Saturday, 4 December 2010

Boken Pieces Brooch

Here are some pictures of the brooch I made for my latest project. This was a project where we had to research a jeweller, in my case it was Zoe Arnold. Zoe makes almost wearable mini sculpture with a surreal twist. She also makes automata. We had to then make a piece of jewellery inspired by the jeweller we researched without copying them.

Zoe writes poetry which she gets inspiration from for the pieces she makes. So I took this idea and tried my hand at a bit of poetry and then based this brooch on the poem I wrote. I also incorporated moving parts into this brooch seeing as Zoe also makes automata.

Monday, 29 November 2010

2nd summary

So here it is finally! My 2nd 500word summary for my dissertation proposal.

Summary of the book Being wrong by Kathryn Schulz

In her book ‘Being Wrong’ Kathyrn Schulz examines how we as human beings in our everyday lives perceive and react to things. She poses the question what if everything you thought about being wrong is wrong? Taking this different approach looking closely at human error and how being wrong is part of everyday life. Using a combination of philosophy, history and neurology to illustrate this. She explores attitudes towards making a mistake and why when confronted with being wrong we nearly always insist we are right. Giving you a very different perspective on what it means or should mean to being in the wrong.
Schulz looks at many different aspects of being wrong that are often not realised. Also why as human beings human error is inevitable and is fundamental to our development. She examines not only the attitudes of today’s society but also throughout history on why making a mistake is so frowned upon and in most people’s eyes makes you a lesser person.
She examines the notion of how what we see is not always right. Instead almost an optical illusion. Tricking the brain into seeing something else. Schulz makes reference to examples in history to illustrate this. One in particular is that of the Scottish explorer John Ross who whilst sailing through Arctic waters he saw a mountain range. His fellow explorers following behind him in a separate boat did not see these mountains at all. When they went back a second time his fellow explorers did indeed see the mountain range Ross spoke about and sailed straight through it. In other words the mountains were in fact a mirage and not actually there. Another example is through the quizzes she uses. Asking you a question about what you see in the following pictures or diagrams. Then offering three different possible answers. These quizzes appear at first glance pretty easy and straightforward, almost childlike. However when you get to the end and see your answers, which are all wrong, you realise things really are not what they seem.
Throughout this book Schulz uses a wide variety of primary and secondary sources such as interviews, both formal and informal, radio broadcasts, news items, websites, journal articles, conversations and books
This is an intriguing book which offers a fascinating insight into the meaning of being wrong. Schulz offers you a different take on how and what it means to make a mistake. Making you wonder if being wrong is really being wrong? And why should we have such negative attitudes towards it. She concludes that instead of seeing this as a negative thing we should really see it in an optimistic way. Giving examples of how her neighbour insists that he’s smoked his last cigarette and how a friend of hers during a four week holiday decided to read one of the longest and hardest works of literature ever written.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dissertation Ideas

So it's hard to believe but we are already having to come up with ideas of what we might base our dissertations on. I've been really struggling with this over the last couple of weeks. Mainly because I really want to make sure that I base it on something I am interested in and also I wanted to link it into my studio practice.

After doing a narrative jewellery project recently, which I based on perception, I thought that it might be a good thing to look into perception further. In other words how people perceive and react to things. After all no two people are the same.

Finally I had a starting point!

Off I went to the library to find some books on Ethnography and Anthropology. The books I did find at first glance seemed to be what I was looking for but once I started reading them I found them a bit too clinical which kinda lead me back to square one. So once again I was racking my brains for ideas and I kept coming back to the same thing. I like making narrative jewellery and the books that I had borrowed from the library kept going on about the narrative of life which lead me to think that I should run with the narrative jewellery theme for my dissertation. Something along the lines of Narrative, the jewellery interpretation. This would allow me to Look into the difference between jewellery which is either purely decorative, or functional or both. And jewellery which allows personal interaction by the wearer through interpreting a possible story, captured moment or emotion. Also this form of jewellery can very much be observed as purely a piece of art with a life of its own.

We had to find two key texts relating to our dissertation topic and write a short 500word summary for both.I've been trying to find books,journals etc on this subject. So far I have found quite a lot of information online but not so much in the way of books. However I will keep looking. So I am a little behind but it's not for the want of trying. Plus I'm still recovering from glandular fever which is not helping me one bit:(

I did come across Jack Cunningham's PHD Dissertation online which is based on Narrative jewellery. I found it quite interesting so I have written a summary on that. I also have found a book by Kathryn Schulz called Being Wrong. Which is all about how people perceive things. However I only got this book yesterday so I haven't started reading it yet let alone writing a 500word summary on it but hopefully I will get this done soon.

