Thursday, 21 October 2010


ahh.. blogger.. I've not written properly on here for a while... Probably because I never seem to find the time to sit down and type or find anything interesting to tell the world. I'm still finding it hard to get into blogging. I'm not sure it is for me. I'm not a natural writer. I re-read whatever I write about 50 times.. and that could be a reason why I don't blog much - I know it is going to take ages. I enjoy reading other blogs, but on my own blog I don't know what to write so that others will enjoy reading it.

I'm just putting some thoughts down. I want to blog but I just can't seem to...

I've been rather busy with my narrative project at the moment. Many 9am - 8pm days in the workshop. Its still not finished. And I'm just so worn out because I've been working on the presentation from the time after dinner up to 1am.. I might just sleep all weekend to recover!

I'm thinking of writing some entries based on initial research and concept for the narrative project before putting photos of the final pieces up. I am sort of backtracking and that just means you may need to wait a bit longer to see it...

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Design Studies - Assignment 1

- This is the "wiki" entry I have done for design studies following on from mindmap in previous post-

Resource Depletion


Resources such as oil and metals are finite which means they will not last forever; especially at the rate we use them. Resource depletion is the exhaustion of these natural reserves. Depletion can affect minerals, energy and food sources, such as farming and fishing. Mineral and oil resources have been made gradually over billions of years and in such a small space of time of the Earth’s history, we are practically using them up (Kesler, 1976). Many factors such as: population increase, consumption and demand, deforestation, soil fertility decline and pollution can cause depletion. All of these problems are because of human actions:

The finger of blame points clearly to man’s activities.” (Brookins, 1990)

Then and Now

Worries over energy resource depletion have come and gone throughout the years. People were concerned following the Second World War and it is now a constant apprehension (Robinson, 1975). Not everyone has this fear, since the problem does not seem extremely serious at this point in time, but many people are not considering the lifestyles of future generations. They may presume that everything will work out, but we can already tell that the Earth will not end up the way it is represented in science-fiction stories.

Until the USA took over, Britain was, for a time, the main supplier and consumer of metal. The USA now acts more as an importer as most sources are found in undeveloped countries (Blunden, 1985). Developed countries can then receive more profit from selling the final products that were sold to them by undeveloped countries that mined the original resource.

The population of the world in 1950 was approximately 2500 million (Young, 1998) whereas the figure now is around 6870 million (U.S. & World Population Clocks, n.d.). As population rises the more resources are consumed.

Not enough resources to go around

Overpopulation - Not enough resources to go around...

The industrial revolution of the 19th century made a huge change to how people lived and worked. They were not making products or getting products by hand anymore:

“…products were no longer manufactured by handicraft workers in the neighbourhood and exchanged against farmers’ goods” (Spangenberg, et al., 2010).

This led to the diminishment of the trusted link between producers and consumers. Machinery allows a great volume of products to be made; this also uses up resources, energy and metals at a high rate and causes pollution and waste.

In the mining industry, a big difference has been noted in levels of gold production in that 29 million ounces of gold were produced in 1957 (Anon., 1960) and fifty years later 82.5 million ounces of gold were mined (Anon., 2009). The increased levels in 2007 can be attributed to the use of more efficient machines. These figures show that there may be a high level of gold produced, but it is also consumed very quickly. In the future there will be less and less to consume; this is the same with other resources, they are not infinite.

The Earth’s oil supply is depleting at an undesirable rate and, because it is completely used up in the energy burning process, it cannot be recycled. Alternative energy sources have been considered and most are in practice now. In Mineral and Energy Resources (Brookins, 1990), every alternative energy source is described up until the 1990s. These include: solar energy, wind power, geothermal energy, tar sands (synthetic crude oil), ocean thermal energy, biomass (living matter such as plants), municipal wastes, tidal power and oil shale. Wind power was the first alternative energy source put into practice. This was before the 20th century and it is still used widely today. Nuclear fusion is another source that is mentioned but it is not in operation now and probably will not be for another century. These methods use other sources in order to store the energy that they create, which is impractical, but means the expiration of energy becomes more distant. All alternative methods are very expensive and are likely to use up a lot of energy and materials in their production and set up.

