Monthly Archives: October 2010

Good Design Bad Design

Our lecturer informed us today that a woman, Nadia Plesner, made a t-shirt with a thin black boy on the front holding a Louis Vuittonn handbag and a little clothed chiwawa. She says it was to make people aware of things going on in the country of Darfur – the famine; war etc – and compare it to Paris Hilton. We are putting Paris Hilton on the front pages and making a controversy of it, but on the other hand there is a much more serious problem happening in Darfur. This idea conveys well to the viewer to an extent but, in my opinion, the question is: has anybody done anything about it? This was my first reaction. Yes people will be aware and look at the shirt thinking ‘oh yes I should think how lucky I am’ but not actually do anything to help – and there needs to be a lot of people involved in the helping.

Another point the lecturer mentioned was: Women occupy the inside world, men occupy the outside world. Women stay home, look after the children, clean the dishes, being a good house wife whilst the husband goes to work all day, reads the newspapers and gets his food put on the table for him. A very traditional family I believe. But times are changing, women are realising that they can have opportunities and get a job. There’s a movement called Feminism now, where women are standing up for themselves believing they should have social rights and equal opportunities to men. I was pretty disgusted to this women being stuck at home concept. Reminded me of the film Pleasant Ville – where the husband came home expecting his wife to greet him but there was none, then he went to the kitchen expecting his dinner on the table but there was none. I feel strongly about how women should get as much chances of success as men. I deteste the idea how men get a higher salary than women just because of gender.

Our lecturer said the best picture of graphic designs are pizza flyers. My response was to agree as most students have them stuck on their fridges or on the kitchen table. They are being kept. When I look at a pizza flyer my taste buds go wild and think ‘ man I really want a pizza’. Why are they so succussful? Because they do exactly what they are meant to do. Fast, easy, cheap and conveniant. They don’t have fancy lettering that is hard to read, no artistic skill – they are just simple and straight to the point. They represent pizza.

In the past I considered good design to be practical, easy to use, durable and most importantly does the job it is designed to do PROPERLY. Some people would say it is the aesthetics but in the end, I feel the most simple designed objects are the most beautiful. Focussing on the essential aspects of the design.

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Rebecca Barton and Kate MccGwire

Rebecca Barton is a jeweller born in Alton, Illinois in 1985. She focusses mainly on plants in her work to symbolically illustrate a state of being. I love looking at her jewellery. Barton really emphasises the true beauty and vulnerability of nature through intricate details and detailed portrayals.  I like her use of colour as it creates visual interest and stands out on the wearer.

“deals with a plant that has been uprooted and is therefore vulnerable,” she says. “However, the emotion of the flytrap is one of seduction in order to attract and allure prey; prey that it will use for nourishment and strength.”

(Trapped Neckpiece)


Kate MccGwire is a little different to Barton. MccGwire was born in Norwich, 1964, the majority of her work is sculpture. She gathers materials from various sources over a period of months, even years. I look in awe at her pieces. She works great with feathers and layer them till they produce lovely flowing, sensuous forms. The viewers’ eye is drawn into the work through the use of continuous rhythmic shapes and the use of unusual material which some observers may find a little disturbing.

as  illustr

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First Year Jewellery Block

We were allowed to choose 2 two week blocks at the end of First Year. I chose Jewellery as my first block.

We were told to go out and look at form, line etc, working in our sketchbooks. Initially I drew architecture and statues but didn’t find inspiration. So I looked outside windows and saw ivy growing on walls. Thus took nature as my inspiration. I created little 3D paper models and stuck them in my sketchbook.

(small dried flowers)

(under part of pine cone)

(Small paper models inspired from drawings)

My drawings of the pine cone reminded me of bird beaks, thus made me immediately think of making a bird nest. I used ivy (as I’d been drawing it previously) and began wrapping it into a bowl/nest shape. I wanted to incorperate a contrast of materials as it creates visual interest. Using wire, I wrapped it round parts of the vines of the nest, it was a nice contrast of textural wood against a shiny surface which captures your eye. The paper beak models were then placed into the centre of the nest as if they were little chicks tweeting for food.



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NZ Book Council – Going West

This is a brilliant animation made from paper. The time it must have took! We were shown this video long ago in one of our first year lectures. It was to inspire us for our Paper project.

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Vessel Project

Yay! Just been spending four weeks on my vessel project. The brief was to create a vessel out of metal using at least one texture. We had to make at least 10 metal samples by the end of the first week.  My vessel relates to the vessels inside your body. Blood vessels. I actually bought a heart from the butcher to dissect, photograph and sketch from. Very interesting… I’m terribly squeemish as well! I focussed on the textures and shapes. There is a type of vessel in the heart called the mitral valve, it is a dual-flap which controls the flow of blood in and out of the heart. There are tiny branch-like tendons attached to the flap. I took sketches of this valve and developed them as I liked the delicate and intricate lines the tendons possessed.




I then thought of how the heart is surrounded and protected by a rib cage and lungs. The lungs have intricate tree-like bronchioles that look delicate and fragile. I wanted to convey this idea of ‘protection’ and ‘fragility’ in my piece.



