Thurs. 15th Feb.
Coming out of UP, today is the first day of actual work on our unit 7 project. We were set in COPs or 'communities of practice' to do some group work. These groups were set in themes of what we are working on. I put myself in the 'Health and Wellbeing' group because seeing as my work fits in personal hygiene I think the group is a good fit. We did some reflective prompts concerning how to brand our unit 7 theme.
This kind of helped me shape and define why exactly I chose my theme and what the implications are. I chose to explore personal hygiene through different cultures because thats what I've grown up around. I have always had the opportunity to look at things from many different perspectives before making any decisions or inferences so I'm excited to conduct my research in this way as well as define an audience in this way. I feel like this could add both some foreign color as well as personal touches to my work, which is important to the success of my project. I think that sanitary ware has been explored a lot in ceramic designers; and I'm not sure which direction I want to take my project in yet, but I think coming at the hardware from a product design view could be really interesting.
Later on we also got to think about what kind of hashtags would define our projects; and this exercise especially helped me to define, in very specific and concise words, what exactly my project was about. It helped me decide on cultural inclusive or neutral goals for my project. I think this whole idea of gender or class or cultural neutrality has really become a trend now- especially with a wider acceptance of the LGBT community, and I look forward to designing not for a specific type of person, but for a whole demographic.
I also made up an action plan for the research week with my group which was especially helpful to get organized. We discussed things we could see together as well as a library day to all go together.
Thurs. 1st March
Today was finally a self directed study day and I tried to come up with some initial ideas which was really difficult because I hadn't decided which direction to take my project in. So I had a tutorial with Georgia today which really helped myself get organized. We mapped out exactly which directions I could take my project, and I found that there were some that I was naturally gravitating towards- which was a fantastic way to get started. Mostly I was leaning towards portable items and entertainment in the bathroom because I feel like there is most room for innovation there. However, I don't have any secondary research on items like these so I'm going to have to do that this weekend. She also gave me some advice on how to better my proposal. My part two needed to have more specific mentions of research material so I worked on that for most of the morning. However, Georgia also suggested that I get some examples of bathroom products and activities from everybody in the room for additional primary research as well as a way to streamline my secondary research from these examples.
So, after fixing my proposal, I took up two walls and labeled one 'Activities in the bathroom' and made a scale of private to public and the second wall was labeled 'Bathroom products' on a scale from necessities to luxuries. The response form the class was fantastic- I had both walls filled by the end of class with great, quirky responses that I would never have thought of. I think this will really help streamline the next leg of my research and help me with my idea development in the the right direction.
My progress against my action plan seems to be okay, whats left is that I really need to start developing some initial ideas and get further research based on the survey I did today.
Mon. 26th Feb.
This morning we did a 'speed dating' workshop to help us with our research. Although, after research week I'm not sure I really needed this. My project is a little obscure so it was hard to get people to think of things for research for me off the top of their head's. It was also challenging for me to wrap my head around different projects and then give advice straight away. I did think of a few things butter never enough to fill all the boxes. I did get some good leads which I'll look into when I get home today but I would have much rather spent the day organizing myself and maybe starting to explore some ideas. I think thats what I really need to get started and get motivated to work towards something. It might also help me define what kind of products I will be making and for whom.
Later on, we did the materials wall workshop which was good because I got to start experimenting and analyzing the connotations of different materials but i didn't really get to explore any design ideas. First we made abstract shapes based on our project - which I found difficult because I kept trying to make something figurative out of instinct. I really just wanted to realize something into reality - which I guess is a good trait for a 3D designer, but it didn't help with this workshop.