Design Relevance

We can make only probabilistic statements” (Robinson, 1975) about what will happen in years to come. If we run out of energy sources would we go back to making or retrieving things by hand? Would there be too many people for the Earth to maintain? Would the Earth recover? If we were unable to find more metals would we have to recycle huge amounts of existing supplies? Anything could happen.

The best way to prepare people is to educate them about sustainability, as this topic is not being taught on a large scale (Spangenberg, et al., 2010). Past generations, and even this one, appear not to be considering future generations and they are taking advantage of current resources in the meantime. Some people do however choose to recycle consumable goods. Most things can be recycled now and this cuts down on waste in our throwaway society, making it less of a problem. Teaching sustainability could perhaps help everyone to understand the importance of recycling and that the use of less energy will be essential in the future.

Linking sustainability to design would be another key issue because other methods of designing, sourcing materials and producing products may change things for the better.

The world is in our hands

Earth Hands - The world is in our hands...

From a jewellery perspective, metals are important in the way of design. Gold and silver are the top precious metals used in jewellery and are both particularly rare materials. Perhaps there is less of a worry about the depletion of gold because “a third of all gold ever mined, is in government vaults” (Brookins, 1990). Companies are currently advertising on television to try and get people to exchange mobile phones and old or broken jewellery for money. Mobile phones are made of many materials; gold is the main one these companies are after. For all of the mobile phones they receive, they must accumulate substantial amounts of gold.

The mining of gold is not good for the environment as cyanide is used in the extraction process:

monitoring wells surround each property to ensure against pollution of water by the cyanide” (Brookins, 1990).

Some mining companies are environmentally friendly. If designers were willing to pay more for metals that are extracted from a reliable source, which is not destroying the land and water, then land degradation would reduce.

Increasingly designers are now choosing to use different materials and they are promoting the fact that they are sustainable designers. Many use found objects, recycled items or other non-metals that will not affect resource depletion. Using recycled metals for design purposes is another way to avoid depletion, but the cost of the recycling process makes this unsuitable for some project budgets.

To help with the energy problem, jewellers may want to go back to making everything by hand, which would take more time but would result in more personal work being created than mass produced mechanically made pieces.


Anon., 1960. Statistical Summary of the Mineral Industry 1953-1958. London: Overseas Geological Survey. Available at: <>
[Accessed 27 September 2010].

Anon., 2009. World Mineral Production 2003-07. Keyworth, Nottingham: British Geological Survey. Available at: <>
[Accessed 27 September 2010].

Blunden, J., 1985. Mineral Resources and their Management. New York: Longman Inc.

Brookins, D. G., 1990. Mineral and Energy Resources. Columbus, OH.: Merrill.

Earth Hands. [picture] Available at: [Accessed 1 October 2010].

Kesler, S. E., 1976. Our Finite Mineral Resources. USA: McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Overpopulation. [picture] Available at: <> [Accessed 25 September 2010].

Robinson, C., 1975. The Depletion of Energy Resources. In: D.W..Pearce, ed. The Economics of Natural Resource Depletion. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd. Ch. 2.

Spangenberg, J.H., Fuad-Luke, A. and Blincoe, K., 2010. Design for Sustainability (DfS): the interface of sustainable production and consumption, Journal of Cleaner Production, 18( 15) [online] Available at:<> [Accessed 29 September 2010].

U.S. & World Population Clocks, n.d. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 October 2010].

Young, A., 1998. Land Resources. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Design Studies: Mindmap

Here is the mindmap I did before I started writing the summary/design essay for design studies.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Group Meeting

So back to university - I'm in the middle of week 2 of 3rd year and I am already working away!
For my first assignment for design studies I am looking into Resource Depletion. I literally had to look up the whole list to see what each topic given ment! Somehow this one really stood out to me. I have to write a 1000word summary of it and how it relates to design. This shouldn't be too hard, the only struggle is finishing early so it can get proof read (the hard times of being dyslexic :P). So this week I really need to get the reading done so I can write it next week.

