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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Today, our class made a trip to Trash for Teaching, a non-profit building environmental awareness through art education. The warehouse facility collects and receives industrial waste/ trash which can be recycled and reused. The materials are clean, safe cast-offs from local manufacturers which have open-ended usages in art and design and are available for sale to the public by the pound.

   

vibrant blue bins filled with 'trash' materials


I was really surprised by how clean and organized the place was. I had imagined the place as a stark industrial warehouse with piles of trash everywhere. It felt very much like a kid in a candy store. There were vibrant blue bins with colorful goodies in them and colorful wall and hanging art installations.

 

 

These are the goodies I left the place with:

I tried to pick materials that I could potentially use in my project for the class, but most of the materials I picked were chosen for personal side projects.

Many creative professionals struggle to move forward on projects because they feel immensely frustrated with their early, real-world executions of their ideas don’t perfectly match the ideal image in their heads. By seeing your work as a “draft” or “mock up” that you can refine, you can dramatically lower the barrier to external manifestation of your internal musings.

Elizabeth Grace Sanders in Getting Better vs. Being Good  

via  Laura Allcorn

Laura Allcorn is a designer, strategist, and experimental entrepreneur.  I stumbled upon her portfolio website and found this quote posted in her blog. It was nice because our whole class is currently making sketch models and continuing to make adjustments to our designs.

Iteration 1: Hand Harness, made from the thumb component of Fiskar scissors and yarn.

Iteration 2: Ring, made finger wrap-around component of Fiskar scissors and tape

I moved forward making sketch models of my first and second iterations using the Fiskar scissors. The yarn and tape are meant to simulate other materials, but I am still exploring the opportunities of materials.

After making the models, I found that the second ring iteration was translating as a more successful transformation.

In a discussion with the teacher’s assistant, he talked about considering a more deliberate material connection with the ring band and the scissor component and bounced around ideas of surface decoration rather than merely just having a piece of scissors on your hand.

I had intentions of altering the orange color of the Fiskars. After showing and discussing my sketch models with my instructor, she talked about keeping the inherent orange which is significant and a highly recognizable signature of the Fiskar brand and the history surrounding it. We talked about some of the unresolved issues with the first model, including proportional and material concerns. She recommended transforming the thumb component into a necklace. She talked about how the form has about the right amount of abstract to still visually connect it to its original identity. Even though it is stripped of its utilitarian purpose, the ergonomic form still hearkens to physical interaction. The form is so obviously meant for the fingers. By making it into the necklace, it could engender a physical interaction with the user.

She also talked about making a series of them, each exploring a different component or element. In a series, it could tell more demonstrative narrative about the transformation of everyday objects and the existing beauty in ergonomically design products. I think it expands the category to a wider spectrum and stronger concept of the deconstruction of jewelry, rather than obsessing over the fit of Fiskar scissors.

Other views:

My final ideation dealt with the concept that everyday objects become inherent forms of adornment in the ways we interact with them and their relation to the human body. Utilizing the pre-existing beauty of ergonomic in product designs, I attempt to manipulate and decontextualize familiar object forms into new objects of jewelry and adornment.

My iterations explore the usages of different objects. Along with the sustainable redesign, I focus on  not to buy new objects fresh off the shelves and instead source them from defected/ not purposeful objects I own lying around the house, donations from friends and relatives, and thrift or second-hand stores.

With additional material usages, I am trying to source more soft good materials. From my research, I learned how environmentally and ethically unfriendly mining for metals and stones can be. Much of the existing indicators of jewelry is heavily based on the value of the incorporated materials, like gold and diamonds. I became interested in how ‘cheap’ materials could simply be transformed into more valuable and aesthetic materials through the process of manipulation (ie. weaving, cutting, melting … etc.).

I have also been thinking about sourcing materials from thrift jewelry. There is a lot of possibilities of finding interesting forms and designs in existing jewelry which would have otherwise been discarded and gone to the trash.

I believe there is also value in buying new materials which are renewable and sustainably grown/ sourced/ raised…etc. Sustainable materials is not necessarily just about using trash and found materials. In some cases, specific materials are perhaps functionally the optimal option because of the structural nature of it. It is just a matter of doing research and tracing the materials journey through the supply chain.

As of now, I am still research and shopping around for possible materials I can implement in my design. Depending on the qualities of these materials, the designs will most likely continue to evolve.