenced narrative
    Narrative is a representation of one or more characters in a series of chronological events are connected by casualty or agency.

  4. value laden narrative
    Narrative is an emotion evoking and value laden representation of one or more characters in a series of chronological events connected by casualty or agency.

  5. entertainment narrative
    Narrative is an emotion-evoking and value-laden representation of one or more characters in a series of chronological events that are connected by causality or agency, and which progress through conflicts toward a climax.

After which, we did a quick activity on using the "cards" to identify narratives in a design allocated to us by the tutors. The design my group received was Droog Do Hit Chair by Marijn van der Poll where audiences are presented a metal cube, alongside a hammer to smash the metal cube into a persona chair of their own. Looking past the "describe" and "details" card, we jumped straight into the "who" card and determined that both the designer and the user can create the narrative for this piece because the designer has to first explain how the product works but would not know the final outcome until the user has actually smashed into it, thus allowing the user to create a narrative of his own as well. For the next card on "when", we decided (uniformly) that the narrative was created in the user experience itself because of the process of how it, from a metal cube, transforms into a whole new shape of a chair which is the final outcome. After that, we went on to fill in the "where" card and chose the "external to the object" option as the product is not something can be understood on the spot if someone was presented just the metal cube and hammer. It can only be understood after additional information such as "the hammer is used to hit the metal cube to form a chair you can sit on". For the next "why" card, all three of us had a hard time deciding between the options but I settled with "imagination and creativity" and "engaging and delighting" because you can incorporate imagination and creativity into the process while forming an ideal chair of your own out of the bare piece of metal, but also engagement and delightfulness as you put your all into hitting the metal and bending it. One would naturally feel accomplished and happy after beating up all that metal to make a chair that's very personal to themselves. Finally, for the "what" card, we all also had trouble choosing between the five definitions of narrative and decided to choose for ourselves what we thought was most suitable to the design we were given. I chose "entertainment narrative" because there is more than one event happening (picking up the hammer, hitting the metal cube, hitting it again and again), and it is one after the other (the metal is bent after being hit), and it involves three different characters (the metal cube, hammer and human), and one could feel emotions or thoughts when hitting the metal cube (they could be happy with where it is going, they could be using it as a way to release anger) and finally, it builds up to a final climatic moment (the final outcome) after a tough conflict (hitting it multiple times to get the desired shape/form). After everything, we realised that we hadn't filled out the "describe" and "details" card and did them quickly. For the "describe" card, I wrote the following: It requires a logical sequence of action before attaining a final outcome and it involves the user in its creation in a chronological sequence. 

After lunch, we had the research analysis workshop where we pooled together everyone's (from the group) loose images and categorised them in various ways or methods. Some examples are as follows:

Narrative Workshop

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26 Feb 2018 (Mon)

Walking in to class with a draft proposal in one hand, I looked around to see tables grouped in:

  • Social Design
  • Living Spaces
  • Human Behavious
  • Spirituality
  • Patterns
  • Health and Well Being

Confused, I walked to the group that intrigued me most: spirituality. This was me not knowing that it had to do with our proposals for Unit 7. So I had a few discussions with the group members and really wanted to do something related to buddhism initially. During the speed dating workshop, I talked to Erica, Lily and Ethel about my newest project on Buddhism and learnt a lot about what their take on religion is and what they actually know about buddhism etc. After the speed-dating workshop however, I changed my focus to that of mindfulness which for some reason, kept coming up during the speed dating conversations with different people. 

For the second part of the day, we were asked to think of three words that best described our project and I chose the words: Intriguing, Natural, Tranquility/Serenity. We were then asked to draw large abstract pieces of drawings in our sketchbooks that took up an entire page and afterwards, experiment with materials in the workshops to represent the abstract drawings we just did in our sketchbooks. Based on the images I'd done, I think that I would have used coloured acrylic sheets and copper wire for the first word "intriguing", fallen twigs, branches and leaves for "natural", and lastly, mirror shards and fabric mesh for the words "tranquility/serenity". I regret not doing what I was told to do today as I realised how everyone's pieces were so interesting and special and I wish I'd done it as well, but i had to rewrite my entire proposal based on my new theme of mindfulness and didn't have any time to spare.

So with the new theme of mindfulness in mind, I was halfway through rewriting my entire proposal and change the images as well as proposed bibliography. 

23 Feb 2018 (Fri)

I met Pauline today thinking it was a session to help me improve my Part 2 work but apparently learnt that attaining a pass meant that I did not have to do anything more so we focused on Unit 7 instead. I explained to her my project (without a proposal at the time) and discussed how to write a good Project Context & Description which could include the following:

  • Start off with a few sentences describing your idea and what you’re interested in
  • Discuss what you wish to achieve in the final outcome
  • Explain how you would go about conducting primary research
  • Include some examples of secondary research you intend to look at
  • Be as concise as possible for everything

At this point in time, my project was about living spaces, multifunctionality and the term "affordances". It's focus was to lengthen the life of baby products new parents buy for new borns but have to throw after their babies grow up. I told her how I would go about conducting my primary research by interviewing cousins/teachers/just anyone I can get in close contact with who have just given birth or have babies who are entering toddler/children age and no longer need products like strollers or high chairs. She recommended I meet the librarians over at King's Cross and discuss in detail my secondary research as I didn't do so well in this regard for Part 2 so I hope to improve for Part 3!

Before 23 Feb 2018

We did a quick context workshop where I worked on "transience", "collecting postcards" and "healthy eating". Over the break  I decided to focus mainly on the theme of "transcience" where I would work within the context of living spaces. I was adamant about using ceramics for this final project which only made the research even tougher because I was so focused on it. The goal was the make an item that would be bought for use initially with a baby but as the baby grows, so does the function of the product so it extends the lifespan of baby products which are often thrown out once the babies grow up.

Context Workshop

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