Marrakech – Reflection

I was apprehensive but excited to join the trip to Morocco. Before going I decided to do some brief research into some of the places we would visit on our trip, such as the ‘Bahia Palace’ and the ‘Saadian Tombs’. The place I was most excited to see was the Majorelle Gardens, after reading about its brief history.  The building and gardens took 40 years (1886-62) to create, by the French painter Jacques Majorelle. The garden covers two and a half acres of land, and is filled with exotic plants, trees and pools decorated with water lilies and lotus flowers. What makes it so exciting and unique is the vibrant primary colours. The blue paint used on the buildings is called the “Majorelle blue”, making it unique to this site.

I was  surprised to see how busy it was on the streets and in the different sites. On the streets  you are overwhelmed by the different smells of spices, dust and food cooking. When you visit the square, you can hear the snake charmers and their instruments and the sounds of people talking and cars/ mopeds massing and beeping. Different to the outside, the sounds from inside the buildings are much more tranquil. You can hear birds chirping and fountains dripping and the light sound of Moroccan instruments playing in the background.

Everything I experienced in Marrakech became part of the inspiration for our project. I was most inspired by the variety of colours and smells, and thought that they would be really interesting to experiment with in my project. I wanted to use these senses to come alive in the book, and give whoever’s looking at it a brief experience of the smells and sounds of Morocco.

Whilst in Marrakech we decided to re-group, so that we would be working with others who had similar ideas. I was put into a group with Maris, Freya and Nuw, and we all wanted to focus on the senses. Whilst in Morocco we came up with the idea of designing a book which would include fabric, dyed using the dyes we bought in Morocco, some would even be infused with spices, orange blossom and argon oil. The book would also include some pages of interesting artworks, sketches and patterns that we were inspired by in Marrakech. We also wanted to have the sounds we recorded in Morocco playing as you look through the book. We had the idea of using an ‘Ipod’ so that you could listen to the sounds through headphones.

After returning home, we had a group discussion and gave everyone a specific role, making sure that everyone could experiment with media from outside their subject. My other role was to create the element of touch in the book, by using my sewing machine. Maris’ role was to create a typeface that would correspond with the editorial and the ‘book of senses’. Nuw and Freya’s role was to dye the fabric and stitch.

Personally I think we worked really well as a group. Even though we did most of the work in our own time we always kept in contact over social media. We would always keep each other up to date on the things we were doing. As well as this we all had our own style of work which showed whist we were putting the book together. before our presentation we all got together to put our work in the book.

Freya decided to cover the book in fabric, that was dyed using some of the colours we collected in Morocco. In Morocco we bought several powdered colours such as, ‘the colour of Marrakech’, ‘Saffron’, Indigo and the poppy colour. Most of the colours worked really well to dye the fabric, however the indigo didn’t take as well as we thought, however it left a subtle tint on the fabric. Whilst in Morocco Freya, Nuw and myself also bought some mint tea, argon oil and orange blossom essence. We decided to use the oil’s to infuse the different fabrics and decided to use double-sided tape to stick the tea under the fabric. Whilst putting the book together we decided to create labels giving instructions for example, “smell here” or “touch here”.

For the element of ‘touch’ there are many different textures within the book, including the disposable images. As part of my role I decided to buy some thread and an embroidery kit and started stitching over the printed images. For example, one of the images was of a large lantern, the picture was quite dark and didn’t highlight the detail that was on the lantern so I decided to take some yellow thread and stitch the outline. Another example was a picture of a plant pot in the Majorelle Garden. Instead of creating an outline of the image I decided to re-create the tile pattern on the image.

Overall, I think that the project turned out better than expected. We were quite apprehensive at the start of the project that our work wouldn’t be enough to fill a book and that our work might not be compatible. However our designs worked really well and we were able to portray most of the senses. We wanted the book to be a celebration, that didn’t have a structure like most books. Whilst in Morocco we decided that everything was so hectic that this was something we needed to show in the book.

If we had more time to create the book we would definitely consider taking it further and possibly creating it on a bigger scale and experimenting with different techniques from outside our subjects. As well as this we would have liked to have experimented with sugar paper, infused with oranges or the spices so that we could have covered all five senses.

