Grace in Dundee

I am now MDes student of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in UK.

Nothing could be took away, only the memory. Eight months has past, so fast! What I have obtained in such a short time? Knowledge? Friendship? Love? Simple life? Peace of mind? Fun? Independent? Life Experience... Suddenly, I am stuck in the beginning.
Review these months, I know I got courage and confidence and I am sure this year has become my turning point.
I used to arrange everything before when I was in China. I should do something tomorrow and had to finish other things next week. I made effort to get lots certificates in order to get more opportunities. Life was full of busyness but I still felt vacuous. Although everything seemed to be organized change always followed. Lacking sense of safety pushed me to work more and should be better than others. However, where would be the end? What's the purpose?
When I came here. I found I changed lot and become positive. I still remember last September when I arrived here. Almost 40 hours on the road made me feel exhaust and everything was so unacquainted. I tried to communicate with people around but hard to express accurately. I expected for my new life but shocked by the uncertain circumstance. When I involved in class it seemed to be in a dream. I was mixed-up and under pressure absolutely. Life seemed to be out of control. But with the warm help from teachers and friends, I find I can solve problems calmly. The best thing is I made fantastic friends here.
As to the courses, they all methodical and systematic. I have learnt research methodology and design methods. Moreover, I learnt how to solve complicate problems. The way of thinking is significant. I should say courses are excellent. In shot, I love this year deeply. Only four months left, I will cherish the final time we get along with together.
Today, we completed DIR Group presentation of the Designing Innovative Research Module. It was successful and I had learnt lots from the whole process. It was also an excellent experience of cooperating with Ethnography students. I still remembered Tom's final comments:' Could you people please turn back to last September and remember the question I asked that time? What was the difference between design and design Ethnography? Now, do you get the answer?'
I could say, among us the answers varied but the point we obtained was the same. We now know how to make use of design methods and research methodology to achieve the purpose. How to prepare for commercial pitch with professional way of thinking? How to focus on the goals and further the process punctually? How to play an adaptable role when in a group work? In addition, we have learnt important skills of doing a leisure presentation. Confidence is crucial.
I still remembered last group work 'Bee boy'. The result was not satisfying. But compared 'Bee-boy' group work last time, I could convince we had a big improvement. Last time, we ignored some details and pointed research of project. Simply said, it was a little bit skin-deep.
Finally, I think positive way of working is important. Do not critical always, and the mean time, try to add some new ideas instead of obeying the rules simply.

This Tuesday I had a meeting with Annabella in DCA about our group working. We had an enjoyable talk and got lots improvements. Because of the requirement of out research, we gathered lots information about community connections.
One case named Superlambanas “Go Superlambananas is a culmination on the many productive and creative relationships between a lot of different people and organisations.”(Liverpool 360,2009)

Turn back to my own project- create a beautiful and functional therapeutic personal object with the usage of contemporary jewellery design. Although it is about creating object and begin with some small little piece of jewellery. I still would like to explore people’s relationship with the society even the whole world. Basically, healthy problems are personal cases. But, I think it is not simply private issue could be treated with the medicines. When people surfer physical problems their mood will be changed. Their bad mood such as impatience and depression influence other people around. It will change people’s relationship as well. From individual to family and like snow ball it would be a holistic social problem finally. What can I do as a jeweler with the usage of positive method to improve people’s relationship? Is that possible to change people’s attitude to disease? That may be interesting points for digging deeper.
In addition, a lush color maybe useful for stimulating viewer’s sense and influence their emotion. What about making some multicolored pieces?

I was excited with the project made by artist Jacqui Chan. The artist is adept at using Chinese elements in her work. Her work aroused my memory and I am quite like the form and color, adept to Chinese culture closely.
Moreover, I can’t stop loving the stories behind the work. Like she mentioned, ‘My interest in non-traditional materials and objects is for their layers of stories and associations. People are naturally drawn to things that relate to themselves in various ways.’ As mainstream attitude, free and open are chased by modern people. But, at the mean time, they still hope to keep traditions in a creative way.
His work gave me a good example for combining with contemporary and traditional together to make new object.


