Monday, December 14, 2009

Missed writing about Suzi's second project

Dear Suzi Fitz- Just wanted to comment on your 2nd project and realized that I missed mentioning it.

Suzi made several items from dryer sheets, silver and red thread for her 2nd project. She was able to synthesize all of these very different aspects into one very pretty design. My favorite was the broach which really took the 3 mediums and capitalized on her strong sense of design.

Can't wait to see what Suzi and Tai come up with for their final project!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

End of the semester

As we come to the end of this class I realize that I have taken on a new role or stewardship (if you will) for the planet.

I have been recycling as much as possible. When I buy produce at the store I try to see if I can get it home without a clear plastic bag , why can't it be placed right in the final paper bag that I am taking other food home in? One less piece of plastic in the world because of me.

While meeting with the employees at Kinkos I told them the premise of our class and explained why I had chosen certain products for the calendar. They listened politely and seemed interested in what we were trying to achieve.

I hope to keep thinking about ways that I can make a small difference to my minute area of the world.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the ideas and resources that my classmates have utilized in order to "Make Good" design in a sustainable and ecological way. Go Forth and Be Green:-)

Copenhagen- Climate Conference-NYT

Danish novelist Hanne-Vibeke Holst writes about the future changes to our "earth" and how we must change the way we think in order to help future generations understand the dilemma we are facing.
Prior to the climate change summit in Denmark- this novelist wrote of her worries and visions of the future if issues are not addressed now.

The other op-ed piece was from a South African playwright by the name of Zakes Mda. He discuses the eco-system downfall and the dangers that are changing the country's "Protea" flowers. Fires endanger the plants that were once abundant as the seasons have become unpredictable. A once treasureed lifestyle, plant and weather pattern have become almost extinct.

NYT- In the Month of Giving

The article discuss the power of being considerate and giving to others in large and very small ways. There is empirical evidence that the body responds in a positive way to these life changes.

A patient with Multiple Sclerosis tried the concept for a month and was found to be less symptomatic.

There have been numerous studies to back up these results. The thought is that altruism might be an antidote to stress, in contrast being self-centered may be damaging to ones health!

So keep holding doors open for others and saying hi to people on campus. You could be a walking medical miracle:-)

Environmental Chief has litle experience-NYT

After a 13 month search for a new head Mayor Blumberg chose a member of his inner circle to head this department. Caswell F. Holloway is the new head honcho.This decision has a lot of people in the field of sustainability scratching their heads.

The new Head doesn't develop environmental policy, but plays a" crucial role in shaping and enforcing policy." People in the know feel that Mr. Holloway is a quick study and excellent problem solver and should be quite capable of running a budget of over $1 billion dollars.

Group Project

Greg, Melissa and I will be working on the final project together. We will be incorporating the art that has been reproduced for the school. A calendar with the 12 winners, the final prototype of the apron/art roll, the ceramic tiles, a print made from chin cholee and a power point presentation with our design concept, and statement with research to re-enforce our premise as well as some of the kids speaking to us about their own thoughts and idea on the ppt.

Greg and I realized that we were running in parallel lines with our research for project 2 and 3. Our Design Statement:

1) To help the students express their feelings about their school and environment and the lack of natural light.

2) Engaging them in the Design Process by giving them the tools and opportunity to dream of a better world ecologically, scholastically, environmentally and emotionally.

3) Utilizing the view of their world and implementing that into the design process.

4) Most importantly introducing the students to the design concepts: META-DESIGN, EMPATHETIC DESIGN, INCLUSIVE-UNIVERSAL DESIGN and CO-DESIGN.

5) Establishing collaboration between the students and the design process

We have already gone to the school to meet the children that won the competition and Melissa, Bridgett and I ( along with Greg) had a blast painting the art onto the cafeteria walls with them. The children were, bright, creative and a pleasure to be around. It was a match made in heaven!

Tai's cardboard Jewlery

Tai has taken a disposable often overlooked product and designed an elegant line of jewelry. He has taken "Trash and made it beautiful"

The interchangeable pieces and the mixed medium make it very versatile while still relying on the actual corrugation of the product.