 

 

 

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Senses project

After discussing our roles within the project we were ready to start creating. I started by using watercolour to cover my canvas fabric with the primary colours of Morocco, I wanted to use watercolour instead of the dye so that there was a variety in colour. I then decided to stitch on top of the fabric. However, after creating my first piece I decided that we would have too many pieces of fabric in the book and we needed to experiment with some different fabrics and media.

Whilst in Morocco I took many disposable pictures of random things I saw day-to-day. I wanted to try a different technique which involved me hand stitching instead of using my machine. I decided to buy some thread and an embroidery kit and started stitching over the printed images. For example, one of the images was of a large lantern, the picture was quite dark and didn’t highlight the detail that was on the lantern so I decided to take some yellow thread and stitch the outline. This way I was able to include the element of touch into our project. Instead of only being able to look at an image you could touch the image too. I created several of these images, as well as creating watercolour backgrounds to bring plenty of colour into the book.

As well as creating the stitched images I focused on creating an editorial to go alongside the work. The editorial would consist of images from taken by my group in Marrakech, brief information about the places we visited and how each place made us feel. When it comes to creating  graphic work I am usually very experimental with my text and images. However this time we wanted the editorial to be quite simple, as the ‘senses book’ was so varied, so it was definitely a challenge for me to create something so formal.

To go alongside the editorial,l Maris created a typeface, inspired by the different fonts we came across in Marrakech, Arabic writing and the different patterns.

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Before putting the work together I decided  to do some brief research into some artists who use ‘senses’ in their work. I started researching the work of ‘Odette Toilette’ on the Tate’s  website. Toilette’s work consists around creating events and installations focusing on ‘the sense of smell’.  Her idea is to bring a sense of smell to life, for example how a certain smell can remind us of a life event or a person. In 2010 Toilette started an event showing all the things that are possible to do with smell. Toilette’s work inspired me and it made me consider how we could use our sense of smell in our book. Whilst putting the book together I decided to place some of the Moroccan tea and spices we had collected behind the fabric, so when you rub the area where they are placed you will get a strong smell of the ingredients.

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Marrakech

For this term’s field project, we spent a week in Marrakech. The experience was  overwhelming, there was so much to do and everywhere was very busy. However, Marrakech  filled me with inspiration, most of the buildings are decorated in colourful tiles, fabric shops around each corner and an abundance of handmade rugs. On the trip we needed to come up with an idea for our project.   We considered how Marrakech is an attack on the senses, and decided to create our project around the senses you experience in Morocco.

Every day’s in Marrakech were filled with surprises, busy and filled with inspiration for our project. It was interesting to see the contrast between  outside and inside of the buildings. On the streets of Marrakech you are overwhelmed by the different smells of spices, dust and food cooking. When you visit the square, you can hear the snake charmers and their instruments and the sounds of people talking and cars/ mopeds massing and beeping.  The sounds inside the buildings are much more tranquil. You can hear birds chirping and fountains dripping and the light sound of Moroccan instruments playing in the background.

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The project

Whilst in Marrakech we had plenty of opportunity to sketch and take photographs of the different areas of inspiration that we thought would be helpful for our project. My group definitely had similar ideas as to what we wanted to portray in the project. We came up with the idea of creating a book, that would include a feeling for all of the senses, using the spices, orange blossom, tea and fabric dyes we bought in Marrakech.

After the trip we had a group meeting where we discussed our individual roles in the project. We all wanted to try something different outside of our subject. I decided that I wanted to experiment with both subjects, Graphics and Textiles. For the project I was in charge of creating a formal editorial piece, to go alongside the ‘book of senses’. I wanted to challenge myself, to create a piece of work which was quite formal and I am usually quite experimental in my work. My other role was to create the element of touch in the book, by using my sewing machine. Maris’ role was to create a typeface that would correspond with the editorial and the ‘book of senses’. Nuw and Freya’s roles were to dye the fabric and stitch. Everyone then had a role to create pieces to fill the book using colour, sketches and artefacts they had collected.

