Wednesday, 31 March 2010

To redesign a culture. A Romance.

In my first semester at being a “textile designer” we were given a brief on “Culture”. I decided to go with Romanticism. Looking at the textiles of then and other influences.
Surprisingly, I really disliked this brief, or more my outcome. I felt I did not make the most out of what could have been a great project. It could have been because it was my first taste of what it is actually like to study textiles and also the rush in to it all. And the fact that I didn’t know of the design and research methods.
But I feel, as the year ends, I have learnt not just more techniques in practical work in textiles but a lot of methods of research in my Design Study classes.

Thinking about my design classes I would have tackled it quite differently. With the use of primary and secondary research methods, I think it would have greatly boosted my work.
If it was possible, and I did the brief again I would do it completely differently.  Being the obvious, I would make my way to the library and use the dreaded “cross-search” tool in the library, looking up journals, papers and books on the past. Perhaps looking at what it was like in Dundee then, or maybe even more industrial, Glasgow. By doing so this would give me lots of information on what it was like living then, and what the materials looked like. As well as the clothing!

I think I would stick close to home as I feel, “Romanticism” has a very broad spectrum and I was bombarded with information, some of which wasn’t helpful at all and just confused and bogged me down.
If I stayed close to home, this would mean I was able to look closely at the garments that were being worn around the time of Romanticism.
By going to museums in Glasgow and Dundee I could do some source drawing but also ask the museum staff questions about what they knew of the garments and the era.

By then conducting interviews I could ask questions such as; was fashion as big an issue then as it is now? What were the different styles like for different social classes? What fabrics were in high demand and where were they imported from? Were there influences in where the fabric was imported from in their designs?

By finding out these answers, I could look at the difference between then and now in fashion, what has changed? What is still the same? What fabrics do we still use? Have we still got similar designs or are they completely different?

I could ask these questions to the general public, gaining their points of view and seeing what their thoughts were.

While asking these questions I could show them images from the “Romanticism” era, asking what they would think if they saw someone wearing the clothes seen in the pictures. By doing so I could hear their truthful opinion. But I could also let them see the extremes of today’s fashion, asking out of the two, what one they prefer and why? What makes fashion “now”?  If they could chop and change, what styles and fabrics would they take from each?

I would then look at photographs and paintings of that era. Taking the “snoop” tactic, and looking closely to what they were influenced by, what made them want to be extravagant in their attire, their clothing, fabrics and hairstyles? What possessions did they have to let others know what their social status was to others? Did their social status change their taste in what they bought, how they decorated their environment around them and why?

Then again, comparing then and now. Looking at what people buy to let others know of their social status.  But also thinking, that maybe lower class buy what they think upper classes may buy, to look like they are upper class? Would people in the lower class in the Romanticism era have been punished for imitating the upper class? Or would the upper class just find something more extravagant to wear? Is that how fashion progresses?

So many questions! I believe a historian would come in helpful as a “tool” for my findings!
I could also look at plays in theaters, looking at ones based around the Romanticism era, observing how the actors hold themselves in the attire and also how easily they move. I could take quick sketches of them, seeing how the clothing sits on the body. Is it comfortable? Is it flattering for the body? What ideas could we incorporate in to designs now to make them similar but more updated?

Another research method I could do, would be to go to an old historic building, with the original décor of the time. Looking at what colours and patterns appear in the designs and in the upholstery. Is there a huge difference between patterns and fabrics used in the interiors and the garments? Taking photographs and comparing between the fabrics and interior designs now and then. Are there similarities? What designs aren’t used any more and why not? Could they be brought back, “recycle” design elements?

By learning about these research methods I want to push them further in to my studies, making the most of asking questions, closely observing and gathering important information.

I’ll raise my hands up and admit, that when we started design studies I wondered what on earth it had to do with being a textile designer but thinking about what I could have done in my project with the help of the research methods, it just makes me wish I had known sooner!
It just shows you, looks can be deceiving! 

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

To probe a culture - an essay.

During semester one last year, while taking part in Design Studies, I looked in to the problems of graffiti on trains. Looking at the trains in American where they seemed to be most attacked. I used various research methods that included papers, books and journals on the problems and also the advantages.
The secondary source reading was incredibly helpful on gaining ideas and opinions from others but they were mostly very bias towards their point of view. And most were against graffiti.
Wanting to get a balanced opinion, I would undertake a research study and use various methods in gaining more information about graffiti.