I've also recently discovered the world of Automata and kinetic sculptures due to a research project I am currently doing. I'd like to incorporate this also somehow into my dissertation but am not sure how to as yet. Will have to talk to my dissertation supervisor about this on Tuesday.

Anyway enough of my ramblings. Below is a copy of the summary I wrote on Jack Cunningham's PHD dissertation.

Summary of Jack Cuningham’s PHD Dissertation on Contemporary Narrative Jewellery

Through his PHD dissertation Jack Cunningham discusses the genre of Contemporary European Narrative Jewellery. How it is perceived, defined and ultimately worn. Looking carefully at the relationship between the maker, the person who wears it and the person or persons who observe it.

The key question raised in this PHD dissertation is how Contemporary European Narrative Jewellery is perceived and defined. Whether society and culture play a big part in this, if there are any recurring themes that stand out and how the different creative processes interact with each other

The most important information in this article is that Jack looks at a large variety of jewellers who specialise in Narrative jewellery making, paying close attention to their practise and what they are trying to achieve through their work. He also looks at where the first beginnings of narrative jewellery appeared and how it has evolved over the years through certain art movements such as Dada and Surrealism. He then goes on to discuss how jewellery, especially narrative with its symbolism, can be or is a statement to the world about personality or individuality. Jack also looks at the design processes from beginning to end examining their relationship and differences.

The key secondary resources used are various quotes from narrative jewellers, artists and gallery owners, cultural theorists and critics to back up his views and arguments. Most jewellers mentioned in this dissertation are supported by photographs of their work.

The key primary resources used in this dissertation is the setting up and curating of an exhibition called ‘Maker, Wearer, Viewer’, the largest European Narrative jewellery exhibition ever mounted, with addition of a symposium. European narrative jewellers were invited to exhibit their work and took part in a discussion and peer review. The purpose of this exhibition was to see if there were any similar underlying themes to European narrative jewellery and also to judge people’s reactions. In other words was what the initial idea the maker was trying to get across still relevant to the person wearing/ viewing it? Or had the meaning/ interpretation changed completely?

Jack also reflects on his own personal perspective of the design process from sketches and environment to finished piece and exhibiting.

The main conclusions that Jack comes to at the end of his research is that there were more questions raised than answered. Which in itself would lead Jack into another area of research on Narrative jewellery? Stating that there was no satisfactory way of defining this form of jewellery. However his research did indicate that social and cultural factors did indeed influence the creative process and that there is indeed a relationship between Maker, Wearer, Viewer whether this is realised or not.

The key concept/ concepts we need to understand in this article are firstly and foremost Narrative jewellery is hard to define. There is obviously more to this type of jewellery than meets the eye and there is a definite relationship between the maker, the person who wears the piece and the observer.

I found Jack’s PHD Dissertation to be very informative opening my eyes more to the world of narrative jewellery and its possibilities

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Seminar meeting

Lately it's been a little tricky trying to get our group rounded up for these meetings. Am beginning to wonder what the point to this is. Anyway yesterday a grand total of 2 of us turned up to discuss dissertation topics. To be honest I think both of us are still kinda confused as to what to base it on. I'm kinda hoping the dissertation workshop we're having tomorrow is going to clear this up and give me lots of ideas.
So far I'm kinda thinking along the lines of how people perceive things. This is mainly due to the narrative project I've just completed, which I based on how everyone's perception is different, and also the wikipedia entry I had to write on consumer culture. But who knows after tomorrow I may have changed my mind again. I guess I'll just have to wait and see :)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Narrative Project

Here's a few pictures of the piece I made for my 1st project in 3rd year. Really enjoyed this project. We had to design and make a narrative brooch or a scene. I chose to make a brooch and based it on how everyone perceives things differently.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Design Futures & Professional Practice Assignment 1 Wiki Entry

Here's a copy of the wiki entry I wrote on Consumer Culture and Design.

What is consumer culture?

Consumer culture is the term used to characterise a society/ culture that defines itself by the products/ goods they buy/consume. Through television, media, advertising, brand loyalty, celebrity endorsements etc, consumers are seduced by clever marketing ploys to make them think they need or want a product even if this is not really the case.