 

AYSC – Reflection

I was apprehensive about starting the AYSC challenge over the 5 weeks as I had never done product design before, however I was excited to start. In the first week I was introduced to subjects such as ergonomics and anthropometrics, I found these to be quite difficult as I have never created work in 3D before. We were given partners, from different subject areas, with whom we would be creating the chair.. We were introduced to our client, the Ceramics lecturer,  Matt Thompson, who we interviewed to get a better idea of his interests. The main interests we discovered were that he enjoys cycling and other outdoor activities, his favourite colour is  blue and we found  that his children are very important to him. Using this information we started designing our chair.

I  have definitely learnt various new skills from this project. Within Graphic Design I am used to designing work in 2D so starting to think in 3D was a challenge. However after having help from some product design students I started to become more confident in the subject. I enjoyed putting the chair together however at some points I did feel slightly helpless when it came to creating the parts. However I was confident in my partner and he was very helpful explaining how everything worked.

Overall we were very happy with the chair when It was completed. We were able to test it to discover that it was more comfortable than it looked! I am very happy with how the tubes work to hold your weight, whilst also giving a slight element of surprise as you sit on it. I am happy with the chair’s unique appearance and it looks exactly like we had imagined. On the other hand if we were able to re-create the chair we would have made it slightly bigger, as it was cut slightly smaller than we had hoped. As well a this we could have experimented with pulling the inner tubes so that they were tighter and more consistent, so that it’s slightly more comfortable on your lower back.

Within my subject area I am used to working with others to create my work, so I was happy working collaboratively. It was interesting to see how others work in their subject, for example how their work is more hands-on whereas my work as a Graphic Designer is slightly more computerised.  Personally I thought that my partner and myself worked together really well as we had plenty of ideas to share and got things done fairly quickly. At first I found it difficult to incorporate my graphic design skills into the work, however I was able to come up with some ideas that would help the appearance of the chair. James, being the product designer definitely took on the role of making sure everything worked as it should.

I have learnt many new skills over the past five weeks, such as woodwork, using tools, developed my communication skills, working under pressure and time management. I will be able to use these skills in my future projects.

 

AYSC – The chair

We started by creating a model  ‘cut out’ of the chair using the laser cutter. We were happy with the outcome and it gave us a better idea of what we could use as our secondary material. After getting the chair printed in Cardiff ‘FabLab’, we put it together to make sure everything fitted in place. As well as this we tested the chair to check for comfort, we decided that we needed a strong material to place over the top of each panel.

It was important that we used a material that related to the client’s work and other interests. The first idea was to stitch bubble wrap that would cover the panels and make it comfortable, We would create it so that it was removable. However this idea brought  a lot of problems, the bubble wrap might not take the weight if someone sat on it and it would be really risky to sit on. So we continued to experiment. We decided to visit a second-hand bike shop near the university, where they gave us plenty of bike materials/ parts to experiment with.

We decided to use the bike inner- tubes to cover the top of each panel. The tubes would be stretched so that they would take the weight and make it comfortable to sit on. We discovered that securing the tubes was going to be quite tricky. We needed to re-print the top struts with an extra slit in the side, so that we could wedge the tubes. After experimenting with this idea several times we decided to try something new. My partner came up with the idea of using elastic bands because the friction density would keep the tubes from slipping out.

Once we were happy with the system, we decided to find blue elastic bands ( our clients favourite colour) to put around the ends. For the surprise element for our client,  turning the chair upright reveals panels for storage/ shelves. The purpose of this is so that he can use it too keep any things he may create, being a ceramics lecturer, or perhaps something to keep hold of his children’s toys.

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After completing the chair, we took it to the photography room. We were able to get several pictures of our client sitting on the chair, to use for our A3 posters, the two pictures below are the ones we chose to use.

Are you sitting comfortably?

I was excited, yet apprehensive to start this field project. I have never done product design before and I wasn’t sure if it was something I would enjoy. In our first session we were given a brief introduction to what we would be doing over the next five weeks and then given a partner who we would be working with. Before starting on our chairs, we were introduced to multiple techniques which we would use to design the chairs from different angles, as well as discussing Ergonomics.

