Thursday, 3 December 2009

I have created life!. . it's a pufferfish

A while back (quite a long while back) I mentioned on my blog that I had been looking at Quentin Blake drawings, sketchy, quirky and lively, these drawings inspired my wire project to form.
To focus on just a particular object or 'theme' I suppose, I chose fish, not only because they're very interesting to draw, textural, covered in scales, the skeletons provide a lot of line, but because I love the sea and thought I'd continue that theme in my work.
I came across an image of a pufferfish which I loved, they're quite comical anyway but this one looked a bit angry, and had some personality about it.
I drew so many other things, had so many other ideas for necklaces, brooches, looked at Arbroath Smokeries, seaweed, netting. . . and always came back to this idea, of designing a pufferfish brooch. Tricky? I didn't really know how I was going to make it if i could, but the drawings and the week in the media lab helped a lot to come up with this idea. .

Here is the little attachment (there is a bigger one, the main brooch) which will be linked to the halved bigger pieced with jump rings and gold-plated. It has some humour about it, as well as some rage, I think it looks quite like a sand-mine, or a satellite too to be honest :)

Assignment 4 part C

From reading both 'Learning from the Japanese City: West meets East in Urban Design' and 'The International Journal of Transport Management 1'; I have gained a greater interest in cultural design as well as learning new information, facts and ideas from these sources.
I very much enjoyed reading source 2 because it gave me a different perspective of the way the Western world is built around us, the Eastern Urban culture, and made me consider another way to view the way we're living, by all it's content rather than context as Shelton suggested.

If I were to take this further I suppose I would investigate and research further into CPTED, if it has been used more-so and currently in railway stations to improve the facilities. I would also look into graffiti art more; how do we move from vandalism to becoming a public form of art? Could these be commissioned in our subways?

I would perhaps create my own survey, whilst looking more into Japanese culture, history to present in further detail. Asking the public what they think about their city, what could be (greatly) improved? Do they know anything/much about Eastern Culture, would it be of use to look at a city as a 'whole space' rather than categorized? I think my own investigations could help when looking into this subject as well as looking at more varied sources, and perhaps looking beyond the present to the future of Eastern Urban Culture . .

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Assignment 4, Bibliography


Cozens.P, Neale.R, Whitakers.J (2003) ‘International Journal of Transport Management 1’ Wales: Elsevier LTD

Giblin Matthew.J (2008) ‘The Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency’ Southern Illinois, Carbondale

Hiroshige, Nihonbashi, Edobashi images. (Taken from 'Learning From The Japanese City: West Meets East in Urban Design')

MOFA (Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Japan)

Morse:1972, 1-6

Nakamura:1984, Process Architecture, 49 (62-63)

Price, Emmet.G (2006) ‘Hip-Hop Culture.’ Santa Barbara, Calif.

Shelton.B (1999) ‘Learning From the Japanese City: West Meets East in Urban Design.’ London: New York. Taylor and Routledge.

Assignment 4, reviews.

Here is what is hopefully a good review of the sources I was reading. I would have liked to have put some images into the text, however the source 'Learning from the Japanese City:West Meets East in Urban Design' is no longer available on the netlibrary, i have to have an 'Athens' password and user name :(. . .thankfully this happened after I had read and looked through all of it! Except the images I would have liked to put in, everything else is there:

I have researched into Subway Design, learning about the need to improve the general atmosphere and congestion problems of train stations, also investigating into rail stations links to crime. This led me to take an interest in other cultures, delving into learning about ‘The Japanese City’ and how the Japanese way of life could give the Western world some inspiration on seeing design in a different way.