Consumer culture is all around us whether we realise it or not. It is a global phenomenon. However it is more wide spread in western societies possibly due to the fact that it originated in the west. For many people it is a way of life and part of their identity without them even knowing it. Every day as consumers we are bombarded with images and messages all trying to convince us we need a certain product, that our lives would be so much better if we bought it. You only have to turn on the TV, open a magazine or newspaper and you’ll find such evidence of this. According to (Slater, D, 1997) consumer culture is ever growing and regenerating, thus continuously grabbing the attention of would be consumers.

Brief history of Consumer Culture

There are conflicting opinions as to when consumer culture first began. Some historians believe its beginnings were in the 18th century. Around this time people were starting to take more notice of style. A marked rise in this followed which in turn saw a rise in textile manufacturing and technologies to feed these business opportunities for money and style always go hand in hand.

Other historians believe it to have originated in France in the late 19th century. During this period French retailers started using marketing and advertising to boost their sales which in turn is believed to have been the first beginnings of the department store.

However it wasn’t until the years after the second world war that consumer culture was really underway in a big way. According to (Miles, S, 1998) this is when mass marketing began. It saw the rise in people’s wages which meant more disposable income which allowed people to think about indulging themselves in ways they could not have imagined before and in no time so they were into serious consuming. Miles also refers to Henry Ford and the term ‘Fordism’. This was the name given to the late Henry Ford’s philosophy on the mass-production system that he pioneered. He believed the key to success in business was mass production, which kept costs down, and because the costs of the manufacturing were less then wages were higher which as already mentioned allowed for more expendable income and more personal indulgence and more consuming.

Psychologist Dr Edward Bernays, nephew of Dr Sigmund Freud is considered to be one of the originators of the consumer culture we know today. He was a master at public relations. Bernays himself (Bernays, E, 1928) believed it was possible to control people’s ways of thinking and perception, to a certain degree, in order to make them consume more without them even realising it. Stating that propaganda in recent years proves this theory. He called this method of manipulation ‘Engineering of consent’ . Bernays also believed that this was an important part of a democratic society and by controlling the way people think he believed that society in general would run more smoothly and without conflicts.

An example of Bernays’ ability to manipulate the masses was when in the 1920’s when the American tobacco company came to him for help in trying to persuade women into take up smoking. In the BBC documentary (The Century of the self, May 2002) You see how Bernays orchestrated a media frenzy by sending a group of women to the New York city parade instructing them to light up their cigarettes on his signal. He of course alerted the media stating that a group of women’s rights activists were planning a protest ‘Lighting torches of freedom’. The media were there to catch the story and it became front headline news thus practically eradicating the taboo subject of women smoking.

Today Bernays’ techniques are still going strong. Whether we like it or not we are constantly being manipulated by marketing and advertising. How many times have you seen an advert on the television or in a magazine and thought ‘hey I’d like that’ When in truth had you not seen the advert you wouldn’t even have thought about it let alone consider buying it. So maybe next time you find yourself in this position stop a second and ask yourself ‘Do I really need this? or is it more that someone else for less than altruistic reasons thinks I need this? Being aware of marketing strategies helps us to question and even to resist but humans being human many of us still manage to be persuaded as some marketing is very subtle and cleverly presented.

Relevance of consumer culture to design practice

Without design consumer culture simply would not exist. For consumer culture to work we need things like advertising and marketing and these process have to start somewhere and that is through a design process. All the imagery we see everyday, all the slogans good and bad and mediocre have all been planned and designed. Designed in such a way as to temp you as a consumer to buy a certain product. For instance advertising. Before you can sell a product you need to have a target market in mind, somewhere to punt it in a profitable way, then there is how the item is going to be packaged/branded (again bearing in mind the target market) and how that item is going to be portrayed to this market in order close the deal of persuading, to make as many people as possible want the item enough to actually buy. The use of imagery, layout, colour choice, typography etc are all important factors and again knowing the target’s preferences etc. is vital so here comes in the market research industry to provide the right information required. If this is not well collated then the promotion of a product may miss the target or fail to grab people’s attention and ultimately the product will not sell resulting in loss of the desired profit.

Imagery plays a major part in consumer culture as it helps people to identify with the product and instantly recognise it. A prime example of this is the Nike logo which is the result of very careful market research which is built on year on year. This company understand their market and apply all their design and promotional expertise to this and they are very good at it. As soon as people see the logo they know straight away what brand it is and accept what it implies.

