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. 19th March
Thurs. 22nd March
Today was a little less hectic because I came in yesterday. I tested out my red model to see how it would work with actual water. It needed a few adjustments so I went into the workshop to fix it but overall I’m super happy with the progress so far. I found a matching red balloon end to attach to it and I really feel like it could be my final model. For the rest of the day I worked on my sketchbook which really needed my attention. I feel like it was a great place to show my progress and solidify the steps I took to get to this point. This was especially important because it helped me see what to do next and what needs improvement.
Reflective Review April 2018
In the beginning of this project my research started off very architectural and I was trying to look different cultures. It was very focused on what the spaces of communal and private washing spaces looked like as opposed to the tools that were used. Initially I didn’t know what I was doing or where my proposal would lead me so I was confusing washing tools for sanitary ware.
I had this eye opening talk with Georgia which led to a great brainstorm and some surveys about which direction I should take my project in. After that I think I was on the right track. My primary research was also in the same boat in the beginning. I think it was because I was sure what kind of products my proposal would lead me to that I used the primary research more to understand generally about washing and some of the issues that are out there. I think that that was also a vital kind of research that also influences my work even if it doesn’t have a direct impact on the design work itself.
My project started out with a few initial ideas, but by the time we got to the ‘miniatures’ workshop I hadn't explored as many ideas I would've liked. So, during the miniatures workshop I took my favorite idea to 3D which was my water filter. After that point, I did briefly revisit some other ideas, especially with the rethink workshop, but I really liked my idea and I stuck with it. I really enjoyed working out the projects kinks and developing its function through 3D models which isn't something I normally do. With every model I made, I made a few adjustments, or improvements, or got rid of bad ideas. It was a real first for me to spend this long the project, so I'm not sure if I should've spent more time exploring other ideas, but I thoroughly enjoyed working so deeply on one idea, and in my opinion it was worth it because I was able to have the product achieve everything I wanted it to, all thanks to me working through models instead of 2D visualization.
Making throughout this project has mostly been about testing materials with different processes to get my perfect organic shape. It's only later that when I had chosen the acrylic and heat gun method that making became about honing everything perfectly. I feel like other then the experiments with clay and papier-mâché, I didn't push myself in the workshop but stuck with what I knew best. I feel okay with this decision because I wanted a successful outcome although I can see looking back now I'm could have done more experimentation.
Throughout the process of creating my design, my idea went from being about washing in the bathroom for everybody, to creating a product that was deceptively simple so that everybody could use it. The function is so universally applicable and it works as a tool, which are the two goals I set out to achieve in my proposal which makes my design a success and a successful product in the real world.
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. 20 March
Tues. 10th May
Today was hectic but much better than yesterday. I finished up my model alight I ran into some challis fining a waterproof rule to stick the washers on. I tried three different types that didn't hold up on the tap until I had to go back to the hot glue gun. I tried my best for it to neat and I’m quite happy but we’ll see. I think the only way it could have been better was if the washers were thinner- but I couldn’t find any. I spent the last half of the afternoon setting up for the photoshoot tomorrow. I want to get water in my shoot so I’ve tapped and hose to the tap in the room so that it can bring to water to the set. The other end of the hoes is tapped to a clear acrylic tube so that it looks good in the photographs. During the shoot all the water will collect in a bucket that’ll bring in tomorrow. Fining the right sized pipe to attach to the hoes was difficult. I looked at the different taps that I’ve been using for experiments and tried to find something similar. After going through all the workshops and online store and found the acrylic one that is only slightly bigger than the average tap diameter.
Evaluation Workshop April 2018
My project started off with the intentions to create a tool for use in multiple cultures despite different bathroom habits. I think my project has developed into creating a tool that has functions that any person from any socio-economic background could use and has stepped away from the cultural side to make a fully functional product. I think this happened because of my difficulty in researching these cultures without seeing them first hand in the moment. Visits to different types of bathrooms and seeing religious bathing in the Ganges was inspiring but my project took a different turn towards the practical aspects of washing.
While some parts of my project have changed, I think the main aims of my project were met. I set out to create a washing tool that was inclusive and I think I achieved that because of how durable, cheap to produce and multi-functional my product is. I think if I were to have more time on this project, I would have loved to test the design within a range of users to observe how user-friendly it is and if in fact a whole spectrum of people found that they could use my product. I would also have loved to develop the form of my product further; many times during my development it resembled animals such as toucan birds and cobras, which could be a unique selling point in a product like mine.