The first Journal of relevant information I came across was ‘The International Journal of Transport Management 1 (2003) 121-132: Managing Crime and Fear of Crime at railway stations - a case studying South Wales (UK)’ which brings forward evidence that the general public’s perception of personal crime in the station and in the vicinity of railway stations are much higher than statistics show, discouraging them for using trains.
The article also analyses and discusses railway safety and accessibility, surveying a select number of the public’s ‘Cartography of fear and Crime’ (Cozens, 2003:128). Introducing a new solution using Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) was tested using a VR (Virtual Reality Interaction) which provides a walk-through ‘panoramic’ view of the station. Six different stimulus stations were shown to each person being surveyed. A constructed questionnaire then completed by the candidates; results were then used in finding needs for improvisations of the railway stations.

Having also looked into other subway systems such as the NYC Subway, one of the busiest undergrounds in the world (4.5 million passengers a day ‘’) my attention then turned to the Tokyo Subway which takes around 7.2 million passengers to their destination everyday. Whilst researching on the internet for pictures, videos, something to give me a good impression of what a Japanese train station looked liked and how it worked, I discovered that their subways are a carefully fabricated system. Images showed a clean, environmentally friendly, organised form of transport.

If the Japanese population can have a safer subway system, surely the Western world can learn/borrow from their continuously modernising culture? Which led me onto my next source: ‘Learning from the Japanese City: West Meets East in Urban Design’ Shelton B.1999. In this source the author sets the question: ‘Why do Japanese cities look the way they do?’ Shelton gives the reader a sense of the Japanese city in comparison to Western Design culture through his own research and own experiences.
The main information in Source 1 is the study findings. The graph shown in the article is backed up by the people’s surveyed answers: “I wouldn’t like to walk down there, if I was on my own, especially after dark.” (Female Respondent 3, (F3) Station Family Group 3 (SF3). Can the station be improved by using CPTED and VR to provide a safer, cleaner and more accessible public transport?
In my research I also came across a journal of ‘Research in Crime and Delinquency’ Giblin Matthew.J. (2008) which examined Personal Security and Avoidance Measures, using a similar survey to Source 1, to show their findings. Studies show that depending on age, race, sex and marital status, those within the general public are more likely or less likely to avoid a certain area of a city.

As it is similar to the case study in source 1, if the CPTED can give as much information to the public as possible, collecting an honest view of what should be improved to make rail stations better, and make rail users safer and feel much safer would be incredibly useful. A huge improvement.

“Although times are changing, Japan is still a remarkably honest country and if you lose something on a train or in a station, there is a very good chance that someone will turn it into the lost and found.” A country well known for it’s etiquette, honesty and a low crime rate (about half as many crimes committed compared to the U.S. figure) -M.O.F.A. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) the author of Source 2, Shelton, explains that as a country Japan look at Design in a completely different way for the West, including the way cities are built. In the 1950-60s visitors admired Osaka for ex. it’s ‘extensive grids of streets and Spaciousness (Shelton;1999) However Westerners did not entirely appreciate or were so impressed Japan’s Urban Culture, to most it was found to be grey, drab and featureless (Morse:1972, 1-6). Throughout history, Shelton goes onto explain; that most Japanese streets and houses are thought out in an equal manor, persons within an affluent area would build a house around or in a grand garden rather than being based on grand features for example, which is what Westerners are general more used to seeing.

Shelton believes that as much as Western architecture is influenced by other cultures, it also has a long standing hierarchal history, which we need to move away from. Where as the Japanese live by the ‘content’. This is possibly the best secondary source I found in the text to explain Shelton’s context further:
“The Japanese language and culture have certain flexibility in them. In the field of philosophy it is believed, in European languages and thought that at the centre of things reside God. . . So there exists such a centre at some point, by which everything is controlled. In other words the whole can be universal. . . A place (in Japan) is originally designed as an empty place into which anything may be brought. The way of interrogation is not that the centre holds everything together, but rather only that there exists co-ordination at some point but with nothing inside it.” (Nakamura:1984, Process Architecture, 49, 62-63).

Looking back on Source 1, the survey includes 6 chosen railway stations picked within areas of a different status, deprived, affluent, etc. Europe it seems goes from one extreme to the other, whilst a Japanese City is mostly middle ground. I would agree with Source 2 in saying that the Western world’s cities and towns are based around religion; most cities around the U.K. for example, are cities because they have a cathedral. Houses in these areas near the centre are bigger, grander, as you move further away from the area to the edges of the city, houses are smaller, plainer, and in deprived areas.