A major player in consumer culture and design was industrial designer Raymond Loewy. He designed everything from postage stamps and cigarette packets to cars. According to the website (, 26th September 2010) some of Loewy’s most recognisable work was the coca cola bottle and the shell petrol logo which are instantly recognisable for many of us today. Through his designs Loewy managed to increase profits for many big businesses. An example of this was when the American tobacco company drafted him in to re-design the lucky stripe brand of cigarettes. Here was a designer who had a great feel for the market and as a result did he not only increased sales of this particular brand of cigarettes with the new packaging he also saved the company money as he changed the packaging form green to white therefore cutting out the cost of the green dye.

Imagery is so important and we as consumers may not realise it but when we see an object for the first time we make so many assumption about it in a split second. So it is important for designers to get this right and this only happens with market knowledge and understanding of possible mass reaction. The documentary (Objectified 2009) looks at this concept, how some of the world’s most influential designers come up with these ideas and how we as consumers react or interact with the objects around us. This documentary also looks at how designers are constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to keep us buying products and ultimately keeping consumer culture alive.

Of course we must also accept the importance of the resulting flow of money to steady growth in any developing society.


Bernays, E, 1928. Propaganda. New York: Horace Liverigh

BBC4, Curtis,A, 2002, The Century of the self, Documentary

Hustwit, G, 2009, Objectified, Documentary film

Miles, S, 1998. Consumerism as a way of life. London: Sage publications

Origin 68 T-shirt. Buy lots of things make life better you can have it all consume. May all your dreams come true but don’t forget Image available at

Raymond Loewy The father of industrial (online) available at

Schor Scribner, J.B. Born to buy. Image available at

Slater, D, 1997. Consumer Culture & Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press,

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Seminar meeting

This week my seminar group had another meeting. We discussed how we were getting on with our assignment and tried to give each other ideas regarding our topics. We all agreed that it would be a good idea to meet up before the assignment submission date and see how we all got on writing our wikipedia entries. That way if anyone has any queries or questions about the wiki entry we could hopefully give each other ideas.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Design Futures & Professional Practice Assignment 1

So third year has already started and I'm getting stuck into my new assignments. This years Design Studies or should I say Design Futures & Professional Practice, seeing as the name has changed, consists of working collaboratively with people from other disciplines within the art school. Could be interesting. Kinda nice to meet other people out with my discipline seeing as I was a direct entry student and don't know many people from other departments.

During our first lecture we were put into seminar groups of about 8. This year these groups seem to be self motivated unlike last year where we actually had a seminar teacher.

So for our first assignment we had to meet up as a group and all pick a different topic from the list given in the previous lecture. We have to then develop our chosen topic into a research report which will eventually be uploaded as a Wikipedia entry on the uni website.

The topic I have chosen is consumer culture and design. Mainly because I found the lecture we had on this pretty interesting. Also it ties up with my current jewellery project as I am looking at how different people perceive and react to things. I've included a photo of the mind map I made on this subject.

The other topics chosen within my group were Branding & design, Climate change & design, Crime & design, Social change & design. We then brain stormed each topic giving each other ideas which hopefully will come in useful when writing our reports.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Here are a few rings I made recently as part of my stone setting module. Using different methods of stone setting. Both rings are silver, one is set in a claw setting with a citrine and the other is set with an amethyst in a flush setting.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Design Studeis Assignment 5 Essays

During last semester’s design studies our assignments focused on secondary research methods whereas this semester focused on primary. For our final assignment for this semester we were asked to look back on what we learned in the 1st semester paying particular attention to the essay we wrote and applying the primary research skills we learned from this semester to see if there was anything that we could have done differently to improve on the research already carried out.

My essay last year was based on biometric systems and how they are used to combat i.d. fraud. I looked at both sides of the argument and read various journals and books on biometric systems and i.d. fraud.(Cohn L jul 2009, Jain A K, Pankanti S Sep 2008, Lyon D 2009, Wagner P Apr-June 99)

To be honest the more I read up on the subject the more I realised how serious a problem i.d fraud really is. Not that I wasn’t already aware that i.d. fraud is a major problem but I think it’s one of these things that you tend not to think about very often or maybe we deliberately try not to think about it, or possibly we never really think that it’ll ever happen to us. Whatever way you look at it, it is a serious problem that continues to grow and although technology is advancing at a rapid rate the people who are steeling people’s identities and committing i.d fraud only seem to be a step behind.

