Reflection

Urban Sea Bed 

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Unit X is a project given within a short time constraint, therefore my ability to cope under pressure was tested. I didn’t have much time to stop and wait for an outcome. Continuous testing had to be done simultaneously. If I put all my eggs in one basket during experimentation, I could have been left with a final piece that didn’t work. This fast paced project allowed me to be placed into a pressured work environment. Designers in the industry always work under time constraints. Working like this has taught me how to work effectively.

Collaboration is a large part of design, it is important to understand how other people work and to be considerate of other peoples design outlook. This project has allowed me to work with a new set of people giving me an insight on how other people can perceive a concept. My previous two projects were very individual, I enjoy working by my self as I feel I can really focus on what I am doing without constantly checking on other peoples opinions. However through this unit I have learnt that other peoples ideas can often benefit my work as it allows you to take a step back and look at it from a different angle.

This project has allowed me to explore Manchester, exposing me to its rich industrial history. It has pushed me to become more connected to the city. This connection has highlighted to me that it is important to physically explore a space, and take the time to be inspired by your surroundings. In past projects, I have relied on books and the internet to gain inspiration, although I always found some great artist it is time-consuming. With a project like Unit X the quickest way to become inspired is through your environment. I have learnt how valuable this physical exploration is

During this project, I have explored Manchester’s connection with water a very fluid and wild element. I had to make sure this very organic form complimented its environment. I found that my pots were a great way of introducing colour as well as playfulness to the ridged lines of the city. The pots allow greenery to come inside. With indoor plants being a very popular trend within interiors I thought it would be a great way to encourage people to support the growth of a green city. By physically buying the tree and seeing it grow the consumer can see their contribution to the green city. Taking away any disconnect achieved by just donating.

I am very happy with my final product; I feel that I have effectively produced a functional eco-friendly object that not only recognises the Atlantics support of the city but also encourages the growth of a greener cleaner city. Allowing me to stay true to my personal manifesto.

Word Count (480)

Lines of Enquiry/Investigation

I started investigating the shapes found within the sea in order to understand the organic patterns that can be produced by the sea’s movements. I explored painting and denting both wood and aluminium metal, as I feel they are materials that complement the city’s architecture.

The wood didn’t take to the denting as it splintered and broke, but once spray painted the wood did allow for speckling. However, I did find that it was too flat and the wood wasn’t portraying the roughness of the sea. I was able to chip and dent the aluminium which allowed for a more textured product. By scraping and over spraying on top of the textures some beautiful and unique shaped appeared.

I experimented with these flat materials as I wanted to create my very own tree protectors, that would symbolise the Atlantics continued support of the cities growth. I felt I was not able to depict the ocean to my full ability on a flat surface The tree protectors limited my designs as you can’t portray the sea through straight ridged lines.

Plant pots are where planted seedlings often start their lives, a place where they first start to grow until they are strong enough to be replanted somewhere else. Much like how the Atlantic supported the city.

I decided to layer salt in between spray paint as the bumpy texture reflects the shapes found in seafoam. The salt clumps look very similar to the bubbles in the sea. The salt also has great connections with the ocean.

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It was brought up in a tutorial that I was promoting the growth of a green city but using spray paint, this was counteractive. After being reminded that spray paint is detrimental to the earth’s atmosphere I can’t produce this product and call it green.

This led me to make a hard decision where practicality and morals are fighting against my design process. I came to the conclusion that if I am going to make a green and clean product, it has to be fully green throughout its whole process, or else I would not feel comfortable promoting a product that isn’t green.

When looking online at sustainable plant pots. I like the idea of the pot being directly planted into the soil. This means that when the seedling has grown and is strong enough, the owner can easily replant the tree. Making the transaction quick and simple.  This easy transaction will be appealing for buyers, as people enjoy simple ideas that make life easier in the long run.

This simple setup would mean that more trees will be planted as the flow and transaction are quick and easy. Encouraging more people to purchase a tree and replant it. Allowing Manchester to become a greener city more effectively.

