Thursday, 25 March 2010

Part 5B

In this essay I will be revisiting my studio briefs that I have tackled this past two semesters and looking into how I would be able to use both the secondary and primary research methods that have been used whilst carrying out my design studies assessments and hopefully connecting the two studies together in unison.

The studio brief that I am going to carry through with this project is our fourth brief ‘Setting’ that looked into the design of a piece of jewellery which was to incorporate a setting of another material/s. our design had to be inspired by the religious or spiritual symbolism used in jewellery and the was precious or semi-precious stones and other materials are used by jewelers. Firstly we were to research a selection of different precious and semi-precious gems, how they are formed and what powers they are thought to bring to a piece of jewellery. Then develop a design that either incorporates the idea of certain gems having powers or look into the religious entity of gemstones. In this project I chose to base my design around Buddhism.

If I was to re-visit this project I think that I would go right back to the symbolism that people connect with gemstones. I would use the interview process with images to gain information as to what people form different disciplines would make of the precious and semi-precious stones. I feel that the visual guide would help the majority of designers; they might connect completely different things with just the colour or the shape. Does everybody connect diamonds with wealth and marriage? It would be interesting to see what difference would appear when interviewing jewelers compared to graphic, textile, and interior etc designers. Would they share the same enthusiasm for gemstones that us jewelers do or would they just go by colour?

Instead of investigating solely into one religion I think I would look into one aspect of religion in itself, the most important factor that I think would be the most interesting would be the meditation. Every religion has a different stance and way of prayer. I think that the best way to research into this would be a combination of photography and secondary research from previous studies that have been carried out. I did carry out a brief look into different meditating hand positions in the Buddhist religion. And it would be very interesting to have visuals of other prayer and meditation postures. Seeing a huge collaboration of different religious postures so that they can be easily analyzed would give the design of the piece a variety of different spiritual meaning instead of just being devoted to one religion. But on the down fall of a huge range of religions coming together it might not hold the same values as a piece that is solely for one religion. I think it would be interesting to have views from people who have a religious background if I was to merge a couple of religious values together. Another visual that I could have taken into consideration would be the actual Gods themselves. The different sacrifices that it ha received from the followers, this could be materials possessions and also living things. Photography of the ritual grounds would be fascinating to research into if these were made available from some of the more secretive religions.

To go back and get involved in some of the spiritual sides of different religions would able me to take into consideration the values of the religion more. Obviously the most available service to observe would be Christianity as it is ready available in many areas of every main city. It would be a lot more interesting if I was able to sit in or take part in a religion that is not as well commercialized in this country so that I was able to add culture to my design as well. The materialistic sacrifices that have been a tradition in a huge number of religions would be very interesting to incorporate into my work. The obvious factor of the gifts that are given to Gods is the extravagant gemstones that are used in then, too expensive for placing into my own design but synthetics could be used instead.

In level three I think that to improve on my design work to incorporate more of my assignment work within my briefing work. I think that this would severally help me engage both subjects as one subject instead of thinking of them separately. Using the visual methods that I have developed in semester two would drastically improve my preliminary research in the studio when I look back and see how much I could have changed and improved with my research. Although at this stage in my course I still feel that I am a jewellery design student hopefully next year I will feel more like I can design in a broader range that can solve more problems that just aesthetics, combining my studio knowledge with problems that are faced around the world, even helping in natural disasters. I can defiantly see myself verging towards using my design skills to tackle issues bigger than just my field of design. I think this will be something that I will be thinking about over the Summer and even the Easter holidays to take into account through my third year. However I think that I will be focusing firstly on my practical skills and get them up to higher standards before I try and solve global issues.

Part 5A

In this essay I will be covering the topic, which I went into depth with in semester one. I firstly looked into personal security but it then developed into the technological development of armed forces uniforms and how smart technology should and could be used in the further safety, security and even personal health. I will be looking into how development in this field would be improved or advanced from the different observation methods I have gained from semester two.

After re-reading my work from last semester I think that I was on the right track to understanding how this could be achieved using technologies that my primary sources had looked at in more depth. Koncar and Boussu look into the improvement that could be achieved if electronic and optical technologies were to be used in battlefield communications. Tunde Kirstein, Didier Cottet, Janusz Grzyb and Gerhard Truster also look into the benefit of wearable technology in the case of it becoming aware of the users health situation. I still think that these are all still very relevant to this topic to take it further.