Whilst doing research for this essay I found some of the proposed biometric systems that could come into everyday life in the future quite scary and in my opinion somewhat an invasion of personal privacy. I know these systems are supposed to be in place to protect us but the thought of a database holding a massive amount of information on everyone is for me disconcerting and also poses the question who exactly and how would this database be regulated, who would do it, and very importantly who would be in control? This brings on the further question of who would have access to it, why would they have access and what would they do with the information once they had it?

Kind of makes you wonder what ever happened to anonymity?

It would be interesting to see what other people think about this, whether they have similar concerns over these particular biometric systems as I do or whether they think that they would be a good thing and why?

So by using the primary research methods I learnt this semester how would I improve on the research I did for last semester’s essay? Well, first of all I think I would go out and interview people after carefully considering the questions I might ask and how to put the questions as it would be pointless to appear subjective on the matter. The answers given would hopefully indicate their opinion on this subject without me steering them towards a reply. This may even allow me to discover whether or not they are actually aware of biometric systems, because not everyone will be. I’d also hope to hear what they think might improve this ever growing problem. I’d also ask them if they have experience of encountering biometric systems and if so does this happen on a regular basis, i.e. at work.

I think it would be really interesting to find out everyday peoples’ views on this. To see if they are actually aware of how major this problem is.

I suspect the results might be quite surprising.

It would also be a good idea to interview someone who either works with biometric systems or someone who works in some area of fraud prevention, although this might be tricky to organise as they may not be able or allowed to freely talk about their work. However if it was possibly to interview someone in this sector I would ask them questions that I raised from my previous research for example what is the future for biometric systems? Will they become more common place in our society? How or who would regulate them and how secure is the information they hold? Have they conducted their own research into how the general public feel about biometric systems? If so what kind of feedback did they receive?

I may also do an experiment like show people a list of various biometric systems and ask them which ones they think are already in use or which ones do they recognise or do they even recognise any of them. I think this would give me a better understanding of how aware people are of these technologies.

The observation skills we learned this semester would also be helpful in seeing how people react to using biometric systems. Again I think this might prove tricky to achieve as most biometric systems are used in places where you really need to be authorized to be there i.e airports, government offices or maybe science labs. So possibly a combination of the secondary research I did last semester, looking at various books and journals, and the interview methods I learnt this semester would on the whole provide a more productive outcome even although it is not primary in nature.

Out of the different research methods we explored this semester I definitely think that for this particular topic (biometric systems/i.d. fraud) interviewing people would be the best way of gaining more insight into how the general public feel about this topic and also what they know. It would require careful consideration before the interviews took place and careful handling during the interviews.

I may also conduct a poll (this would again necessitate very careful compilation and fairly large numbers to have a meaningful result) to see how many people have actually experienced i.d. fraud, whether it be stolen bank details, passports or national insurance numbers etc and ask them how they dealt with the situation. Was it rectified, was it rectified quickly, how, if at all it affected them on a personal level and what measures they take now to insure that it doesn’t happen again. I would also need to conduct this poll in a variety of different areas to see if there were any places where this problem is particularly prominent or even where there is little or no problem.

It would also allow me to see if there is any particular type of i.d. fraud that stands out more than the others and by asking a variety of different age groups this would allow me to see if there is a particular age group that is targeted more than others. I might also try and interview an equal amount of men and women just to see if more women than men or visa versa have experienced i.d. fraud in some shape or form.

Cohn, L (jul 2009), What you need to know about identity theft, Kiplinger’s personal finance, Business source premier Jain A K, Pankanti, S (Sep 2008)
Beyond Fingerprinting, Scientific American, Business Source PremierLyon D,(2009),
Identifying Citizens i.d cards as surveillance, Polity PressWagner, P (Apr-June 99) Technology for anonymity: Names by other nyms, Information society, Taylor and Francis

Studio Brief essay

For the second part of my design studies essay I was asked to choose a studio brief I tackled this year. Then by applying the primary and secondary research methods I learnt this year during my design studies module discuss how would I utilise these techniques during the research and design process if I was to do this brief again?

So far our studio briefs have been quite diverse. We started off with the vessel project where we had to design and make some kind of vessel for holding things. It could be absolutely anything and was left up to your interpretation as long as it was a vessel. I made a small copper teapot, or should I say treepot, based on the trunk of a tree with the feet of the teapot being the roots. The second brief was the wire project where we had to design and make an item of jewellery incorporating wire in an interesting way. For this project I designed and made two brooches taking design inspiration from Miro paintings as his paintings are full of bold shapes and more importantly are very linear.