Have you heard performance craft?
This morning, an interesting journal caught my eye. The latest offering from Belgium’s Needcompany started life as an artwork by choreographer, Grace Ellen Barkey and artist, Lot Lemm. ' It's not often that the worlds of dance and craft collide. But this month the Barbican plays host to an extraordinary performance piece that puts pottery centre stage. ' (Craft, 2008) The forge of two opposite art forms could be treated as an innovation in porcelain area.
'My work is about the failure of love and loving,’ she says. ‘And the absurdness of longing for something perfect, when you know that you always fail. When you have a perfect moment, it will always collapse and be destroyed by another thought or event. That’s something I think can be very comical in humanity and it’s underlying in all my work.’ explains Barkey.
'Perfect moment' is an intriguing concept. Her critical work seemed to provoke people to explore the deep meaning behind surface. How to determine the perfect moment? How to cherish the moment?

I like her work which could bring me deep thought. What is the potential of craft? People always draw attention to the result(products). What about the production process? Which one would be more important? Process or Result?
In addition, performance crafts displayed another kind of beauty to me. It was not traditional exhibition in gallery or museum. It brought new forms and visual angle. It also let me remember some words I like so much:
"People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. this empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves." (Salma Hayek)
I am now dealing with my context and cohesion paper which will be more than 2500 words. After the talk with Professor Mike Press, I felt better. He showed me a net link of Aberdeen children's hospital which looked like a amusement park. I convinced childern would love the place natually. Creative crafts suppose to be a sort of effective 'medicine' for releasing people's fearful emotion.

Fifteen artists, including sculptors, photographers, textile artists, graphic artists and furniture designers from across the UK have made site specific artwork throughout the four public floors of the children's hospital. The work includes specially designed seating, colourful signs, flooring designs, photography lenticulars, environmental graphics, light boxes, works in paper and wire, a water feature and sculptures in courtyards and on roofs. With an arts budget of £600,000, this is the first children's hospital in Scotland to commission artists on such a scale.
It might be good point for my project. How to create something useful for changing people's mind?

Date: March 3, 2009
Time: 14:40-15:30
Participator: Master of Ethnography students

Tuesday afternoon, I organized a focus group. My purpose of it was to know the meaning of jewellery in people’s daily life. Explore which element would be most important when people pick out their favourite piece of jewellery. What kind of jewellery styles, materials, colour would be popular and which design would not be acceptable by public?
Material usage, as an important factor of jewellery design brings me thinking of its’ deeper meaning. Relating to my project, I would like to find a suitable material for designing which would be functional in therapy area. It should close to public’s needs and be equipped with decoration function. Further, people build their psychological security by material and aroused memories by touching specific materials. Hence, I engage in people in order to know more relevance from materials and their real life.
Part One
3 Questions:
1) Do you like wearing jewellery? Why or why not?

2) It is a necklaces exhibition and you are invited to enter. You are free of choosing two works which could take your fancy. Remember they are all for you and you could wear or just keep them. Please write your answers on tickets and hide them.

3) Could you please select a necklace for each other as a present?

Comparing with choice of self and by others. The results were big different. It helped me explore people’s deep personality and improve mutual understanding from the workshop. Further, I found people love nature beauty things which always relate to their personal experience. They do not like over shining jewellery even diamond. They prefer 925 silver and quit 999 which is bright and blinding.

I like the workshop and the way of communication.

Tuesday morning, we had a workshop which was provided by Brain Carlin and Mel Woods,separately. Mr Brain Carlin was from RESQROLL emergency extrication system. His topic was around design and trauma.

Mrs Mel Woods plays an important role in Ambaba company which creates new products for kids. Her case started at "An innovative, one-size-fits-all nappy" When she read a government report, arguing that reusable nappies were damaging to the environment because of their functionality and design, she decided to put her long-brewing business idea into action to design a one-size, eco-friendly nappy that people would enjoy using.

I quite like their interesting presentations. In person, Mel Woods's case attracted me more. I liked her motivation of nappy project. I also believed she was an environmentalists and her mindful thinking helped her find a unique selling point in redesign area. She knew deeply environmental protection was for new generation at all. It was a loving care project I felt Her great enthusiasm was to dilight babys and made them lovely.

Sharing ideas were important. " Ambaba identified a need for a one-size nappy that was economical, easy to wash and dry, and had a contemporary look that coordinated with designer and high-street children's wear. " as her presented. To be confidence although there would be a lots competitors. She learnt rich experiences from dominant firms and designers. Meanwhile she hold on forming her own style. I admired her brave in developing process, smart way of thinking as well.

Another point interested me was " Asking right question". It was about "Culture Probs". Gathering response from customers was not easy. Mother always busy with taking care of their babys. Time shortage would be a problem for them. How to persuade them to be your volunteer and engage in your workshop? Mel gave me positive suggestions later. She said:
"Asking right question." It meant effective question was key point, no more informations.
"Working Ethically with people" Trustworthy was basic not only for a brand but also for a long-term relationship with your customers. (Baby will grow up)
Finally, I think kind personality and loving-transmission are necessary for communication.