Why do immediate access entrances to subways in this country tend to be in a ‘deprived’ area? I don’t think the answer would be to move the entrance, but perhaps illuminate the area. The findings show in Source 1, that the main suggestions for improvisation after viewing the CPTED were; much better lighting for stations at night. Despite the VRs being show were shot in the daytime, more and more people picked up on and suggested better lighting. Including these were more CCTV, working staff and a cleaner station.

Source 1’s main assumption seems to be that the public’s ‘fear’ will be gone after installing more lights. Railway stations are quite ominous at night from my own experience, more CCTV, cleaning and staffing would improve customer safety: “Cleaning up the stations automatically makes it feel a safer place” (M3, SF4). “If you take away those bushes and trees you could be seen by motorists” (F2, SF6) “People feel safer on a station that other people can see (F2, SF3)

In comparison with Source 1, Source 2’s main assumptions are that living in the Western world where cities are built by context, is a bad thing. . I agree that accounting for every street, building and house in a city is an important subject; however Europe should be proud of their amazing historical architecture.
Buildings in Europe have great stories behind them; Western culture I believe is rich and interesting. Japanese buildings do not have this same history but a completely different interest.
A key secondary source in Source 2 in this text is images by Hiroshige, Nihonbashi and Edobashi. They are examples of the Japanese focus of one fragment of an object looked at closely, for the expense of the whole thing. ‘Incompleteness is the natural order”. (Shelton .B 1999:175).

After reading and thoroughly taking in the information of these two sources I do think that more attention should be paid to deprived areas in the U.K, housing as well as railway stations. I feel that the author of Source 2 is a little biased in his opinions, almost saying that the East and better than the West; having said that, this statement I may agree with: “Now it may be the cities turn and I am one of a small but growing band of designers and planners who are setting their sights in an Easterly direction.’ (Shelton.B:1999, 189). This is one of the author’s main conclusions in the article; Shelton also insists that the Japanese cities buildings are more ready to be built on in/for the future than the West’s.
I am not in complete agreement with Shelton, I believe that borrowing or perhaps ‘stealing’ ideas from another culture, particularly the Japanese could however be very successful.

A safer subway made me also think about crime and vandalism within these areas, I think that if we made for instance graffiti art a trend, it could catch on even more-so than it has done already. “Featuring artwork from more than 20 cities around the world, this book chronicles the evolution and development of the art form from it’s beginnings on subway cars to it’s acceptance into art galleries.” Why not use what we recognise as vandalism to our advantage and make a street-art form part of our culture? This would make subways more interesting and individual at least.

Both of these sources have given me relevant information on improving through designing, surveying, and the author’s self-experiences.
Source 1’s survey and case study led to a “£2.5 million grant” from the Welsh Assembly to improve the stations, notably ‘The Wales and Borders Trains (2003). This shows a success in their use of CPTED. Evidence of past usage of the same format comes from ‘The Parliamentary Travel Safe Committee in Brisbane Australia’ providing a ‘variety of potential solutions designed to reduce recorded crime rates in the railway environment’. I think CPTED could be used more frequently in the present, the future and for other uses such as bus stations, airports, etc.

Source 2 demonstrates a new way of seeing and thinking about the design of a city. Although slightly biased, I see the importance of looking at the bigger picture; looking beyond a building, a bridge: looking at a whole area/space and analysing it.
Shelton demonstrates the contrasts in Eastern and Western Culture by comparing two children’s magazines: Fig 2.9 ‘A Japanese children’s magazine cover a collage of large and small things which enjoy some kind of visual equality over the whole surface of the page’ (Tanoshii Yochien, Issue 10, 1995) Fig. 2.10 is a cover of a children’s English language magazine Thomas the Tank Engine. ‘This cover shows an altogether simpler more heriarchial order.’
Our cultures differentiate us; we should be able to borrow from other cultures without stealing from them completely. This source (2) supports the idea that the Western world may need to move forward even more-so in design, to make a more secure, cleaner, friendlier place to be. Source 1 supports evidence that this is so in the design of public transport.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Fantastic Mr.Fox...