The third studio brief was the catwalk project where we were asked to design and make a flamboyant colourful piece, based on a culture or period of time. It’s main reason for being was to be effective on a catwalk as a fashion statement. I decided to make a headpiece and based it on African culture. I chose African culture because of the bright colours they use and because they adorn their bodies in interesting ways. The project we are working on at the moment is stone setting. We had to design and make an item based around symbolism and incorporate an unusual and interesting stone setting into the design. Out of all the projects I’ve found this the most interesting, maybe because stone setting is an art form in itself and most times can be very tricky, requiring much care, taking a great amount of time and much patience.

To be honest I already apply secondary research skills to my briefs. If I take the stone setting brief for instance I started off researching in the library and then online looking at the different qualities of gemstones. I then went on to look at gemstone hardness, how they are formed, different types of cuts and settings. If I was to apply primary research at this stage I think I would have interviewed a stone setter to get more insight into the various different ways of setting stones. This would also have helped me to decide which stone setting or possibly stone would be most suited to my final design.

I then moved on to researching different symbolism through the ages and the ways gemstones and jewellery have been used. I focused my research on ring symbolism looking at various and different types of rings through the ages. This again involved using secondary research looking at a wide range of books and websites. I then moved on to looking more closely at wedding rings, paying particular attention to Jewish betrothal rings, how they came about, their role in ceremonies and how they have been used over the decades. Again I used secondary research at this stage in the form of a mind map to help generate ideas of what marriage might signify to the people involved. Possibly I could have also at this stage conducted interviews to see what marriage actually means to people.

The primary research methods could also have came into play after coming up with a few design ideas. By showing a number of people these ideas and asking them to choose the one which they find the most attractive or the most appropriate for this particular brief.

I think the primary and secondary research methods I learnt in design studies this year would actually be more use when it comes to designing for the public rather than researching a brief. Here it would be imperative to use various primary and secondary research techniques.

For example if a client commissions me to make an item of jewellery I would start off by asking them what exactly they are looking for i.e is it a ring, a bracelet, pendant etc. Then I would asked them what they are in to with careful questioning to try and gain more insight into what design ideas I might come up with which might hit the spot and gain real approval.

Sometimes when designing for people it can be hard to get to the bottom of what they are really like just by asking them questions. Depending on the person people can sometimes seem almost like a closed book so I think this is where the observational skills come into play. For example I would observe their body language, dress sense and their reaction to certain questions I ask. All of these would help me gather a better picture of what they might really be looking for. I would also show them examples of my previous work and gauge their reactions to the pictures I show them. Paying particular attention to the items of jewellery that they find the most attractive and asking them what is it about these items that they like.

Personally I already think I use these techniques in my research process to help me with the design process although possibly before now I wasn’t completely aware that I was doing this. It had just sort of developed and I found it worked for me. So I think the one thing this semester has done for me is that it’s made me more aware of these techniques and how I use them within my discipline and I also feel a sense of pleasure that intuitively I was already sensing the need to do all this to achieve a satisfactory client outcome.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Stone Setting Project

Here are some pictures of my finished stone setting piece. It's based on the concept of Jewish Betrothal rings. Jewish Betrothal rings were mostly used for ceremonial purposes seeing as they were so large and impractical to wear and were kept by the family as a keepsake. They were mostly made to look like temples and had hidden compartments with good luck written in Hebrew on the inside. I added my own little twist to the betrothal ring making it into a little Dutch house. This is symbolic to me seeing as Holland was an important part of my life as I lived there for a few years.Inside the house is a detachable Heart pendant set with an amethyst.I wanted the outside of the house to look old and slightly worn and then when opened up here is this shinny heart inside, signifying new beginnings.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Design studies assignment 4

So for the 4th design studies assignment we had to practise our interviewing techniques. We were given a list of topics and asked to choose one of them to base our interviews on. I chose the topic 'How do magazines influence people╩╝s ideas of design and taste?' Below is a list of questions I asked random people.

What magazines do you read?

Do you read them occasionally or regularly?

Are you aware of the cost of the magazine/magazines you buy or do you buy them anyway?

What is it about this magazine/magazines that attracts you? Why do you choose this particular magazine/magazines? What features in this magazine/magazines do you pay most attention to and why?