I was put in a group of 8, each studing different areas in design which will be my study group. Last thursday we had a "lunch date" to decide and discuss what topics we were doing.

This is us! Alan is missing from the photo because he had to leave early.

I kind of wish I had made more of an effort with my appearance now!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Watercolour Portrait

I decided to paint my mate Sana seeing as she was the person that was online at the time when I was wanting to paint! And chose one of Nuno's photos of her that he took for his catwalk project. (Click their names to go to their blogs).

-Ok.. photo isn't good quality and blogger has made it small .. just take my word that its way better in person -

This has to be one of the best portraits I've ever done. I spent about 2-3 weeks on it, painting in small amounts.
Time and patience is key.
I've improved my painting skills and have brought my old friend - watercolours - back into my life! I used to use them a lot in highschool and then ditched them for acrylics and inks when I was making up my portfolio. My love for watercolours has come back! :)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

First painting in a while..

so.. my plan for the summer was to do at least one portrait and I have done that today. It is A5 size and I spent a couple hours on it. Normally my portraits turn out better but I have not painted with acrylics for a while, let alone paint a portrait with them. It has been a couple years since I painted one (excluding life drawing - there is never enough time to do a proper painting... and none of my pictures turn out right). I think I'll do a few more portraits seeing as I miss doing them and it will improve my painting skills (I hope).

Why I painted a winter scene in summer.. I don't know!!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Project 3 : Stone Setting

3 Greek Gods ~ Zeus, Poseidon & Hades Brooches

Not the best photo of them, but this is what I've been working on
for weeks!

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while... I never have much to say! I also don't stumble across interesting things to write about...

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Assignment 5 - Primary Research Essay

The early identification of disabilities is important, as children who are struggling to learn may be helped if they are provided with the additional support that they need. From what I have read before on this topic, it can be hard to identify problems that are not clearly noticeable on the outside. Only with closer observation will these problems appear. However, not every teacher may be able to closely observe their pupils individually, as this would mean their time and help would not be easily shared around the class. In Gerber’s journal: “Teachers are Still the Test: Limitations of Response to Instruction Strategies for Identifying Children with Learning Disabilities” (2005) he wrote that teachers are not all the same and they can act differently towards their pupils. This could explain why disabilities may not be seen. A teacher may pay more attention to those who want to learn, without thinking that the ones who are not learning could need additional support. In Martin’s book “Teaching Children with Speech and Language Difficulties” (2000) she states that teachers should look at the class as a whole, and then direct their attention to individual pupils who are not working as well as others. Teachers need to be shown how to look for problems and they should be aware of the characteristics of certain disabilities.

In order to find out how much teachers have been told about disabilities, it would perhaps be best to interview a few to see if there were differences in their training. This may depend on where they were first taught. I would ask if they were aware of disabilities when they first started teaching and if they had become more familiar with types of children’s disabilities over the years. The results would tell me if more information about disabilities should be provided for teachers. Asking the questions: “how easy is it to spot disabilities?” and “how have you noticed disabilities in the past?” would give me varying results, because it comes down to each individual teacher and how observant they are. The answers would be helpful in working out what teachers could do to notice students with disabilities. Then, from the pupils they noticed that had signs of a disability, how did they ensure that the correct support was provided for them? Was it a simple change in their own teaching, someone coming in to work with the child or was the child taught separately from the class? There can be many different support methods. Schools may simply go for the most cost effective route rather than the most supportive. Taking into account the “Response to Instruction” that Gerber (2005) writes about would be very expensive for schools and there is no way of seeing how effective the trials could be in identifying disabilities since it has not been used on a large scale. Most schools would probably go without, as this would save them money and time that would involve changing the school for Response to Instruction needs, i.e. more staff, rooms and pupils leaving classes for trials.