I am designing my product to be used in shops and cafés. When the consumer purchases a ceramic wave the money will support the upkeep of the company and allow more seedlings to be planted. They then would adopt a seedling that would grow in the protected environment of their shop.

The Making

The pots are made out of biodegradable coconut husks and natural string. Coloured with natural store bought dyes and salt to create a bumpy rough texture.

I did experiment with homemade natural dyes but the weren’t strong enough, once saturated for a long time the pots would fall apart.

The Wave

I experimented with slipcasting and slab building. Becuase the shapes were so deep and delicate I ended up press moulding the casts in order to create them quickly and effectively.

Blog Posts From The Enquiry/Investigation Weeks.

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 8.1

Week 9

Week 10

Word Count (620)

Research

Manchester is known as the wettest city in the country, I have decided to home in on this stereotype and play on Manchester strong connection with water, despite it being landlocked. Manchester is situated next to the Pennines, this attracts large rain clouds that form from the humid air blown over from the Atlantic. The city is also connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a 36 mile long Ship Canal. Which during the industrial revolution was a key feature of the city, allowing it to trade with the rest of the world.

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Manchester has a very close connection with water, it flows through the culture of the city.  I feel that I could really build on this connection, and create something that symbolises Manchester and its connection to water.

To expand on my knowledge of the connection between Manchester and the Canals I visited The People’s History Museum where I learnt that Manchester was the centre of the Industrial Revolution. Slaves in America grew cheap cotton which was then imported to Britain across the Atlantic. It became apparent that the Atlantic Ocean was a strong component during the revolution supporting the city allowing to grow rapidly.

Because Manchester is very prone to rain I decided to explore how the damp climate affects the city. In the cooler areas, algae and mould grow up the side of the walls creating unique patterns that relate back to the shapes found in seafoam. In response to the algae, I produced some watercolour pieces that draw from the shapes and patterns I saw on the walls.  I like how the colours blend and mix togeather creating organic shapes. However, I feel the paintings are too one dimensional and in order to capture the movement and strengths of the sea, I will have to incorporate textures.

Whilst exploring Manchester I came across some tree protectors that cover some of the trees in the city. I was drawn to them as I enjoy how subtle they are, this allows them to easily fit in with the city’s architecture. I want to make sure my piece doesn’t take away from the city.

I was drawn to these pieces as I like how they protect the trees, supporting the nutrients and water cycle. Not only do these trees rely on rainfall, they also rely on protectors to stop graffiti and general wear and tear of such a busy city.

The trees have been planted by the Manchester City of Trees, an organisation that aims to make Manchester a greener and cleaner city. Helping it grow and become the best city it can be. I like how the organisation aims to improve and support Manchester. This idea took me back to when Manchester first developed into the great city that it is today during the industrial revolution.

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The shipping canal was a big step for the city connecting it to the rest of the world during the industrial revolution, helping it grow and develop. I feel becoming a green city is the next step for Manchester development.

The water cycle will contribute to the growth of the green city, allowing the Atlantic ocean to again help Manchester grow and improve. Only enhancing the connection Manchester has with the ocean, It always comes back to help the city.

Blog Posts From the Research Weeks

Week 4

Week 5 

Word Count (549)

Collaborative Exercises

Collaboration Throughout this project, I have collaborated with 3D design and Interior design students in various research visits and tasks.

A visit that kicked of the project was a guided tour of Ancoats, the hub of the industrial revolution. We learnt all about Manchester’s industrial past and how is has developed dramatically since the revolution. The joint tour with interiors allowed different questions to be raised that perhaps wouldn’t have been asked if it was just a tour with 3D students. This refreshing outlook on the area allowed me to understand how different designer and practices perceive a space.

Our collaboration with the interiors students started with introducing ourselves with an object that represents our practice as well as our personality. I chose to bring a piece of wood as it was the material I had been working with in my previous project. It represented my experimentation with this new structural material as I enjoy producing functional yet stylish pieces. The interior students brought in computer mice, rulers and graph paper, objects that allow them to design and plan. This provided a contrast between the specialties.