Seeing as I would not quite be able to make it to America to see the trains in question I guess the first place I would start would be in Dundee, perhaps even Glasgow or further afield and go to London.
These three cities all have train stations and Glasgow and London both having Undergrounds.

Firstly I would document the graffiti by observing. Taking photos of what has been done on and around the trains. Seeing if there was a connecting factor, be it by the same person if tagged or a similar style.
This would also give me the chance to observe the people on the train and how they react with one another and the graffiti or vandalism, depending on how they see it.
I do not think drawing what I’m seeing would help as tackling graffiti is more about opinion and how people are reacting with and towards it. I would not gain much from this research method.
By taking photos I could cross-examine them and see what the linking factors between Dundee, Glasgow and London are. Are Glasgow and London similar in the amount of graffiti, as Dundee is a smaller city?
Are local trains more affected or is it the sleepers and longer train journeys that are worse? 
I would have to take in to account the times as well, rush hour being a major issue, as perhaps children going to school may become bored and restless on the trains. What could prevent mindless scrawl on the trains tables and upholstery? Is it “just mindless scrawl”?

I would then take a look at the actual train station. Is it appealing to the eye? Perhaps the “vandals” are just bored with the same old, beige, brown stonewalls they are having to look at. Do they just want to brighten the place up? Bring some colour in to the dreary world of commuting.
Questions need to be answered, so I would take my research to the people!
By conducting interviews I would experience peoples first reaction to a question, the bare truth of what they think of the graffiti or “vandalism”. This could be conducted on the trains, I could also ask the people doing it, if I catch them! Though they may take this as an attack on themselves rather than research in to helping them, so this may not be the best method.

I could write up questionnaires by asking what people though of the graffiti; is it vandalism or art? What makes people do it? Is it out of boredom? What can be done to prevent such boredom on train journeys?
By asking questions like these, I can gain valuable information from the public. The public may also have questions for the “vandals” that could be answered.
These could be left on trains, in the train stations and maybe even handed out. Though I think the safer option would be to leave questionnaires in the trains, at the tables and on the backs of the seats, with a pen next to it. Giving them something to do when they are waiting to reach their destination. And they wont be filled out then lost if handed out to them at the stations.
This also means I would get information back from different age groups, back grounds and social groups. Making it a wide selection of opinions.

By taking these questions and answers from the public I could then hold a focus group, asking graffiti artists and perhaps some school children who take regular train journeys too and from school the reasons why they do this.  I could also ask the city mayor or city council to join in and see what their ideas were on tackling the “problem”. And of course asking the general public, perhaps the ones who had questions to ask, to put towards the graffiti artists.
These focus groups may help with controlling the graffiti too, as it could lead to a mural being painted in the stations, with help from graffiti artists and the school children, so there is less desire to “deface” the boring walls around.
Also asking the questions; how can we prevent the mindless scrawl that so often happens? Could classes in graffiti art be the answer?  Does the layout and design of the trains and stations need to be changed so it is more appealing and interactive with the public?

I feel that using these methods I could gain incredibly important information and views on graffiti in the train stations and on trains.
Although the journals and papers are very informative, they have very bias opinions. By using these methods I can gather a range of views from a range of ages, I think the generational issues would be particularly important. Is there a huge difference? Are the generations today more likely to “deface” something as an artistic output?
Could there be pads of paper and pens put on the tables for people to doodle on? Thinking of recycled paper too!
By getting information from graffiti artist, this, although a bias approach, could influence the school children, and for the better. As they may encourage them to peruse in art related subjects, to take pen and paper with them wherever they go so they can keep their ideas.

Would it be better to encourage the art of graffiti, rather than to smother it? If you say, “don’t touch” you automatically want to touch. Perhaps it’s the same with “don’t draw here”?



Austin, J, 2001, Taking The Train: How Graffiti Art became An Urban Crisis in New York City, Columbia University Press.
Bryan, J, 1996, “Ganja Graffiti: The Legacy of Stay High 149.” High Times.
Brewer, Devon D, 1992, “Hip-Hop Graffiti Writers' Evaluation of Strategies to Control Illegal Graffiti.”
Bushnell, J,1990, “Moscow Graffiti: Language and Subculture.” Boston: Unwin Hyman.
Calvin, I. M, 2005, Graffiti, the Ultimate Realia : Meeting the Standards Through An Unconventional Cultural Lesson, Journal Devoted to the teachings of Spanish and Portuguese.
Castleman, C, 1982, “Getting up: Subway Graffiti in New York. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Dennant, P,1997, "Urban Expression...Urban Assault...Urban
Wildstyle...New York City Graffiti." Art Crimes.
Dowd,M,1984, “Visiting Hoteliers Savor New York”, New York Times.
Ferrell, J.1993, Crimes of Style: urban graffiti and the politics of criminality. New York: Garland.
Stewart, J, 1989, “Subway Graffiti: An Aesthetic Study of Graffiti on the Subway System of New York City, 1970-1978”, PH.D.diss, New York University.
Werwath, T, 2006, The Culture And Politics of Graffiti Art, Independent Research paper - Wilde Lake High School, Columbia, MD, USA