So I went along to the DCA, Fantastic Mr.Fox was on show I thought I might cringe at one of my favourite childhood stories...This is not what you expect. Well it wasn't for me at least, a favourite childhood book of mine, this Roald Dahl tale now turned into a quirky slightly Americanised (ok well quite a lot) kids film/animation...with more attitude than truth to the story. But it was Brilliant.
The stop-motion animation is great for a start, if a little bit creepy but I found that with all Dahl books to be honest, children love them even if their not just that wee bit scary. It was fast-paced and quick-witted, definitely had a good dose of both childish and slightly more grown up sense of humour. The non-cheesy witty remarks and quirkyness throughout this film saved it from being a pile of emotional mush...(which I cringe at in most 'U' films). I recommend this to anyone having never had read Roald Dahl before even just for the animated quality, or if you have read the book and want to be introduced to Wes Anderson's take on the story.
This probably isn't revelant to my blog at all, I'm not sure If reviewing films is a good use of my time, however; watching this has inspired me to go and research further into Quentin Blake drawings and sketches for my 2nd Jewellery project on wire as he uses a lot of line, and a fantastic sense of humour within his work..

The Vessel Exhibition

This is a little late, since we've already started Project 2:Line (looking at contemporary jewellers and then a specific artist combined with spontaneous sketches to make a wire neckpiece/brooch or combination of the two) But.. how good was the exhibtion night? I was so pleased to see how many people turned up, how good our vessels looked; all so different as well!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

A clean-living, up-to-date, squashed way of life

I love the subway. This may be sad, but it's true. Maybe it's because I'm orignially from a tiny place in the countryside where trains haven't quite reached yet. Moving from home, living in Glasgow myself for the first time before I came to Dundee brought much appreciation for the city and a kind of awe of :'this can take me...anywhere, yes!' Without having to wait two hours for a bus. The Clockwork Orange in Glasgow does do one circuit around the city (hence the name and it's orange) But one comes along every 20 minutes, and takes you to all the main parts of town within a max. of half an hour. People like to get where they want to go quick n' easy.

My poster consists of my thoughts around a more...friendly atmosphere on an underground. I've been looking at the Tokyo subways stations, searching into their systems a bit and compared to the Western world...Japan has it sorted. Apart from the squishing.
When I was getting a bit ahead of myself I decided to search into making the Subway experience more effecient, and how to avoid crowded times should you not need to be there. I came across the 'Metro Cuff' by Tiffany Burnette online, which is a simple matte metal bracelet (and now being sold for $25) with an etched map of the NYC subway. It's a simple solution if you're an everyday metro user to quickly check that you're enroute to your destination in the right direction. This is a Universal creation, any Underground map could be used on this bracelet.

With my spider diagram up there I came up with perhaps making a personalized train-time version of this, telling you the times of your trains, with little LED lights telling you whether one is on time, if it's pretty busy, if it's late and if it's full. Maybe useful for Business people running through the station who don't have time to look at the screens overhead etc. To upgrade this further why not have a device in the bracelet to replace your ticket? A small chip you scan and top up with money, then scan at a turnstile to let you through. Which would mean you really could dash for a train and not have to look at the display boards for 5 minutes.
As I thought about it more this is useful but doesn't quite solve the problem of the masses of peak-time train users being shoved into a box-like situation.