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We where then asked to produce a section of an illustrated map of Manchester that would later be joint together to make a map of the city. In order to grasp the identity of the area, we walked down each street and canal. We quickly realised that there were definite sections of the map where graffiti is more prominent. This inspired us to create a graffiti map, which highlights the areas of the city that the art is on display. We wanted the streets and buildings to be illustrated in monochrome, to highlight the graffiti and create contrast. We also made the graffiti 3D to portray the walls they had been drawn on.

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By working in a group, it allowed me to understand what other people notice and take from the city, it gave me a different perspective of where I live. When the final piece was brought together, it became apparent that everyone perceives and looks at Manchester in a different way, through its many identities. This has inspired me to explore more of Manchester’s culture and history.

I also participated in a group trip to the People’s History Museum, A former Edwardian pumping station, housing displays on local and national working-class life. Whist there I learnt about the effects of the industrial revolution, and why is was so successful in Manchester, a landlocked city. I also learnt about the Manchester canal, and how it was a large booster of the city’s economy. It allowed the city to be put on the world map as the biggest inland port. This lead me to look at Manchester’s connection with water, and how it has supported the growth and success of the city.

As a group, we discussed the importance of the revolution in Manchester’s success, each taking inspiration from different aspects. Some were more interested in the cotton industry looking at the positive as well as the detrimental effects it had on the city. It was interesting to hear what other people where taking inspiration from, and how everyone’s thoughts interlinked and connected with the joint starting point of the industrial revolution At the People’s History Museum, I was able to take a closer look at the canal that runs through the city.

I enjoy how it weaves its way through the architecture adding smooth lines to the linear groupings of buildings. Through talking to Hannah an interior student I learnt about the importance of being sensitive to a spaces history and architecture. The canal was a huge step for the city adding a new dimension to a very flat space, yet it was still very sensitive to the architecture.

Other Collaborative Exercises

Blog Posts From the Collaborative Weeks

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Word Count (647)

Week 10

Glazing

Redesigning the pots

I layered the coconut to create a stable and supportive pot. I also used natural string to help tie lose bits togeather.

Dying

I found that the material didn’t take to the lighter dyes when submerged for a short period of time. To create lighter blues within the pots I added salt, this allowed for a wider variety of colour as well as great textures that relate nicely to the movements of the sea.

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I like how the string looks like old tangled up ropes that are found by the sea.

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Week 9

Experimenting with materials for the plant pots.

I want to make sure all the materials used in the pot are eco-friendly and biodegradable therefore producing a sustainable product. I have experimented with coconut husks and natural glue; flour and water, to try and make stable pots strong enough to hold the plants.

With some of the pieces, I incorporated recycled carboard to try and give the pots more body and stability. I found that the messier the pots, the more unstable they were as its harder to control the holes and thicknesses.

Experimenting with natural dyes.

I wanted to experiment with natural dyes, making sure my products production is sustainable. Apparently, if you add baking soda to red cabbage it turns blue however, I found that the dye wasn’t strong enough to effect the dark coloured coconut husk. I also found that when I soaked the coconut in the dye the glue started to disintegrate and therefore the pots feel apart. This has led me to look at stronger less diluted dye that is still eco-friendly, but not homemade.

When I submerged the pot in the dyes the glue disintegrated and the pot started to fall apart. This lead me to include natural string to help tie and hold it togeather.

Ceramic waves

Because the plaster moulds are so deep and curved, when I slip casted the pieces they didn’t fall out. I then tried press moulding the waves allowing me to produce the pieces more efficiently.

Week 8 Part 2

I have a week and a half left to produce the two parts to my final piece.

I made the plaster moulds on Wednesday afternoon, and because they were big they hadn’t dried by Friday so I couldn’t slip cast out of them. This meant that I missed the Friday kiln.

Bank holiday Monday – No firing.

Tuesday slip casting so they can be dry for Wednesday’s kiln. Friday when they come out I will have to glaze them that day so they come out on

Friday I will glaze them in the morning and hopefully they will be dry enough to go back in the kiln that afternoon.