Sunday, 28 March 2010

I'm all up for old music being remixed but this is something else...Todays music made classical .It's absolutely stunning and makes me wish i played the piano.

maxen cecyrin
The justice and pixie covers are lovely. But so are they all.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

United States of Tara

Found out about United States of Tara on Sunday and have just finished watching season 1. Away to start the 2nd season that is still being released.

The opening title is amazing and should be watched and appreciated by all. Then watch and appreciate Toni Collette and John Corbett. And the "alters". It's up there with Six Feet Under.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Bugs From School

Bug project is well underway. Really enjoying it and the floods of ideas coming to me. Just upset it couldn't have been this inspiring with my last two projects. Ah we live and learn. 
Anyway, i've been doing some drawing and photo taking of my lovelies. 

And that's only a hand full of what's been done! I'm not sure if i should just stick with beetles at the moment, and if we can, pursue more bugs and insects next year.  As the tray i was drawing from was only one of at least 20 with different kinds of insects in each! Amazing!

We have a photomontage class tomorrow where i think i will feel the need to channel David Hockney . Hurrah! 

Listening to - 

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Tongue in Chip

So Peter Serafinowicz has directed Hot Chip's new video.

Hot Chip - I Feel Better

Hot Chip | MySpace Music Videos

Just watch it, I can't say anymore. Other than it's genius.

Ouft, I love a man with a gid beard. And such humour.

I'm off to watch Blowup because i was routed somehow to David Hemmings and I forgot how much i loved him and his eyebrows. 

Listening to - People In Planes - Fire.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Invisible World

I've just finished watching Richard Hammond's Invisible World. It's a series of 3 programs, and tonight's was about speed. They were using high speed cameras to show the viewers things that happen every day that we miss e.g. a fly flying, an explosion's shock wave, water behaving like stretchy plastic etc. 

The one that really interested was the bit about lightening sprites. Absolutely fascinating, something that we never see because it happens above the storm, which normally last between 10 and 100 milliseconds They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between the thundercloud and the ground. 

But there is a lot more going on up there...

The sprites remind me of jellyfish, i have to admit, when i saw them happen on the program i got goose-bumps[/geek] 
I'm off to watch Animals in The Womb. I seem to be on an education binge.
Go watch the Invisible World. 

Rings, Medals and Xboxes - assignment.

Rings by Kiley Granberg 

I decided to take the route of pen and paper for my interview, I felt it was a lot more personal and also meant I took in more information instead of recording it, nodding where needed and glazing over dreaming of other things while the interviewee told me their live stories, well, favourite possessions.
I asked them these questions while conducting my interview:

1.If your house were on fire, what possession would you save?
2. How old were you when you got this possession?
3. How long have you had it for?
4.Does it have a retail value, how much did it cost?
5. Was it given to you as a gift or self bought?
6. What does it mean to you?
7. Is it replaceable, how would you feel if it got broken or lost?
8. Is it one of a kind?
9. How does it make you feel?
10. Would you ever let anyone use/borrow/have it?

I decided to ask men and women at different ranges of age to see if there was a link or not.

I noticed that women instantly chose a piece of jewellery, mostly a ring, be it a wedding ring or a ring passed down through their family.
I noticed that their opposite hand instantly went to their ring and played with it. As if to check it was still there and had not slipped off.

The women that had chosen their wedding ring were obviously still married, and a woman I asked who was divorced answered that a ring, given to her by her mother was her “chosen possession” Though it was a wedding ring, it held a different meaning of love, but her family’s love and the bond between her mother and father.

Asking the women who answered with their wedding ring, I then asked what would happen if it got lost or stolen. Their faces instantly fell, and again they twisted their wedding ring about their finger. I got varied answers that all basically said that they would be devastated but they could always get a new ring, as the meaning of a wedding ring was still with them, being their husband.