The brief 

The brief was to create a ‘bespoke chair/stool or seat’,  responding to a specific project brief based on the results from a staff/client interview. We will be provided with a 16 square foot, 4’x4’x12mm, or 1200x1200x12mm sheet of birch to create the chair, as well as using our own secondary material.

Before designing each chair, each group was allocated a lecturer, whose personality we would use to base the chair design around. Myself and my partner were allocated the ceramics lecturer, Matt Thompson. We were also given a sheet of interview questions to ask the client as well as adding our own questions. The main points we discovered from the interview was, that he enjoys cycling ( preferably mountain biking) and outdoor adventure, his favourite artist is David Hockney, his children (aged 6 and 4) are very important to him and his favourite colour is blue.  For inspiration we each had to create a mood board showing the lecturer’s interests and some potential chair ideas.

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As well as learning new skills to incorporate within our designs we were also given example of chairs, created by previous students. It was interesting to see how they used the materials and they inspired me to experiment with what types of materials would work successfully with our chair.

We started to gather some potential ideas for the chair, taking our interviewee’s answers as inspiration.  His interest in cycling and outdoor adventure appeared to be two important aspects of his life. We came up with an idea to use second-hand bike materials, such as  the bike tyres, handle bars or the material from the inner tubes. The first idea I came up with was a chair that would rock as you sit on it, the panels going across the chair would be made from tyre parts, as they are made of a strong material. Another factor that highlighted in the interview results was his unconditional love for his children. We wanted to make sure this was incorporated within the chair design. As his children were aged 4 and 6 we wanted to make sure that there was enough room for them to sit with him on the chair, and for them to be able to use it too.

The second idea was designed by my partner. The chair would be designed so that his bike’s front tyre could slot into the back of the chair. The chair would have a larger piece at the back with a slit for the tyre, a material hammock type seat and then two other pieces so that it opened like a deck chair. However, we didn’t think that this idea was experimental enough and it didn’t incorporate the needs of his children either, so we continued to develop our ideas.

I liked the idea of having a round, cocoon shaped chair, where our client would be able to sit back on it and could be joined by his children, making the chair socially inclusive.  The chair would be designed with five wooden panels and would rest on a round base. This was our preferred option and we decided to develop this idea.

As well as having it resting on the base, we came up with the idea of using similar mechanics to a bike to make the chair move in all directions. We would also use bike inner tubing as our secondary material for extra support. For the surprise element we also discussed possibly having a bike light, to use as a reading light at the top of the chair.

After discussing with the lecturer on the plan for this chair, we realised that we didn’t have enough material to make it possible, so we had to think of other ways to reduce the amount of materials used. We developed our idea so that the chair would be designed from half wood and half canvas material. Using the same shape and concept from the original cocoon idea, we wanted to create half the chair in the same way, however covering the top half of the chair using the canvas material. The material would then hang from a piece of wood that would be designed as the spine of the chair, using fabric ties.

For the inside of the chair, we discussed using foam, covered with recycled fabric from charity shops. We discussed using blue fabric as he said that blue was his favourite colour. This idea was then developed so that we would decorate the inside with cushions, again using recycled fabric for the cushion covers.

 

My peer started to design the model of our chair using a 3D software. Here we were able to see how our chair would sit and decide on any changes that needed to happen so that it would be stable. The first thing we noticed is that we needed the chair to be balanced. We came up with the idea of adding a stop in the wood so that it wouldn’t roll over. However, the chair plan still wasn’t completely stable, so we decided to experiment with using two wooden panels on the back of our chair. As I have never had experience of product design I was very apprehensive about the design of the chair.

 

We realised that our idea might be too ambitious for the time we had to create the chair, so we decided to change the idea completely so that the concept was slightly simpler. Our new idea used less material  which made it simpler to design and we found it easier to incorporate our recycled materials. My peer came up with the idea of potentially using stabilizers on the chair, this way you would be able to move the chair around. Another idea we considered was to use bubble wrap as our secondary material, as padding on the top of our chair. Again I thought it would be interesting to experiment with making the material removable by using fabric ties.