The Tokyo Subway (or Metro) seems like a sight to behold. The imaculate stations, scattered with Recycling bins and working (at all times) escalators to be confused with the likes of an underground airport, or even space station. Japanese way of life and culture in general IS a clean, organised, 'no need to pick up litter, there isn't any' and more respective of their living environment than the Western World to me. From only photographs online, these stations look safer, friendly and more organised than NYC Subways, no graffiti, no shady characters, not a single speck of dirt.. Is just more care and taking a leaf out of another cultures book the answer? Or is Western Culture just..too laid back to care? Our subway stations would be marvelled at if for example graffiti was an amazing artfrom at every station stop instead of just a 'tag' here and there, there's no need to copy the Tokyo way of life exactly. . but maybe we just see an underground a a dark and dingey place and always's underground it doesn't need to be taken care of? Or colourful, interesting, whilst being an organised fast track to the next place. .

The one fault I will pick up on with the shiny Japanese Metro is the massive amounts of piling people in and squashing them in (with the help of the station's guards). Having said this at least one million people pass through and use the enormous Japanese subway system everyday. There's bound to be some pile ups. This does happen on other undergrounds too around the world, but not quite to this extent. However the Japanese seem to be able to handle pressed up against each other like sardines in a can in a very calm and civilised manner, kind of like in this video:
Not quite as perfect as I'd first thought.
This has become a normal way to travel, is putting on more trains the answer? It's probably not that simple, but it might be a start.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Brainstorming 'The Power Of Context'

A collection of people from our class in different seminar groups brainstormed 'The Power Of Context' which was basically anything and everything linking crime and how to prevent and improve on different areas such as CCTV, the effect graffiti has on street crime etc. Posting anything we could think of we came up with different areas to research into such as Alarms, 'Wall in a Can' (an inventive way to incourage graffiti as an art form rather than as vanadlism) Hidden Cameras. I have decided to research into 'Atmosphere' in certain areas in cities such as undergrounds, bridges, bypasses, crime rates are high because of the general atmosphere 'The Broken Window Theory of vanadlising certain areas discourages the public from going into Subways without having some kind of feeling of 'this is a dangerzone'. I'm going to look into atmosphere to investigate if cities perhaps in Scotland, maybe have a look at New York Subways to see if they have generally been improved at all and how to do so to make this a safer transport for the general public.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The pods are here....

These are my coral based pod-forms so far :) A lot of fly-pressing, sawpiercing, soldering, sanding and filing has been done. . . and I'm pretty pleased with them. Next stage is to make a base, which I plan to make from acrylic and drill holes into it for the pods to be able to sit upright. I'm also going to fly press some rings of different metals to sit around the holes for added interest...I can't wait to polish these up and make them look nice n'shiny! They're looking, but still a bit battered at the mo. Hopefully this will all get done by next week in time...heh...

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Design for a better....coral reef

The designing of Vessels are beginning to take shap this week, I've made two (on the third so far) little pod-type things based on coral forms, planning to make two more....and then a base for them to sit in. This may take some time..anyway!
For just general research in the summer I found some really interesting sculptures by a sculptor called Jason Taylor which I LOVE because they are underwater, for a start. . .
These sculptures have been placed beside a coral reef in Grenada, the West Indies; there is a collection so is now a 'Sculpture Park', not only are these an interest for divers and a depiction of Grenadian people and their history but it also protects the coral reef.
The coral has begun to grow onto the sculptures themselves providing new ground for them, divers/explorers are more reluctant to go too near the reefs because of the art work there; the reef has protection. I think the idea behind this is brilliant, I love environmental design and I think there is much more exploring to be done within this subject. I'd like to do some sculptures with only natural objects and blog them up...stay tuned.

"The aim of the Sculpture Park is to create a unique space which highlights environmental processes and celebrates local culture. By creating an artificial reef of sculptures which depict Grenadian peoples and their history, the project fulfils its dual purpose of protecting the marine environment and illustrating the richness of Grenada" Jason Taylor

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Law Of The Few..