However, the lady who answered, her mother’s wedding ring, face fell like the others except she clutched her hand instead of just twisting the ring. She said she would be utterly devastated as her mother and father had both passed away, and it was almost as if it was her last, touchable memory of them.
With this type of possession it was a lot more sentimental than a wedding ring, I thought. As the other women stated, they could always get a new ring, their husbands and the rings meaning would always be there, as long as the marriage lasted, but completely the opposite for the other lady. She could never get the same ring or her mother and father back.

They were worth sentimental value rather than retail value.

The men however chose other things. Young teenage boys tended to go for a piece of technology, like an xbox or a playstation. With technology these days, people are able to communicate through online gaming, so their choice of possession has a social aspect to it. They could loose all their “status points, medals and friends” on it if they lost their console.
Although a virtual possession, they had still worked hard for them. Almost like the saving of money to buy a wedding ring.

Their possessions didn’t have as much of a sentimental value, more a retail value. But I think this is because they are still “young” and living their lives. They haven’t encountered marriage yet or any other “big” thing to happen in their life, like a war…

Which brings me to my next point. I asked a man what his chosen possession would be, and he said it was a medal from his grandfather from the 1st world war. Obviously a more “masculine” piece of jewellery similar to the lady who had her mothers wedding ring.
I asked him what would he do if he lost it and he shook his head and said that it would be possibly one of the worst things to happen. He said that it meant to much to him and that it made him so proud that his grandfather had helped fight in The Great War.
Though not on display like the other jewellery pieces that were chosen, it still meant a great deal to him, if not possibly more. Again, a huge sentimental piece, that although it would be worth a good deal of money, he wanted it to be passed down generations in his family so his grandfathers story could be told, and also so people wouldn’t forget about the wars in time.

These jewellery pieces may not have been one of a kind (least some were not) but they all held a completely different story and meaning to their owners.

I don’t think they were pieces to be borrowed as no one can really wear someone else’s ring unless it is given to them. So these pieces would be handed down generations I feel.
Unless we are talking about the xbox and playstations, where you might be given one, if they had a spare! 

Monday, 15 March 2010

Roulette in chat form

Ok, so i'm a bit of an internet geek and i've been pointed in the direction of Chatroulette. It's pretty cool and there is a load of stuff on youtube about it and videos from it.
One guy decided to play the piano for conversations and improvise...

Amazing! He reminds me of Ben Folds...

Aaah technology today.
Warning, if you do venture on to chatroulette, some people think it's hilarious and god knows what else to put themselves fully out there. If you catch my drift. It's not for the light hearted. 

Hockney inspired.

I've been looking a lot at David Hockney's work recently and i really love his self portrait he did when he was 17, that he handed in as an English paper and still got away with!

It's really inspired me to do one of myself in the same style. I particularly like the background of pages of a book or newspaper, perhaps a joke about how it was meant to be an english paper instead. Plus i love ripping up newspaper and old books as part of my work.

I know it's an old photo but i just love him! 

He has even gone with technology and is painting with his iphone using an app called brushes! Bless. He say's that he paints and sends his friends flowers from it so they "get fresh flowers that never die." 

Love it. 

Wonders of The Solar System

I've been watching Professor Brian Cox's Wonders Of The Solar System on BBC2 these past two weeks and it blows me away. I can't wait for more.
I'm continually amazed by what Earth offers us, and its mystery, history and life upon it. But space...I actually cannot find the words.
It overwhelms me constantly, the thought of it being infinite and expanding. And that's just taking space as a whole, not looking at the stars, planets, solar systems, galaxies and more!
This program is taking bits of our solar system and more, and telling us incredibly interesting facts.
I was amazed to find out that on earth we have the best solar eclipses out of all our solar system because of the distance between our moon and the sun. How amazing is that?! And the fact that we can witness and experience it just renders me speechless. Really, what are the chances?
Then the fact that these pictures of a solar eclipse...

have been taken on mars. That's another planets solar eclipse! Baffling. 
Another thing is the ice geysers that are on one of Saturn's 61 moons...Enceladus. Bursting up out of it's atmosphere creating one of the most beautiful sights...

It's incredibly bewildering. 

I have so much more to say on this subject. Sadly I won't get to learn everything about space in my life time though. 
It's a very humble feeling, I'm such a small part of Space, smaller than an atom if you think about it.  

Friday, 12 March 2010


First ever production of Alice In Wonderland...