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PDP

My constellation was ‘The Meshwork of Objects’ with Jacqui Knight. I was apprehensive but also curious to start. In the first session we briefly discussed what we were going to be learning over the following weeks. We had an induction to ‘The meshwork of objects’,  Transdisciplinarity perspective and our relationship with objects, subjects and ‘Thingness’.

In the second session we discussed, “What is Structural Materialist Film?”. In the session our main focus was ‘exploding the black box of cinema’ where we  looked at examples of structural materialist films that point to film as material and create handmade films to understand the ‘thinglyness’ of film, it’s ontology and also how the apparatus works together with the film material to provide an interpretation of the objects. As well as this we experimented with how the apparatus changes our perceptions of objects and what it means for scientific experiments or objective knowledge.

Before this session I had no understanding or knowledge of materialist/ structural film’s. I learnt that the films are usually short, experimental and Non- illusionist. They don’t usually document a narrative or follow a set of actions and usually show relations between segments, from what the camera is aimed at and the way that ‘image’ is presented. As well as this I learnt that you also get a sense of the camera person, where the camera becomes an extension of the body, as if you’re watching from the camera man’s perspective.

Similar to my ‘New Materialism’ constellation sessions with Dr Martin Woodward, it was interesting to see how objects within film also become extensions of your body. It reminded me of the extract from Pallasmaa’s ‘The Working Hand’ which explains that, a painter paints by the means of the mind rather than the brush as a physical object. Throughout the session, my knowledge and understanding of how the object becomes a part of our body, and shapes our creative practice.

I also learnt how you can identify a materialist film by looking at examples of work such as ‘Berlin Horse, by Malcolm Le Grice, 1970‘ where you see a film of horses becoming more and more distorted throughout the clip. I believe that the films make you feel rather confused, similar to ‘Fluxus’, short films with moving images with distorted and annoying sound effects. It was interesting to see how you can identify structural films by the imperfections, usually the creator’s aren’t interested in removing scratches because it shows the process of the film going through a projector. They’re also not interested in taking out grain, dust and hair that get stuck in the emulsion.

I enjoyed this session as I learnt about a topic I had never come across before. With Graphic Design I usually focus on topics surrounding my subject so it was interesting to learn something about a subject outside my course. I’m not usually drawn to film, as I have never had the chance to experiment with the equipment or materials so It was exciting to be able to try something new. I definitely felt as if I learnt a new set of skills from this session which I am excited to bring into my work as a graphic designer, such as experimenting with using handmade films in some of my future projects.

Another session that inspired me was based in Cardiff Museum, where we were put into groups and told to wander around the museum and find an object/ artwork that stood out to us and inspired us. We were told to discuss how the object had been presented and what inspired us to choose it. I enjoyed this session as I believe it related to graphic communication, understanding how to place objects so that they provide an experience for the viewer, similar to how as a graphic designer you must design your work so that it suits your client.

It was interesting to see how you as an individual can develop an emotional attachment to a particular object, where others might not have, for example, the background and previous experiences, leading the individual to develop their own personal interest. As we discovered the space I became aware that my fellow peers had different opinions on the objects/ artworks which reflected their practice.

The two sessions inspired me to think about how objects are presented within exhibition spaces and the relationship between the creator and the viewer, which I will discuss in my formative essay.  I will be discussing how objects are presented and curated so that they provide an experience for the viewers. As well as this I will be discussing examples of exhibition spaces and objects that have been presented in creative and interesting ways, the physiology behind exhibition spaces/ colour and commercial/ online spaces.

This constellation has not only been useful, but it’s inspired me to consider other subjects outside my course. It has helped me within my practice to think about the way I create and to widen my research topics. The sessions have definitely inspired me to think ‘outside the box’ when starting on projects and how my piece of work affects others. I will definitely be applying this to my work in the future. I will explore the many ways I could include film within my practice and consider how the objects we use become an extension of the body.  I am now considering how others go about presenting their work and how I could use inspiration from others so that my work can be presented in a better way.