The methods that I have developed and practiced using this semester would be of huge beneficial use to further my research into smart technologies and wearable electronics. Some of the visual observations that could be applied to this topic would be firstly be the activity we covered ‘Observe and Record’, this would be applied through watching how the armed forces move when in action, for example carrying out this activity at a training facility to observe exactly what movements and durability that the smart materials would have to withstand and be put through. Watching where the weapons are held, what is the most worn out part off then body, the body part used in forceful situations etc. From watching shooting ranges and target practice within the facility it would make the most at risk area more obvious to the researcher, seeing where they are taught to aim and shoot for (torso would defiantly be the easiest or head are the most obvious targets) or the most vulnerable parts of the body so that the technology that is able to detect where a bullet has penetrated the clothing would be able to signal straight away, this could also be applied to the armoured vehicles such as 4x4 that don’t have the same stability as tanks were under attack and would speed up the mechanical procedures that would be carried out. From the experience I gained using this method of visual observation, habits and atmospheres can quickly be taken into account, therefore when observing all the different parts of the forces technologists would be able to differ the needed results for each force.

However I am a bit swayed into whether interviews would be a suitable option to carry out if I was trying to go into the development of these technologies. I found that when I was carrying out my interviews that the interviewees were not always 100% honest. Sometimes they were trying to convey someone that they thought that would sound better than the person that they actually are. And in this sort of field of protection it is not something that should be lied about or twisted if they wanted to portray themselves as somebody else. But then if the questions were worded as how they would go about using there training in action then it would be more useful, it would give the knowledge of how an armed forces member would think of how to use there training and not just how they are told. If an experiences or retired soldier was to be interviewed it would be extremely beneficial towards this research as they would be able to state clearly how they use there uniforms and what they feel is the most scarcely protected area.

Photography that may be kept on file of soldiers in battle or training would be useful towards the development of safety and security as it would allow us to see the posture of soldiers when they are in there most vulnerable and guarded positions. Doing a case study on hundreds or even a hand full of different soldiers from different criteria’s of armed forces would allow technologist specialists to develop a better understanding of the stances that mostly taken place during there most physically demanding procedures. This in itself would benefit where would be the most practical places to place the smart technology with out it interfering in the process of protection. When conducting a similar observations through another persons childhood photographs, I found that I was able to obtain a lot more than what I originally had from first glances, but when I went back over and really looked into them a lot more information can be obtained. You would also be able to look into where the communication appliances would be the best accessible, the idea of having electronic keypads have already been challenged in a research centre in California, they have looked into new displays that have the flexibility to be applied to any field requiring this technology.

Through this semester and the previous semester I have gathered many visual observation techniques that I have put into practice. I have concluded in this essay that by using the different techniques to gain more information into the armed forces uniforms, safety and protection. The observation method of visually seeing how training would be conducted seems to be the most valuable form of research.


'Wearable computing; towards humanist intelligence' IEEE intelligent systems 2001 May/June

Mann, S 'Smart clothing; the shift to wearable computing' commun Assoc. Computing Machinery, 1996

Coyle, M 'The lifeshirt system: bringing high tech patient monitoring from hospital to home' In proceedings second International Avantex Symposion, Frankfurt, Germany 2002


Monday, 22 March 2010

Brum Brum =[

Oh deary me indeed! My poor wee car Shobby! I have ran the brakes right through the brake pads AND the back brakes fluid was leaking! Oh yeah and the handbrake was buggered aswell, bad times indeed. Pretty glad mum and dad were down this weekend to pay for it =D

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Cut that Soapstone

The sculpture department was kind enough to let Jen and I try our hand sculpting some soapstone. As you can see I'm getting into the swing of things, I'm cutting a wee slither off for the outer part of my ring. Which i then cracked and broke . . . opps! It can be fixed though thankfully!

Plans Plans Plans

Here are a couple of pages from my sketchbook for our current project.
My design is a four fingered ring (not too sure if this is legal) with a little box set on top of it and then a sectioned part off with sapphire stones set into the lid, with a little bit of grass growing from the other side of the ring. THEN have some sort of stone (soapstone is looking promising) around the box. I have been playing with the idea lately, changing the grass with other growing plants, like cress?!

For the structure of the ring (knuckleduster) its going to be more practical if I make it hollow. 'The Ring Book' contains a good method of making hollow rings that I was looking at.