I could attempt observing a classroom of pupils to see if spotting problems is a difficult task and to see how much observation is needed. I could do this through general observation of the class behaviour and the work of the pupils. I could also try out the two checklists in Martin’s book (2000) to see how effective they are, as they are designed to help beginner teachers to become more observant of their pupils. The first checklist looks at the class as a whole and the second one looks closely at how individual pupils interact and work. I would then write up my results to see if someone else who is familiar with learning disabilities needs to come into the schools to view a classroom while the children are working rather than taking them out of class. This would make it easier on the teachers and should hopefully be cheaper than Response to Instruction trials.

Both of these research methods could go wrong. The first issue I may face could be that teachers might not be willing to speak to me. I feel those that would speak to me for the interviews would not be honest with their answers because they may feel the need to ‘gloss over’ their answers and I would have no way of knowing if what they would be saying would be what they think they are expected to say. I also may not be able to gain a true experience of observing a class. The class pupils may feel uncomfortable with my presence and not work efficiently. If I, instead of the class teacher, were to identify a pupil that may have problems it could make the teacher look bad. Even though it can be good to get an outside view, I would also not be able to notice issues that do not appear straight away. In this case I would have to get to know many pupils and observe their work over a long time. Another main problem is that parents may not give permission to get their child’s work observed.

Practically all of these problems are unavoidable and there would not be a way of getting useful results without using the methods I have mentioned. There is no way of knowing in advance if this would work or not, but by changing the way interview questions are asked obvious and expected answers may be avoided. I would have to make sure to ask indirect questions to avoid leading the subject. This way the teachers I interviewed would be able to provide more realistic responses. Also, taking the teachers out of their school environment may make a difference in what they say.

I think researching the issue of how to detect children with disabilities would be hard to do because the research methods are most likely not to work. Every school, pupil and teacher is different so any information I find out from one school would not be the same for another. This would make it very difficult to see if any improvements are needed within schools. The only way to get good results would be to gain a larger sample of results by going to many schools and talking to many teachers. This could be time consuming, expensive due to the travel involved and pointless if I were to get no useful information. I would only be able to look into this area for official purposes.

Bibliography: -

Gerber, M., (2005), Teachers are still the test: limitations of response to instruction strategies for identifying children with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 38 (6) 516-524.

Martin, D., (2000), Teaching children with speech and learning difficulties. London: David Fulton Publishers Ltd.

Friday, 19 March 2010


Wow I actually have a free moment! Been so busy recently, was in a show and been trying to finish my jewellery work. I haven't got any photos of my work yet, as I've just been working like a mad woman to try and get it done. Sadly it wasn't finished for today, so I don't know when it will. Finished 1 brooch today though!!! Got the other 2 to finish, hopefully by next week.

Each brooch panel represents Zeus, Poseidon and Hades (sky, sea and underworld). They can be worn or can be displayed. I moved away from just the underworld idea because I wanted to make different panels, so that ment setting different stones.

Will post photos when they are complete :)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

New Project - Underworld theme

So I've decided to go rather dark for this next project. Looking through my big tangled mass of jewellery I found necklaces from my "goth" days. Haha... you know the ones where you think you look cool but you really don't. Yes... those days :P

Anyway... first of all I had to look up on religious/spiritual symbolism... not my kind of thing if I'm being honest... I have probably gone the opposite direction to most... I started thinking about hell (pleasant I know!! haha) then looked at black stones and came across Obsidian which is a natural glass (mmmm glass.... I need to remember to write up a blog about my glass work I did in highschool...) and it is said to have come from the underworld....

Recently I've just been looking up the greek mythology of the underworld. I honestly don't know where I'm going to go with this.... but we'll just have to wait and see! :)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Catwalk Project - Final Work

-my Elizabethan inspired catwalk piece-
"I wanted to produce a very unusual design. My work reflects this era with a modern twist..."

Exhibition was a success. Everyone's work looked so great on display! :D

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Development of catwalk piece

I was ment to write this blog sooner but I've been really busy!
My piece is based on a hall that was built in 1570 (during Elizabeth I's reign).
Little Moreton Hall
This image is from wikipedia (I just randomly chose it from google images to show you).