Here is my detailed mind map of the chapter 'Law Of The Few'. I will probably now forever be spotting Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen everywhere I go . . :) Which is probably a good thing since Jewellery Design = finding other Jewellers to chat to/get inspiration from. Networking, observing other people's work; I need some kind of social/networking group in my life I feel, haha. This blog may come in useful. .
After studying this chapter I believe that the main reason that makes a Connector what they are, is confidence. A great thirst for socialising, a love for people, a huge amount of energy and confidence. I've never understood the few people who seem to have an endless supply of this. How do they do it, do they say to themselves everyday YOU ARE CONFIDENT, go and meet at least 10 people you don't know, get chatting to them and make a new circle of aquiantances/friends? Although Roger Horchow in the book is discribed as a natural collector of names and just enjoys getting to know everyone, literally everyone and collects their information like stamps. So...not quite normal social behaviour, and maybe not confidence in this case but just a natural skill for talking to people.
I know maybe two definite Connectors quite well, and I've got to say, they're confident....friendly...loud...full of energy.... *trails off* :)

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Tipping Point and Mind Maps

Here is the first of the Mind Maps I've made covering all of 'The Tipping Point' which I did struggle to get through in large chunks, so broke them down a bit which is odd because I normally read pretty quickly, I had to get used to it. This book needs severe concentration, however I really enjoyed and understood the book a lot better for doing this mind map! It really works for me.
Despite having to power through it I found the Tipping Point really interesting, as it's a kind of universal look on the world's behaviour I've never read anything like it before.
The Law of The Few was particularly interesting, I definitely know at least one Connector, Maven and Salesmen without even trying which makes the book relative to just about everyone I think!
Learning about the Stickyness Factor taught me that children are even more sponge-like than I thought. I knew that learning a language when you're young comes easily and quickly but I didn't know that kids learned literacy and numbers whilst doing several different things at once, half listening and playing with toys is just as good if not better than sitting watching apparently!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Just a thought . .

One final comment on last weeks lecture, Visual Commuincation; signs and logos we're all familiar with and used to.. "Today I was shopping in M&S, I pushed a door that says pull and it still opened; I've beaten the system." A recent musing from Jack Dee.

Tomorrow I might just post something a little more bit more intelligent than this, but that'll do for now!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Today's lecture

I've now been trying to think of Design as the 'cake' rather than the icing now for the past week when working on this project...the process, trial and error, is important! I like thinking of it this way instead of trying to think and rush ahead to a final piece.
The Design Studies lectures I feel are completely different from our first year lectures, because they're involving us a lot more instead of just sitting and listening; it's engaging, I'm listening more and taking more information in.
When the lecturer was asking us "What does red mean to you?" I did instantly think, well it's a colour..then started thinking what it represented such as the emotion 'anger', the warning 'danger' etc It is just a colour, but the question to get those answers which people gave would probably be what does the colour red symbolize. Because really it doesn't mean anything. However this made me question if I used the colour red to do a design for jewellery would that affect the wearer's thoughts of it, the general feeling of it? Would this be the same for any other colour?
I also like that our association with things that we are comfortable with were questioned e.g. when Mozart was played it made me feel relaxed, I knew what was coming next..if I had heard the Lament for Hiroshima and been told the title before hand, I may not have cringed quite as much as I did because I've heard A-Tonal music before and if i knew the reason or meaning, I may have listened more and not just thought, what is this load of noise?!
I really want to look more at branding and advertising, and find out the ways which subtle hints in advertising can completely convince a person into buying something, or using that company.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Vessels. .

Sooo for my first project in Jewellery we've to design a vessel; mine is going to be based on organic forms and textures. Have been looking at some plant shapes, done some observation drawing outside and got a lot of inspiration from pieces by David Huang, his vessels are 'Relic' type works made from copper, silver, gold.
This particular vessel has a completely different textured inner and exterior from all his others which are smoother and kind of swirling patterns rather than squashed circle shapes and oblongs but I looove the pattern on this one. Shading in circles instead of markings is a thing of mine so i've been using this pattern a lot for texture and interest.
Going to start thinking about the form of my vessel soon so I'll be look at more plants and underwater plants/coral I think for many different twisty shapes and jaggy textures.