Tai has a unique "eye" when he in envisioning a design and he was inspired and saw many elements for his jewelry in everyday details. It was very interesting to see how he works his concept!

Trish- "ENJOY"

Trish has prototyped and re-prototyped and prototyped again and then sewn, printed and folded, and attached buttons.

From the etched glass ware and plates to the printed tablecloth and napkins everything was well thought out. She has Incorporated the theme "Enjoy" in several different languages to make people think about the social aspects of eating and the rewards of doing it in a beautifully civilized way. Great Job!

Melisaa's hand-made paper

Melissa took an idea and created a well crafted variety of handmade paper products. From the folders, to the post-it-notes she didn't miss any details!

Note only was there variety within the paper pulp, but it was also laden with seed and herbs to provided a pleasant aromatic experience. Meticulously detailed- a great job!

Plastic-Plastic-Oh Boxes!

Mandy and Elise are really onto something here. The way that they were able to re- purpose the plastic bags into beautiful boxes was amazing! There where many examples and each more interesting than the last. I must also note that their initial Brainstorming presentation was quite professional, well thought-out, easy to understand and provided us with multiple samples of their ideas. By making a sample product line we were able to ask questions, touch and feel the proposed product and offer positive suggestions.

They ideas were so finely presented from the initial concept onto the final prototype- I would definitely buy one if they were in a store!

Bridgett's #2 Project

Bridgett's project started off a little rough but gained momentum when the class brainstormed with her. She was able to come up with vessels made from pressed leaves that where biodegradable and quite attractive!

I felt that her final project was very interesting and much better than the original prototype. Her ideas and creation had come along way.

Soy Based ink vs. Linseed Oil based ink

From what I can tell both soy and linseed are natural oils that can be used in the printing process. I wasn't able to gather much research on the exact ingredients of soy based ink. Both are oil based products but not in the petroleum oil sense. They are natural by-products.

Something to think about as I continue to print.

Tiles for PS #39

Melissa and I have incorporated those same images from the children's drawings onto raw clay and have cut them into tiles. We are replicating the exact colors and designs of the students. Once they are finished firing we hope to have Greg present them to the school as possibly a way to commemorate this project and generate some money for the school.

We have continued the premise of this class by using recycled clay from the ceramics department.

PS# 39 art contest

Greg did a great job of encouraging the students in his school to participate in this project. The drawings that were presented in class are nothing short of amazing and the imagination of these kids is fantastic. I will be transferring some of the images to linoleum and then after cutting them out printing them onto paper, I will be able to demonstrate the possibilities.

Class Brainstorming for 2nd project

I will attempt to utilize Jan's idea and place grommets on the top corners so that the students can wear it as an apron and put the supplies in the pockets and then roll it up when they are done. It was also noted that I should consider placing the image of the window on the inside of the roll since that will be facing out when the kids are wearing it!

Connect the Dots- project #2

I have gone forward with the idea of creating art-rolls that the students can keep art pens, brushes etc. in. The organic 100% cotton-canvas material will be the fabric that I use for this. After making the Lino-cut and printing with linseed oil based ink on the fabric I will sew it together, attached cords for tying it shut and present the prototype to the class.

recapping the 60 minutes Coal-Ash conundrum

Early this semester I watched a show with Leslie Stahl on 60 minutes concerning the by-product of harvested coal. This product is referred to in the industry as "Fly-Ash". It's many ingredients include arsenic, thalidomide, uranium, thorium. These by-products are toxic to our lungs, the water ways which cross into our homes, plants and animals.

Following that segment I found an article concerning "Switchgrass replacing coal at Power Plants" by Ariel Schwartz featured in FASTCOMPANY/Ethonomics.

The article suggested plant based solutions to keep the byproducts from literally flying into the air and away from the mining and deposit sights. The idea was to stabilize the ground with switchgrass and to help insure ground deposit stability and prevent future run-off problems which had been disastrous in the past.

FreecycleBaltimore is a grass roots non-profit organization with almost 5000 groups world-wide with over 6.8 million member. Everything must be free with the direct intent of keeping our landfills empty:-)