So our current project is about religious and spiritual connections that are linked to gemstones. Here are two of my samples so far. The one to the left is a CZ in a tube setting on a silver band, and the one on the right is a square moonstone in a square box setting on a silver band as well. Not bad for my first rings huh? Sorry about the poor effort of photography on my behalf!

Question Time

Our fourth assignment asked us to interact with ordinary people in the form of interviews. We were to choose a topic from about a dozen differing topics then conduct a survey. Jonathan Baldwin (our lecturer) gave us a lot of little rules that we had to obey to so we had to take that into consideration when we were conducting our surveys. Then discuss our findings in a group to see what we had concluded. So the question I chose to investigate into was ‘How do people accumulate “stuff”?’

Obviously when I was conducting these surveys I couldn’t just ask the question straight, I had to work around the question as people wouldn’t be able to give a very constructive answer. I came up with 6 different questions that I thought worked around the topic well. They were:

(1) How would you describe your living space?

(2) What sort of objects do you keep out in your room?

(3) Have you inherited anything?

(4) What objects do you have that hold fond memories?

(5) Do you hold on to these objects purely for the memories?

(6) Have you ever/do you collect items?

I found when I was conducting these questionnaires I was using these questions semi-structurally and then working around and adding to them.

The first interviewee was a female medicine student, 23 who lived with her parents. I gathered that she was quite a sentimental person as she kept pretty much everything and said she found it hard to through away things. Her home has cabinets in the living room that were purely for display and not functional use. A shelf in the kitchen had a small collection of china animals that had been collected by her mother. But she was unsure where and when they had been collected from. . Displayed in her bedroom are collaborations of photos given to her a birthday present by her closest friend. She kept a memory box underneath her bed, which contained letters/valentines cards/birthday cards. The objects from her room that she shared information with me about had memories and stories attached on to them. A model car that was given to her by her boyfriend as she had wanted a beetle but couldn’t drive yet, a leprechaun from a trip to Ireland that had been placed in the car to look as though it was driving, ornaments from when she was younger reminding her of her childhood, stuffed toys that she had obtained from growing up. She didn’t seem to place importance in money status objects but in the thought of them instead. She tended to collect memories in objects and not making memories for them

The second interviewee was an art student living in a student flat, 19. She didn’t seem as sentimental as my first subject. Her bedroom walls had a large collection of posters taken from magazines that reflected upon her personality, ones that her other art student friends had made her and ones she had purchased. A large amount of make up/perfume and lotions were placed on her dressing table that had either been bought for her by her mother and friends or she had bought herself Flowers that had been given to her by her boyfriend. She inherited a box full of jewellery from her grandfather but had said she would “never wear any of it but doesn’t want to through it away or sell it as it was her grandfathers”. She had a large collection of TY Beanie Babies that had mostly been given to her as birthday presents/Christmas presents when she was younger. Her room seemed to be quite minimalistic and just have the basics, which was interesting.

And thirdly I interviewed a female primary education student living in a student flat, 20. Her room is clutter free, everything was in neat piles or hidden in drawers. A set of three cats sits on her window ledge that was a present from her mother. A huge display of photos of friends and family are tacked up on her wall, which had obviously been collected over the years. She had a small collection of models that she explained had taken from home for comfort reasons. Used to collect key rings when she was younger that she had in a box at home from when she was on holiday at 13.

I found that after conducting this interview with these three females living in different housing arrangements and then discussing my findings with a group from the same course as me that people are more likely to keep objects that either have sentimental value to them or remind them of home if they are living away from home at a younger age. . There is a noticeable difference in a student living at home compared to a student in rented accommodation as at home there is memories from there whole lives but I found that when a student moves into a flat of there own they tend to just bring memories from the past 2-4 years with them. They don’t tend to keep things if it brings back bad memories, obviously, but like to surround themselves with mainly funny memories to them. The larger majority of objects in bedrooms have been bought for them, decorations; very little the subjects had actually bought for themselves. Photographs were in all rooms in differing quantities reflecting on the personality