Monday – Finished.

If I fall behind on any of these steps my work will come out on the morning of the show. If this does happen I will glaze half of them on Monday and leave the rest unglazed producing a more natural and organic final piece. Then if the glazes don’t look good or don’t come out in time I will still have pieces to show.

Tutorial 25th April

It was brought to my attention that I was looking at helping Manchester become and greener and cleaner city, but my spray painted pots were in fact portraying the complete opposite. The fumes that are produced when you spray paint are detrimental to the environment and defiantly would not contribute positively to Manchester green environment. This is not something I had considered before, I hadn’t thought about how my products production wasn’t eco-friendly and was rather looking at the final piece and how that was helping.

This led me to make a hard decision where practicality and morals are fighting against my design process. I came to the conclusion that if I am going to make a green and clean product, it has to be fully green throughout its whole process, or else I would not feel comfortable promoting a product that isn’t green.

This flipped my project on it head as It meant re-designing my pots. When looking online at sustainable plant pots. I like the idea of the pot being directly planted into the soil, this means that when the seedling has grown and is strong enough, the owner can easily replant the tree, making the transaction quick and simple.  This easy transaction will be appealing for buyers as people enjoy simple ideas that make life easier in the long run.

This simple setup would mean that more trees will be planted as the flow and transaction are quick and easy. Encouraging more people to purchase a tree and replant it. Allowing Manchester to become a greener city more effectively.

I am designing my product to be used in shops and cafés. When the consumer purchases a ceramic wave the money will support the upkeep of the company and allow more seedlings to be planted. They then would adopt a seedling that would grow in the protected environment of their shop. Once strong enough it would be replanted around the city by the charity. The shop could then support as many or a little tree as they wanted. The wave would draw attention to the pots and therefore encourage more people to help support the growth of the green city.

Week 8

I want to represent the strength and power of the ocean through its big and engulfing waves.  I feel as if this idea can be incorporated into plant pot stands that wrap around the pot symbolising support as well as strength.

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This snail pot found on Pinterest is my main point of reference, I enjoy how it wraps around the pot mimicking its shapes. However, with my piece I want the wave to touch and surround the pot creating a connected product.

I think the waves would look good in ceramics as I could achieve a smooth and clean piece, which will contrast nicely with the bumpy pot.

Experimenting in Ceramics

Because I have such a short time frame to work with I thought I would experiment with slab building in ceramics as it is the quickest way of achieving a final result immediately. I looked at making more open waves by folding the clay over, as well as thicker more sturdy waves that really engulf the pot. Both pieces I feel compliment the pot differently, however, I feel the chunkier wave looks stronger and more supportive, so represents the oceans support more effectively.

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When the pieces were drying around the moulds the clay slowly started to warp and bend and no longer surrounded the pot perfectly. This created odd and unsatisfying pieces as they didn’t quite fit.

The pieces developed cracks because there was too much tension on them due to being so thin and having little support. This highlighted to be that despite slab building being a quick process, the pieces can be a lot more unreliable as they are different every time.

Because I like my work to be easy to produce and remake, and therefore more widely available. I feel slab building isn’t the best technique as unique pieces take time to make, and can’t be exactly replicated. This has led be to look into producing a slipcase mould so the pieces can be bulk made, therefore more readily available for the Manchester market.

Although slip casting has a lengthy setting up process with mould making and plastering, in the long run the pieces are more reliable and quick.

I decided to make the supports with one piece moulds which would mean taking away the bases leaving me with bookend sort of shapes. I feel this new design will make my pieces more minimalistic and unique. The base wasn’t supporting the design very effectively anyway as it was bulky, therefore I am happy to of been led to look at another design.

Slip casting has also allowed me to create soil wave shapes using less clay, therefore lowering the pieces’ carbon footprint and weight. However, it did effect my ability to be more creative with the waves shapes. As I couldn’t create undercuts the wave had to be relatively smooth. This might be a nice contrast with the textures on the pots so I am not too bothered by this limitation.