When choosing which class to take for field option 2, and what could be further away from a print loving, textiles student than designing and making a functioning chair?!
Initially I found it really difficult to start the design process, it was a lot to take on and the person I was to design for had very particular interests, so using the questionnaire that was filled out I highlighted which I though could be best used in design of the chair. I decided to go with a cycling theme as I felt that has the broadest range for design ideas. So the next step was to create a collection of rough designs including primary and secondary materials, as long as the wood supplied was included somewhere within the chair the secondary material could be anything I wanted.
After toying with design concepts and figuring what materials would be available to me a narrowed it down to 3 ideas, 2 of these using a bike frame which would have to be welded and bent, which at first didn’t seem a problem bit when I considered all the processes I would need to go through, having no experience in the workshops, let alone finding suitable frames for my design as a very cheap cost, I decided to go with my 3 design and simplify it, meaning the material I had to find would be relatively easy and the make process wouldn’t be too far out of my league.
In the workshops I found it difficult as I had no experience and I found it was undermanaged for the amount of us in there, but regardless I made the most of the workshop time and got to work. Using the measurements of my design I cut the wood I needed on the CNC machine in the Fablab, this was great fun and really interesting to see! I came across a few minor setbacks whilst constructing the chair, such as gluing and drilling connecting wood in the wrong place but nothing that couldn’t be corrected. After completely constructing the base I faced the challenge of securing the innertubes as the seat, which was tricky as it needed to hold weight and also follow the minimalist theme, not having nails and glue showing!
In conclusion I am very pleased with the outcome, I lost time at the start of the project but managed to catch up, any problems I faced through the design and construction of the chair were overcome without a great deal of help and I am very proud of myself. The only time I lost hope was right at the very end, after making the finishing touches to my chair before taking it to be displayed, I dropped a tin of black paint on it! Covering the one side and potentially ruining my hard work, but with the help of my fellow students I managed to dry and sand the unwanted paint off, leaving it almost unnoticeable! That aside, i thoroughly enjoyed the project and gained many new skills and experiences!
I got my persona questionnaire filled out this week, a little later than expected but now that i have it i can start to work on some ideas! Without trying to sound awful, i was disappointed when i got my persona, its somebody i have been tutored by in the past and i found it difficult to bond with him, not that i think he’s unpleasant in any way, just didn’t manage to build any rapport. So this left me slightly negative as i was hoping to design my chair around a theme that i also was interested in, and at this time i was just feeling really blank as far as design was concerned. there is not enough time to be negative though, so to help me narrow down ideas i highlighted the most interesting and flexible answers from the questionnaire, I was left with his favourite colour, green-grey, Volkswagen, bikes/cycling and indian food… my mind was doing over time, mentally designing green-grey bikes made out of Volkswagen parts covered in indian food, this would just not work.
After a chat with Richard he advised me to keep my design simple and minimalist as the persona was very much a minimalist person, which left me even more stuck for ideas! After a long battle with myself over the weekend i decided to go for a chair themed around cycling, I cycle regularly myself and it seemed to crop up regularly on the questionnaire. I got to researching chairs made out of bike parts and once i’d done some research on sites like pinterest the ideas started flowing.
while drawing up some ideas, i toyed with using frames, wheels, chains, cranks and any other bike part you can think of, but this still wasn’t simplistic and certainly wasn’t within my reach as far as having the skills to manipulate these parts. for example, many of my ideas used a frame and forks as the primary material, which looked fantastic on paper, but when i thought about the construction i would need to weld, bend, cut, all the things i didn’t know how to do, and to learn would be very time-consuming on such a tight schedule. I wanted to use as little wood as possible, but this just wasn’t working for me!
I settled for a simple stool frame, made out of wood, using inner tubes to stretch over through and over the frame to create (hopefully) a strong and comfortable seat.
So as part of my field module I chose to do some work experience, where I am expected to arrange my own exprience and clock up a total of 20 days work with companies or designers of my choice.
I decided that I would try and get two placements so that I could get as much out of this as possible. My first choice was to apply for a skateboard company called Lovenskate, I have a friend who is sponsored by them and I keep up to date with them through networks like facebook and instagram. The reason I wanted to work for Lovenskate is because its a small operation and they hand print everything. After a few short email’s I secured my placement with them! Another plus is that their studio is in London, so I get to go and stay with friends and live the dream!
After a 4 hour bus journey I land in London, its a big and scary place is that London but I survived it. I stayed in Greenwich and worked in Tottenham, which meant I had a near 2 hour journey every morning, consisting of Londons DLR, the underground and train. I’d be lying if I said this journey didnt make me cry at least once during my stay… It was just too early to deal with the human traffic, thousands of people, all underground and they just run at you! I got used to this very quickly thouh and soon blended right in.
On arrival at Lovenskate I was introduced to the gang and shown the ropes by Lovenskate founder, Stu. What a wonderful human, so passionate and creative, he is most certainly living the dream, his job consists mainly of two things, printing and skateboarding, his two favorite things!
The print studio was small but adequate with everything needed to print radness all day long. Two other skate companies, Witchcraft skateboards and The Palamino skatestore worked from the studio, so it was close knit and alot of fun.
With Stu running the game, Lilli helping him and James as full time printer I got straight to work! During my first week I generally helped out with all jobs, counting stock, cleaning, preparing and exposing screens, boxing orders, and listened to awesome music all day. I absolutely loved it!
During this term we were put into groups with students from all subjects within the art and design school, and asked to create something linking to Migration.
Admittedly i was lazy to start with and nothing seemed to grip me, but as out ideas progressed it became more exciting. As i mentioned in a previous post I have been looking at Keri Smith’s ‘How to be an explorer of the world’, her work influenced our final idea greatly. we wanted to create something in which you could document how you might migrate through your day, wherever you may be. We decided to create instructions or tasks for the reader to complete, with page to record or document the results. we had to think of 5 instructions each, I tried to think of things i would like to do as i start my day, but never actually do.
As a textile student it was up to me to design the cover. after researching similar travelers documentations i decided to go with something eye catching and mysterious. So i made a patchwork cover with scraps of fabrics from around the house, and left the book untitled. My idea is that someone will see this book, patchwork cover, no title and ponder what the book could be about, then as curiosity works its magic, the book will be investigated and loved!
I was really pleased with the result and am really hoping that i get to keep the book, we only produced one and there are 5 in our group…
Here is the final product (apologies if the pictures are unclear) HANDS UP IF YOU WANT TO COMPLETE THE TASKS!