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Looking Back

So in our seminar at the start of the week we started discussing about if we were to redo our last assignment what would we do differently. I decided to go to costas as you can see on my last post, but I think I defiantly could have gone somewhere more interesting looking back on the assignment. One of the girls in our seminar group went to the gym for her observation challenge, I am currently trying to track her blog down so that I can read it! She explained that it was very interesting to see just how self conscience everybody is and that there are a few very distinct groups that normally attend the gym that she has a membership at, the old men who sweat buckets and just don't care, the girls who come in and don't put much effort into their workout and don't sweat at all, and then the regulars that glare at you when a new comer come in. I have only ever been to the gym once I have to admit, but I can imagine what it would be like as my mum used to go to the gym quite regularly.
I think if I could go back I would go to the same sort of environment as the gym, it would be very interesting to see people at their most vulnerable states.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Creeping in Costas

When I read the brief for this assignment I was pretty excited as there has been many times when myself and either my friend or my mum sit in a café or are out for lunch and have a good gaze at people in the place or out the window so this assignment fitted right into my comfort zone!

So like most of us, I went to a coffee shop but instead of choosing Starbucks I went for its competitor Costas inside Waterstones. So I didn’t think it wasn’t going to be too busy as its just out of the way of the main shopping area so I would be able to focus more on individuals, little did I know it was actually almost full!

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was that Costas itself was above the book shop floor and our of the way but designed in open plan so it still felt very much part of the shop and continued the relaxed atmosphere all around. As soon as we got to the counter (as you buy your coffee etc before you sit down, incase you haven’t been before) there was an absolutely adorable baby girl who I think looked about 9 months old, when I looked around at the other customers, including my friends whom I had come with, I noticed that almost everybody was lifted by the presence of this little girl, smiling at her and I could tell secretly trying to get her attention, I thought that this was quite a common behaviour and I’m not sure why but having a baby or younger child in the room always attracts friendly gestures towards the family of the infant. For example you wouldn’t go up to a family with teenaged children and compliment the looks of them that would come across as a bit strange I would think. But when it is a baby it seems alright to go up and talk to the parents as a older woman quite happily did in the queue when she was waiting for the woman to make her latte with a piece of millionaire shortbread. (Yes I listened into her order aswell)

When we sat down my friends made sure that we had a good table that I was able to creep from while they chatted. The atmosphere had changed compared to the area where you ordered and collected your teas and coffees, I felt suddenly that each table where on an island of there own and even eye contact with another table seemed to be unheard of when we entered the seating area. When I was looking around and observing I noticed that if I did catch anybodies eye that they would quickly turn away or dart their eyes in a different direction. As you can see from the poorly taken photograph the layout is pretty much a square balcony over the book store letting you look down at the books as you consume whatever you have bought (Probably a marketing design to encourage people who have just come for a coffee to purchase books) I noted down that the balcony directly ahead of where I was sitting mainly had business type persons sitting on their own often with a newspaper, and strangely enough sitting facing the same direction that would be towards the front of the shop. Also the same table areas were usually occupied by the same era of people aswell, for example the older generation tended to go for the tables situated closest to the entrance and tables that seemed to be out of the way (there is another section of the café that is not shown in this photo as it is behind the ordering desk) , the younger groups of friends tended to go for the corners of the square lay-out including myself. The furthest away corner from me had the same style of younger people sitting at the table one after the other twice, the sort of punk rock group. People that had come in with there children went for the table that were on the inner square, I thought that this was maybe to encourage them into looking down at the books and maybe spotting something of interest as the children and sports books are situated in the area below the café.

Once I had evaluated the customers I then went onto look at the waitresses that were about, although they had very little contact with customers after they had collected there tea and coffee. I only really noticed the same waitress that was going around the square balcony clearing away the empty tables mugs plates and napkins that were pretty much all left in a mess. However she only cleared the tables she didn’t wipe them down afterward but I didn’t know whether that was because she didn’t have time or as soon as she had cleared the tables somebody else would sit on them before she got a chance to go back to them which I noticed happened at least twice. I also noticed that tables were left for about 5 to 10 minutes before being attended to, which was done in one big sweep, the waitress I saw cleared about 2-3 tables in one go. Maybe this was the method many of the waitress use in coffee shops as I have noticed this being the preferred method in Starbucks as they come out with a tray/tub things and gather all the plates in a one go.

Although I didn’t get round to discussing this assignment with anybody in person I have just read a few of the blogs that I am following that already have posted there assignments and seen that they have noticed similar patterns in coffee shops and café that I have also noted, so whether this is just the unwritten rule of such environments or just habit im not too sure.