So quaint.


One of the most underrated bands of all time. I forgot how much i loved them.
I once saw a boy in waterstones wearing a t-shirt of theirs and almost peed my pants. I then congratulated him on what excellent taste in music he had.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


I love Mac, the best thing about him is his Jelly. (Itunes visulizer) I sometimes get caught out and accidently press the apple key and T, for opening a new tab but i'm still on itunes. I could sit and stare at it for hours.
I know i had more to say but i've forgotten because i'm sleepy.

Enjoy this...

It's lovely.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Johnny and Zim

I've been re-watching a bit of Invader Zim recently and someone reminded me that Johnny the Homicidal Maniac was by the same cartoonist, Jhonen Vasquez. He also did an art rendition of Bioshock2 "The Sisters". Ticking all the boxes. 
I used to really love Johnny and i think it's time to re-read them. Ah if only he were real. 

Oh and Zim, you'd definitely recognise Gur if anything...


Yeah, maybe "Geek Alert" would make a better title for this post...

Listening to -

Shoes related bigotry

 I forgot how much of an addiction i have for shoes...More wants to add to the list then...

I will have at least the last 3. The bottom ones to start off with. I sometimes hate how tallish i am. But i absolutely adore the bottom ones. 
Imelda Marcos, I love you. I have a future project with her face on a tshirt to conjure up.  

It's a bugs life.

Hurrah. Success, I'm going to go with bugs on this project. Really excited about it. About to write up my brief and get some stuff printed off.
A trip to Edinburgh Zoo will be on the agenda!

Also, really wanting a projector that links up with my computer just now. I have the perfect wall space and think it would look great. Especially with Itunes visulizer on jelly mode.
But at £200..i've got a bit of saving to do. And i'll have to wait till after Sonar.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Bill Withers

I've been going back in to my "beginnings" of music lately. And the release of Peggy Lee's remix (or ruinmix, depending on taste! ) it got me looking, and i found a decent remix of good old Bill Withers  -Lovely Day.

Definitely going to be getting played a lot this coming summer. I'm really not a winter person.

The original is definitely a morning song. Never fails to put me in a good mood.

New project.

Really excited about our new project coming up. Already got a load of stuff to put up here and print off. But you'll just have to wait till i get the go ahead. I really hope i do. Otherwise i might just breakdown.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Stylist Slap.

What did the five fingers say to the face? Slllaaaap.
This is what I'd like to do to The Saturdays stylists. I don't particularly like them but some of them are pretty girls who deserve nice clothes.
I'm not sure who has styled the latest "Impulse" advert that they appear in but they obviously don't have a sense of what they are apparently making a living out of. Bad Design one might say.
The idea of full cat suits made out of skin tight, wet look plastic is just f**king awful.

Avert your eyes if you are easily offended...

I really hate their twee "my own colour" crap as well. 

They will never be Girls Aloud. 

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Ruth Flowers

I stumbled upon 69 year old Ruth Flowers from a music blog i follow. You're thinking, why is a 69 year old being mentioned here and in a music blog? Well she's actually a DJ! She's played at the Cannes Film Festival already and has apparently got some more shows to come. 
You really should read this
Brilliant. My faith in growing old has been restored. 
I totally want her head phones. 

ITunes Signature.

Obviously I would love this gem that Jonathan mentioned in our lecture today(well yesterday) Which i have a lot to say about, but have you noticed the time?!

What goes on in my head music wise.


Friday, 5 March 2010


I'm thinking about bugs for our self briefed project...some videos for your pleasure.

Peggy Lee

It's always nice when an old song is made new...

I do love peggy.


Babe, and style icon. 

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Paris Fashion Week.

Two pieces caught my eye in the quick look over on the guardian website today...
First up is Devastee.
"French designers Francois Alary and Ophelie Klere are the forces behind the Devastee label, which is very popular in Japan. They are also known for their gothic vibe, somewhat offset in this case by the 80s librarian eyewear"

Loving the simple black and white of this piece with the full on pattern. 

Again keeping it simple and focusing on the pattern, with faces a big element in this design. Looking fresh and quirky. 
With a matching skirt!


Then something else caught my eye...Fish fins...

Luís Buchinho looks like he has been focusing on raw edges in this collection, I love his teaming up for thick strapped heels and leg cuffs that have a ruffle up them that appear quite "fish fin like" Really unique. 

Very cool. I wonder when i can get a pair of my own...