Do you enjoy looking at the adverts in magazines? If so do you actually take note of what is being said? Do you ever think about it?

If a magazine has a feature on a particular item or outfit would this make you go out and buy that particular item or outfit?

Would you say your dress sense is influenced by what you see in magazines? Or are you influenced in some other way or do you prefer being more individual?

I tried to ask an equal number of women and men in order to make a comparison. The men I interviewed mostly read factual magazines such as the economist and new scientist where as the woman tended to go for gossip/fashion magazines.
What I thought was interesting was that the women said that they were aware of the cost of magazines but would buy them anyway so the cost really wasn't an issue. The men also said that they were aware of the cost but unlike the women they said that they would not buy a magazine if they thought they were too expensive.
Both the women and men I interviewed said that they didn't really pay attention to the adverts and mostly skipped them.
I was surprised however that the women I interviewed said that their style wasn't particularly influenced by the magazines they read. I thought it would have been the opposite way round. However they did say that they bought magazines for the fashion which leads me to believe that maybe they are more influenced by the fashions they see in magazines than they care to let on.
I think the results from these interviews definitely indicate that people tastes, both male and female, are influenced in some way by the magazines they read whether they realise it or not.

Monday, 8 March 2010


During our seminar we were asked to reflect on how we approached the Design Safari assignment and whether there was anything we would do different.
I found observing people in the mall was pretty limiting especially since most people were just walking by, we never really had a chance to observe people properly. Also the time we chose to do the experiment wasn't really all that great it would have been better later on in the day when the mall would have been busier.
If I was to do this experiment again I think I would choose to go to a train/bus station. I think maybe Glasgow Central would be a good place to go seeing as at most times it's a hive of activity with many different types of people passing through each day.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Design Safari

Our latest design studies assignment involved observing people. So we had to go to a public place and observe people going about their everyday business. In our cause we went to the Overgate shopping centre. So we grabbed a coffee and sat in a place we thought was a good spot for people watching. We'd just started to observe people when a girl in her mid twenties approached us and asked if we wouldn't mind answering some questions about what we would do if we won the lottery. Turns out she works for the local paper. Was kinda funny seeing as we were supposed to be observing people and we end up getting interviewed.

So whilst people watching we noticed at that particular time of day (around 11am) The majority of people were middle aged couples or young mothers with pushchairs.One in particular had a furry boot on one foot and a regular shoe on the other which we thought was a bit odd! Anyway most people didn't seem to be really shopping instead they seemed to be using the mall as a thoroughfare to where ever it was they had to get too. Kinda makes you wonder where exactly all these people are actually going. One thing we did notice though the people who were carrying shopping bags were mostly carrying a Debenhams or Primark bag. We figured that the reason for this was that Debenhams had a 25% off sale and well Primark is pretty cheap so people in the Overgate obviously like a bargin.

We also went to the Wellgate shopping centre to see if there was any difference in the type of people we observed at the Nethergate and there was. The Wellgate has a totally different atmosphere. First of all it's not as modern, most of the shops are bargin shops and the place has a 'stuck in the 80's' feel about it which kinda , without being to harsh, reflects on the type of people we observed there.

This assignment was quite interesting although to be honest when I'm out in a public place I tend to do a bit of people watching anyway. It can be quite entertaining at times.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Sun Ring Commission

Here's a photo of a commission I made recently. Ring is made from silver and gold and the stone is a Carnelian.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Design studies assignment 2

For our 2nd Design Studies assignment we were asked to select 3 random images and then ask a selection of people to look at them and come up with a story linking the photos.Above are the 3 photos I chose.

Here are a selection of some of the stories I collected.

Christopher Caraher, 36, Scottish Power engineer

There was a problem . a problem of monumental proportion
in this day and age information is passed between nations at the blink of an eye .
but with the amount of data being transferred in 0 and 1's sometimes you get a three.
this happened in Blackwood estate.
miss smith checked the weather forecast and was glad to see that sun was predicted for the day .
she got her things together and set to make for a shopping trip .
she called her best friend and patted her on the head . her pet dog Vader was her only company in that Old run down house deep in the estate .
She ushered Vader outside and told her " be a good girl and stay near the house" . the hound would wait in the front garden for her master to return .
it was a 7 mile walk into the village at the 5 mile mark there was a public house and with it being a hot day miss smith stopped for her little dram .
6 hours later miss smith blamed the company she had kept and stepped out side to find that the weather had changed and her poor Vader was out side her ramshackle house .
but the worst was to come .
the clouds parted for a moment to her shock there was a full moon . the next full moon was 3 weeks away . she checked online each and everyday.
she panicked and started to run for the safety of her ramshackle house and her best friend Vader .
this must mean the data had been changed .
who ? had done this ?