Isn't it pretty? :)
I just love the patterns and the strong contrast.

I randomly came up with this design (and others but this is the one that I thought was best). The original image of the woman was from the book Tudor Costume and Fashion by Herbert Norris.

As I started making the piece, the design changed a lot. I believe I come up with ideas better when I am playing around with materials than working in a sketchbook.

This was the model I made 2 weeks ago to get a basic idea of how to make it.
The plastic part has been flocked with black, to follow the black out line in the Moreton hall pattern (3 hours of inhaling flock was not good!). Black and white together were Queen Elizabeth's favourite colours, so I wanted to incorperate this into the piece. By using the flock it gives the piece a more textile feel. The metal collar has been etched like this:

I did not want to show the final piece yet, it is almost done....
I am modelling it tomorrow, so will upload the photos at the weekend :)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Sam Gosling: Facebook

I recently have been reading Snoop: What your stuff says about you by Sam Gosling and I managed to read most of it in 2 days! Very easy read for me, normally it would take me a few weeks to read a book that size. It is very interesting book, makes you think beyond what you see in front of you. Also found that my worrying side of my personality is double the average... which is worrying :P

Just thought I'd pass on this link of an interview published on the Facebook blog yesterday.

Facebook Blog Link

In the book I skipped past the online parts (because I was trying to analyse a bedroom not a facebook profile) but this link shows what he is looking into now for those that are interested :)

Saturday, 30 January 2010

"It becomes personal"

From reading chapter 4 of Guy Julier’s book The Culture of Design, I realised that it is better to have commissioned jewellery rather than mass produced jewellery.

Jewellery that is churned out will only have meaning if someone buys it for you. There was nothing special about it to begin with and you know many people will own the same piece.

Cheap jewellery is not significant. Whereas as a limited collection or even just one piece that is more expensive is significant. It becomes personal.

Jewellery that is commissioned is more personal. The commissioner knows or has spoken to the person that made it. It is not made for an unknown person. There is a connection between consumer and maker. This is what Ikea tried to do, where they created a relationship between consumer and production by letting the consumer build the furniture. Obviously the Ikea furniture is mass produced so there is nothing special about it, yet with commissioned jewellery it is special because it is unique.

I have a lot, and I mean a lot of junk jewellery that I’ve accumulated over the years, yet I only ever wear sentimental jewellery, not jewellery that I’ve bought myself (unless it is earrings).

Ever since I started studing jewellery & metalwork, I’ve actually stopped buying jewellery. I do not like the idea of mass produced jewellery (I’m not fully against it, I love receiving jewellery :D) and I know in a few years I’ll be able to make my own and it would be personal because I designed it. I have found myself either changing the chain, or taking off a charm on a necklace before.. it makes it different and looks better most of the time. So I think if I was to make my own jewellery it would be versatile pieces that you can change in small ways to make it fit with what you are wearing or how you personally want it to look.

I’ve gone a bit off topic…

Julier has mentioned many authors in the chapter and will try and maybe look into a couple when I find time - it just takes me ages to read and understand what I’m reading :(

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Project 3: Research

This project looks like it will be a lot of fun. Our final piece has to sit on the body in an unusual way and/or be big and bold. Catwalk pieces are ment to be different from everyday wear.

I've based my project on the Elizabethan era because it interests me the most. The big dresses, the jewellery, the architecture, ship architecture.... Theres just so many patterns aswell. Elizabeth was a good leader from what I have read and the film I saw (as research ;) ) She brought back art, music and drama. She also had a colour code for everyone as a law e.g. only royalty were allowed to wear purple. Bad way for people to be judged I must admit. If you were seen wearing a wrong colour you would get imprisoned! Its fascinating learning about the past because it came before our time and is what shaped us now.

For the last two projects I've had a few ideas in mind before I even hit the research. I wanted to get out of that so this time I've had a clear mind and I have no clue what I'm going to be
designing! Will have to see where it takes me.

Doing eching today, so should be good :)