So for my final piece I wanted to enclose the heart in some kind of cage. A lung cage. I saw pierced four flaps of copper – took ages! Oxidised the flaps and sprayed clear laquer. For the heart pendant I fly pressed a small heart, hammered it to create more texture, oxidised it, rubbed red acrylic paint into it and sprayed clear laquer to make it all shiny.

There is one hinged flap which makes it easier to take out the pendant inside. The cords are red and blue for a reason – because in biology books and pictures for organs etc they colour code  the vein and artery so you don’t get confused. The veins are coded blue and the arteries – red.

(Above picture: with the flap hinged close – protected)

I also like the shadows the cage produce, creating more visual impact.

I really enjoyed this project, it let us experiment on different materials and techniques. We learnt how to hinge, score, oxidise and much more through a series of work shop tutorials. I am pleased with my final piece as it makes viewers aware that our hearts are important to us. We need to keep it healthy and ‘protect’ it from bad foods and substances. If we didn’t no blood would be pumped throughout our body’s thus the cells would get no oxygen and we’d die.





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The Tipping Point Mind Map

In our design theory we have been studying the book The Tipping Point. We had to create mind maps for each chapter of the book using Tony Buzan’s Mind Mapping techniques.

We were also told to pick a section of The Tipping Point that we were interested in and add as much detail as we could. I chose chapter seven: Suicide, Smoking, and the Search for the Unsticky Cigarette.

After creating these mind maps I find I understand the book much better. I believe mind mapping is a great aid for studying as they are visually stimulating and concise. I have added code-words and images to help me remember certain things.

We then had to produce an annotated bibliography in Harvard style and instead of just annotating one section of the book I annotated the WHOLE book! Oh well… least I’ve really had a good read of the book. To view my annotated bibliography please click on the link below then again at the new window.

Harvard Referencing TABLE

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Guillaume Nery Base Jumping at Dean’s Blue Hole

Atmospheric and powerful. Music goes with it so well. Awesome.

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Christmas Portrait 2009

During the Christmas holidays our project was to create a self portrait. It could be a sculpture/ installation/ painting – the medium was our choice. In my portrait I wanted to convey my background and the way I have pieced my life together. This is why I have chosen to paint on an actual puzzle. By ‘piecing my life together’ I mean my change from being in a low horrible place in my life and into the light. Coming from a place a hated to a place I am happy in, thus, finding my feet. Looking forward to the future and getting back to normal.Even the choice in puzzle reflects my background – diving. I started diving at the age of four under my dad’s arm and continue to this day.

The cut-out at the bottom of the painting is inspired by my past, where I used to live, in Brunei.


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Visual Journey

For this project we were told to take photos, collect objects and sketch things we get inspired by. Somehow we had to try and link (or find a link) between all our findings (photos, objects etc). It took me a while to actually find something which linked together. I came upon a small abandoned house. In the garden I found objects. Weird objects. Questions began to arise. What kind of people lived in this house? Why did they move out?

I took these odd objects back to the studio and decided to put my own ideas as to why this house was abandoned. Making it personal. However for some of the objects I asked other pupils what they would relate to that particular finding. Some opinions were suprising. For instance, one of the objects was a small bottle of ‘head cleaning fluid’. Any ideas as to what that might be? Yes, some people did relate it to fluid which cleans the inside of a printer, yet some people suggested topics like sex and underage pregnancy. I was open to all suggestions. To convey this through into my narration of the house I cut out words from newspapers, magazines, etc, and  glued them onto polystyrene balls – as if it were a ‘bubble’ of words. At the back of the house there was shattered glass everywhere – maybe relating to aggression or even abuse? To make all these objects relate to the house I nailed blue rope to the front door (contrasting to the red), tied the found object to each rope and finally attaching the individual ‘bubbles’ along with the object it related to. Overall, I believe this installation is not only interesting to look at but tells a story about a house which has been left empty for some time now.

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Designing BIG lecture

Today our lecturer was Professor Mike Press. In the lecture we were told how important it is design something which will create a whole new experience for consumers. How experience is more important than aesthetics. I believe this is true to an extent. How many times have you bought a new-branded stylish pair of shoes and had not considered the comfort of them? When going home, trying them on and throwing them in your cupboard – never to be seen again.

Sure the looks are important but when it really comes down to it – the experience (in this case the comfort) comes first. This is what I shall take into account when I design jewellery. Making it functional, wearable as well as aesthetically pleasing. However, we have been told in our course that function needn’t play part. It doesn’t need to have a function. Then I think, ‘well does sculpture give an experience?’ Maybe people would argue it does as the work may communicate feelings and ambience, thus creating an experience. This is debatable.

‘THINK BIG. DARE!’ This is what we were told to consider thinking about. To go beyond the boundaries, be spontanious. I strongly agree! As art should shock the viewer, creating an everlasting impression.

‘Art is meant to disturb’ Georges Braque.

We also discussed how ‘knowledge is becoming a commodity’. We used to learn how to do something, like cooking, through experience. Through actually doing it. This is known as ‘Tacit Knowledge’ – without writing what to do. However now this is turning into ‘Commodified Knowledge’, for example Delia Smith’s cook books showing step-by-step plans and instructions of how to have to perfect christmas meal etc. I find this really interesting as I have never noticed this, simply reading instructions from a book. To me this is sounding like people are taking the safe route rather than being spontanious and creating something with personality.

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