After doing this we then had to select another image and ask some people again to make up a story about the picture although this time hopefully they would all more or less come up with a similar story.

Ethyl Smith, Alternative therapist

Yesterday while Murphy my dog and I were walking in the wood we came across and tiny old house almost covered by branches. It must have been there for years and yet I'd never seen it before. There was one window with a metal cross piece and no glass and somehow I imagined it like some kind of prison and shivered. Maybe I felt like that because it was such a dark cloudy day and then suddenly the clouds parted and the sun came out and when I looked again the strange house had gone...vanished.

Robert Smith, retired mechanic

Unhappy dog sitting on leaves and the clouds above seem to indicate a storm coming but me and the dog have no intention of sheltering in this strange old building.

Vicky Montgomery, 30, Sales assistant/buyer

My name is Mittens, I am a spaniel. Yes, I know, Mittens is a cat name. But unfortunatley my owners don't care that the other dogs laugh at me. Not that I really know other dogs, because where I live is quite remote. Rural is what the owners call it, I don't like it, Its old and musty smelling, with alot of trees around, and bushes. The bushes scare me though because I can't see whats behind them. One time a smaller kind of animal jumped out at me and chased me, I think it was a squirrel. The owners thought it was cute, but I swear I saw its teeth! They were sharp very scary looking.....That night, when we were back home, I lay looking out of my window, it was quiet. I felt better, because there were no scary animals chasing me, or bad dogs laughing at me. Then I looked up and saw the most bright thing I had ever seen. It was a ball, a big bright and shiny ball. The best looking ball in the world. I stared at it until I fell asleep.

It was quite interesting seeing what people came up with. Some of them went into great detail over the photos and some not. However I was surprised that some of them came up with similar things, such as naming the dog, or commenting on the picture of the house calling it strange.

For the 2nd part of the experiment I had to choose another image but this time see if the people I asked came up with more or less the same story.
I chose an image of a man riding a bull. As predicted most of them came up with the same story. I think the image is pretty self explanatory.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Photo Shoot

Here are the photos I took today of my Catwalk piece in the photo studio.

Catwalk Piece

Well I finally finished my latest project at uni. We had to design and make a colourful piece for the Catwalk focusing on a specific period in time or culture. As you can see from the pictures I chose to make a headpiece and based it on african tribes. I used a mixture of materials such as copper, brass, felt and then wraped the entire piece in coloured wire.
Thought I was never going to finish it thanks to another bout of tonsillitis and then I to finish this piece whilst sporting a huge comedey bandage on my finger was not easy.
Doing a photo shoot today so I'll poost the photos of that up later.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Design Studies Assignment 1

For my first Design Studies assignment this semester we were asked to swap photos of either personal possession or of when we were growing up and then swap them with someone we don't really know. We then had to each in turn analyse these photos trying to figure out what kind of person they/you are and then find out wither we were right or not.
I have to say at first I was not too keen on the idea of some stranger analysing me. I think certain things should be kept private. However I did take part but I chose to submit photos of my possession rather than pictures of me and my family.
The person that I swapped my photos with did a pretty good job I thought. For example she brought up things like I tend to collect things of sentimental value and she also noticed that I like to make a space my own.
The photos that she gave me were of her as a little girl and then as a teenager.I did not do to badly either with her photos. I guessed correctly that she was an outdoorsy type of child, that she lived in the country. Although I thought a farm initially as in one of the photos there was a goat and in another there was lots of fields. However it turns out her parents just happened to have goats and that her cousin lived on a farm.
I also found it interesting that the photos she gave me were only of certain periods of time.i.e when she was a small child and then as a teenager which lead me to believe that these particular periods of time might have been her most happiest.This turned out to be be true.
Although doing this assignment was interesting it still hasn't changed my mind about keeping certain things private,maybe it's just an age thing.I've also kept certain findings from this assignment back as I didn't think they were appropriate to blog about,and to be honest I'm not sure what we are suppose to gain from doing this assignment. I guess if you look at it from a jewellery point of view we could put these techniques of analysing into place when a client commissions a piece of jewellery which would help with the design process.