My outcome is a water funnel, designed to be used for washing. It can be used in two ways, firstly, attached to a tap where it can reduce the water flow (to conserve water) and emphasize the visual relaxing quality of water as it comes out. It can also be used outdoors for scooping and filtering the water. The spoon shape allows water to be directed onto the body for washing. It is made from low-cost, hygienic materials and designed to be accessible. For manufacturing decisions please look at the workflow entry.
I love that my product has such an organic shape - natural and curved forms are something I gravitate towards in all my work. I find that when I make the decision to use unique forms I am more passionate about what I’m creating because I have to work hard on creating the shape which is exactly what I did during this project. What really surprised me was that I worked through getting that perfect shape through an extensive series of test models with running water, because I usually work out the shape perfectly on paper first before moving to 3D. In the end, I’m glad I did chose to work this method because being this hands-on has also helped me quickly find and solve other problems that cropped up during development such as the placement of the water entrance and the thickness of my material choices.
Looking back, while I did achieve everything I set out to, I would have like to have some more in depth research and exploration of materials. All the material research I did were some superficial tests during the materials wall workshop which helped me identify unique characteristics in materials, as well as some comparison of polypropylene and acrylic plastics. I wish I had looked into casting my project in glass, pyrex or ceramic. I didn’t think of the idea until someone suggested it to me when it was too late. I would have loved to look at hand made glass bowing and compared it to mass produced pyrex.
Overall, this has been an eye opening experience in learning the process of how a product starts at an idea and then develops to point where it can actually be used. I have not only developed my creative thinking and idea development skills but I have learned a lot about the the building aspect of product design, such as manufacturing methods and model-making processes. I hope to use and develop all this knowledge further in my CSM Product Design BA next year.
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.
Wed. 21st March
Today was a non taught day but I did a little bit of important work. I went to the workshop and reworked some dimensions to try and get the angle of my project right. I had to test this twice on two different models but I’m glad I did because this is the most critical part of my design. When I finally got it the way I wanted and I decided to try and make a final model in a red color. I thought that the color would add to the playfulness nature I was trying to cultivate in my project with the flow of the water and I thought that this would add to it. However, when I was making it, the red acrylic was much thicker and burned instead of melting so I may have to rework it but I don like the texture created because it does reflect water. I think I may have to consult a tutor just to see what is being conveyed in my project and what looks best.
While I've made my model out of acrylic using a heat gun, if my product were to be produced in the real world I would like it to be made differently.
I should be a fast moving consumer good and mass produced to increase it availability to all people and make it cheaper. I would want it to be injection molded with acrylic still because I feel that it is both durable but affordable. Polypropylene would be too feeble but ABS would be overkill. The mold should be made out of iron so that it lasts a long time rather than aluminum. I think the only reason people chose to use aluminum molds is if they know they will change the design in a year but I feel like this is a one of a kind product and the fashions on the time wouldn't influence the shape.
The filter would be die cut and then assembled. The rubber that attaches to the nossle would be creates with the same iron molds that are used to create balloons but the melted rubber would not be allowed to drip as much allowing it to be thicker and stronger.
Mon. 9th May
Today was a stressful day. I finally got my tutorial with Kathleen and she gave me a huge wake up call. My red model was obviously not finally piece material. The filter I had made didn’t fit properly, the bubbles from burning the acrylic where not working and the color didn’t work in a ‘bathroom’ and ‘washing’ theme. At first I did go through a panic moment but I gave myself some step by step instructions which always calms me down. I decided to choose from blue acrylic of clear instead of the red for my project and redo the base piece. I also went to get washers for the connecting of the ballon and model to be neater. I worked in the workshop all day to create the base piece in clear, perfectly with a mirror-buffed sanded edges. I chose clear acrylic because I was always aiming for that sleek look and I feel that I could achieve that with a transparent material. The mirror buffed edges were something Kathleen pointed out was lacking on my red model. At first I was buffing with 80 sandpaper but I found that with higher number I could refine the sanding so I went and sanded with 1000 and I really got results. Even though today was major upheaval for my project, I’m so glad it happened. I refined my project to a whole new level and I really needed that.