I played around with three materials. The first was metal and I found it strange that I went for it because I almost never do- but I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone because I feel like I really created something beautiful even through it didn't fulfill what I was going for. I see that metal isn't fantastic for flowing elements but it is sturdy and delicate which could be a useful combination. some polystyrene for the first time which was interesting. It was actually much harder to manipulate than I originally thought because you can only take away, not add. I think the material is great as a stepping stone to be used to create something else but not for a final product. It is already colored and textured so coarsely that I feel that in a way it already is a product of its own, like sponge. The last material I used was polypropylene plastic which I have used before because of its clean properties and store - bought look.
Tues. 6th March
Today was another self directed day which I was grateful for. I worked on initial ideas all day and I think I have a few good ones to start developing, although I feel that most are too simple and need a lot more innovation. I had a tutorial with Tom today which was helpful. He gave me some advice on some more products and hardware to look up that weren't necessarily that innovative yet had other good aspects to them. We also talked about how I could make a set of bathroom accessories instead of one single product. Some of my work do have cohesive themes such as shape and material so I think it could be a good idea. I think it would be especially good for me because I'm finding this lengthened pace challenging.
Wed. 7th March
Today was another workshop filled day so I didn't get to develop my ideas from yesterday into a set - however, I did get to do some 3D building and materials experimentation which was great. This was the miniatures workshop, where I started by discussing some of my favorite ideas with a partner. I chose to go with one of the pieces I was going to include in my set yesterday.
The shape I was working on today was curved and I wanted to mold it out of polypropylene or chrome as a typical bathroom product material but I couldn't do that in the span of one day so I made it out of air dry clay. Although the shape came out wonderfully, the texture was like cracked marble so I paper mashéed it which made it slightly better. For the mechanism I loped off a small bottle cap and added it on- this would have been the perfect material to match with the polypropylene or chrome.
In the end the model helped me find some serious issues in my original design which was very helpful.
Tues. 27th Feb.
Chris Roberts, the head of the foundation course, came in today to do our first workshop with us. It was this whole idea about narratives within our projects. Like, who we are designing for, and who infers the point of the project, and how. It was interesting when we went into groups to try and answer all these questions for a project we've never seen before. My group got the Less Lamp by Jordi Canudas which wasn't that challenging to figure out the purpose without researching, compared to some of the other projects given out to groups.
The real point of this workshop was to answer these questions for our own projects. I feel like my project will be created by the designer (me) for a user audience; and the story of my project would really be conveyed during the making and creating- not during the using. I think my project will really be about bringing together different washing cultures so thats not really something the users will experience themselves while using my product. This also means that the 'narrative' will also be external to the object, meaning the narrative won't be understood just by looking at it (if its successful of course). The workshop also helped me think about why to convey my narrative, and I think it has to do with sharing information, values, social structures and reflectivity which is important in designs with a social background.
After lunch, we did an analysis workshop with Tom within our COPs. We all brought in 10 images from our research and tried to organize it. Our group starting superficially grouping images by color and size; I found that most of my products were larger and that I really needed to diversify because my research was bordering on spacial. Later, we moved on to organizing by quality and price, and luxury vs. necessity. I found that most of my research was expensive and good quality so I either can create something not in that category to open the market to a new audience (my original purpose) or really diversify my research. I think in the end it will probably be both- one leans on the other during idea development. Speaking of which I really do hope to get some done this week- we've spent both days doing workshops.
Thurs. 8th March
Today we did a 'rethink' workshop with Kathleen which really surprised me. I pared up with Laura who happens to be in my community of practice. We explained our projects to each other in more depth and I showed Laura some of my initial ideas and she did the same.
I thought that it would be difficult to put myself in the headspace of her project and come up with ideas but once I looked at which direction she was pushing her project and some of her research, the idea generation wasn't too difficult. Even though I wasn't able to come up with 30 ideas in an hour, Laura did seem to like some of the ideas and looked forward to developing them.
The ideas that Laura came up with were great as well. It was so great to see another person's take on a brief that I created. All her work still fits but it was a different perspective than mine because she's had different experiences with the research and her own bathroom habits. There are definitely some ideas of hers that I'd like to develop into my own.