11:31 PM | 0 Comments

Hi Lauren,
Nice to see you this afternoon.
This morning we had a workshop about FUNDING. Basicaly, it was about how to get money to support your career as designer or artist after graduation. Sara Keith and Sarah Kettley gave us good presentations which were enjoyable and helpful.I try to sort out the notes from it and give you the copy. Hope they are useful for your research. Some links will be displayed and you will be able to find usable information via them.

Sara Keith - She is now working for Scottish Arts Council who is quite familiar with arranging exhibition, teaching thing and TV talk. She introduced structure of Scottish Arts Council like Business and Research Funding for Design, Local government (Business Gateway) and how to apply for fund. I think professionalism is significent when you take up your project. They believed you by your persuasive reasons and your argument should be very persuasive. Secondly, it is essentioal for you to convey project proposal clearly which means you could emphasize points directly.

Sarah Kettley — She is PHD student now and she has rich experiences about how to find reseach funding. She talked about Designing Innovative Research which including Artist and Academic two parts. Owing to her project this year about interactive jewelry, she payed more attention to craft area. Later, she focused on Business and offered lots good website links.

Personally, I was interested in team work she mentioned in workshop. It seems not easy to establish your group and select suitable people for working with. How to gather people who have different backdrops and get along with them smoothly? Perhaps good faith is crucial. I find you are quite good at involving in people and arranging thing. Could you give me some ideas? Thank you for reading.

Best Wishes,

Useful links:

Business Focused:
CH2=C(CH3)C(=O)OCH3 enclosures and other TN’s

Now I am dealing with my book review which is 1500 words at least according to module requirement. Absolutely, it is a big task for me even I write it in Chinese. I try to make any sense from the book and pick up some useful information via it in order to support my writing.

It is a compelling book which concluded 15 years of Ted Noten's work as a jewelry designer. Furthermore, it displays author's comments of pieces, diverse sections (as notebook, review, interview or poetry, among others), an atlas of his professional and private career, and a database. However, the structure of the book is quite confusing and the language is a little bit obscure.

I kept on typing continuously all day long and made effort to finish it as soon as possible. But, I found it was not effective way for writing directly on computer. Because I can not help concentrating on much details like spelling, sentence structure and choice of words. Finally, I lost main meaning and confused with the purpose of my essay. Then, I shut down my computer and wrote down my ideas on paper with physical way. I found it was quite useful for clearing thought and I suddenly made sense of my work.

"More haste, less speed" , as the saying goes. I will think deeply before action next time : )

What is your feeling when see this email address ( on formal CV paper? How to set points for an effective CV? Introduce yourself or write down what the employer wants? How to mark yourself with marketing ideas...
I was happy to make sense from CV writing workshop yesterday afternoon which was quite helpful and enjoyable. What I want to mention here is not CV writing skills or any contexts of it. I was absorbed by teaching method. It was interactive: practice-oriented,
teamwork and role play.(Change way of thinking)
We were required to be role play as employer. Read other people's CV and made sure whether to employ him. Of course, evidence was always essential. Chris, my popular classmate who has fantastic sense of humor expressed that he liked the guy's email name' funnyface' and was willing to employ him because it represented the man's personality: pure-hearted, funny as well.   Laughing!!! Teacher aired her opinion about the email event and we learnt more of the joking. 
It is quite different from Chinese lecture. More than 100 students sit in a huge room and try to keep waking up themselves. Normally, they are required to fill forms as homework and get marks. Finally, it's always hard to know what their really thinking. There is no absolute standard for learning. Reflection is necessary. 

When you come into MDes studio these days. You will be surprised by a number of beautiful balloons with distinct visual language and patterns. They were all made by us yesterday morning in our Mindful module workshop. At class, we were required to finish 15 questions in order to brief our project like a management. It was playful and interesting.After that, we had a presentation and compared notes.

It was interactive way and helpful for arranging our thoughts. But personally, some questions were confusing. It is still inexplicit to me such as how to sell craft things like product? It is hard to identify now. I suddenly remember Mike's workshop about Critical Reading. Like critical reading, questing yourself and answer it in different methods. Rethinking key points seems to be an effective way for discovering new views.

I hope to clear my head and have considerable powers of independent criticism via these exercises.