Sunday, November 16, 2008

AAR : Design Problem 2; Social Design

  • Overall form I created with the rings.
  • The finish on the rings.
  • Variety in the bottles used, not just one works for everyone, like the element of choice there.
  • The polishing of the cut edge, finding a better polishing compound 
  • Packaging: Either a better alternative, or higher quality tag
  • More ways to modify the rings.
  • If the rings were able to be easily sized.
  • I could figure out how to cut a bangle from the same bottle as the ring to go together.
Overall I was very happy with the end result of this project and it is something I want to explore a bit more.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pomegranate findings

Ok so this time I was extremely meticulous with my die forming process; I couldn't afford to set myself up for failure again, so I worked a long time to get my die as nice as I possibly could (and did not use one drop of glue, just roughly half a roll of 3M painter's tape)  Then I started my test pressings, one set in copper, and one in bronze, it took a while to really get the shape going, and sadly 3 of my 4 initial test plates broke through on their 8th pressing (5500 psi and natural rubber = bad idea)  My main problem I've encountered is the top section of the die, I'm getting nice volume in the circular area, but the edges are hard to catch.  So I'm planning on wedging some natural rubber bits cut to fit the die and press with them inside once the form outline shows itself at a standstill in that area.  I bought some rough garnets to act as the seeds.  I'm still trying to figure out all of the right design choices, but I'm glad with how things are progressing thus far.  I think the hinge will be my biggest hurdle yet to come.

Social Design: Subject matter, good German design

Thank you Germany...for your beer and amazing packaging!  So basically I've been chopping off the tops of beer bottles and wine bottles galore to make rings, then grinding, sanding, filing, and polishing like crazy, but I'm LOVING it.  I've also been "bottle scoping" almost annoyingly so, I avoided trying to sneak a bunch of beer bottles from my family get together last night at a restaurant (they weren't very cool anyway)  BUT speaking of cool, I raided Kyle's recycling and empty bottles throughout the house, and found some remnants from the German party, haha, they brought beer, and lots of it, so I found some more fun bottles to attack.

I'm not sure if nuns in Germany sit around shooting the shit and drinking beer, but I couldn't stop laughing, this is definitely going up for design studio.
This bottle had a pretty awesome label, I carefully ripped it off, and its going in my sketchbook.

But the best part of this is the bottle tops, I've found 3 different German beer bottles and they all have these tops, a lot more interesting than screw tops and wine bottle tops that I've been finding.  I've made myself the first prototype ring with a brown bottle like this and have been wearing it for the last few days, but I'm really excited that I found a green bottle like that, even more fun!  I'm really liking this project, and its something that I could keep doing easily as I collect more bottles.  Luckily, there's still some of the beer left in the fridge, now I just need to employ someone to drink it.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Google images is great, look what I found, I can't get enough of this! This is just awesome, I've lately added "cacti" to my list of obsessions. So; coral, chandeliers, and now saguaro cactus.  I came across this a bit ago when researching my current social design topic: up-cycling.  This is a 9' high cactus created from recycled green glass beer bottles, barbed wire, and welded steel.  It was created by some glass artists in New Mexico, Robbin's Ranch Art Glass.  I find it their most interesting and innovative piece, it is their logo created into sculpture.  I really love this piece, I want one, a little pin made like this would be so much fun!  So here's a good example of up-cycling as an art form, and it is very successful.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

AAR : DIY/Guerilla Tactics

  • Overall graphic quality of the book; simple set up, uniformed writing format/template, visually appealing balance of text and images.
  • Quick to the point and concise information/guidelines
  • Size 
  • Bit more information presented in the same concise form.
  • Covering coping with the emotional element of disaster as a topic.
  • Even more sustainable materials used.
  • Distributing more on a wide scale, to encompass colleges as well
  • Interactive notes page that could have space to customize with important names, numbers, evacuation site plans, and local help organizations .
What If's:
  • The cover was constructed out of plexiglass or hard and sustainable cover with a photo transfered image.
  • A large poster, whole page layout version of the book on one sheet, could be given to the agencies I distributed the books to so that they could post it for display in their headquarters.
  • I could create a mass scale and send them to colleges that are in "risk areas" for out of touch or those uneducated on hurricanes.
  • I could have created a pin to coincide with the book and sent a few different versions depicting various stages of the hurricane along with the books. ( I REALLY wish I would have had enough time to create 20 pins that could have gone with the books as well)
Overall, I'm very happy with the work I did, I feel there's room exploration and distribution of these books that could have many different options, but I'm proud of the end result I came up with.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New York Trip Re-cap

Here's some examples of what really stood out in my mind from New York:

At Moss I found one of my new favorite metalsmiths; Georg Dobler.  I thought his stuff was gorgeous.  I love the color of the metal in relation to his stones (same aesthetic as some of my favorite Karl Fritsch pieces, makes me want to make an oxidized silver piece with a huge stone from inspiration)  The true to life form of the beetles was very nice, but the flower piece was my favorite, by far, then I found the first image on top, which i love even more, I love organic form!
I swear I'm not violent, but I'm kind of obsessed with the AK-47 form, and I REALLY would love one of these lamps, created by Philippe Stark
One of my obsessions besides coral, are chandeliers, and Moss was packed with some great ones, this one was just amazing,  Hans Harald Rath created this one and it comes in 3 different sizes.

Here are some examples from MAD that I really liked. 
Ruth Radacovich created this ring.  I love big rings, and I would kill to own this one,  its almost coral (making me love it even more) I love the whole design; it wouldn't be as successful if the stone was set in the bulk of the ring.  This ring makes me want to cast a bunch of stuff!
Emiko Suo - This picture does not do this piece justice,  in real life it was stunning and so delicate.  The different metals paired great against each other and the hair-thin strings made it very interesting.
Ruth Tomlinson - These earrings were very nice, reminded me of lilly of the valley, one my mothers favorite flowers, the different colors utilized in the rings and earrings (coral reds, and light blues were very nice)  Overall a very marketable piece.
These cut out bags were INSANE.  How you could even figure out to cut them out is beyond me and the great detail that they went to was unreal, so tiny, yet so defined at once, even though it was most likely lasercut it is still gorgeous.  The different color bags were interesting.  Yuken Teruya created this series.
Tara Donovan created this button sculpture,  I liked it since it reminded me of a coral branch from a far.  So anything that even slightly resembles coral = LOVE.  I would never want to make it, but it was nice to look at!

Overall I loved the places I went, didn't love the rain, humidity, or the pretzel that made me severely nauseated all day.  I bought some cool stuff at the MoMA store, another acrylic "diamond" ring and the little Munny statue, I'm looking forward to coloring it in.  

Soho was just amazing, of the many times I've been to NY this was my first venture to Soho, and I definitely need to go back for at least a whole day there, so much to see.  Between the galleries here and there and the one of a kind boutiques were amazing, and I really want to go shop at the Rugby store we passed on University Place.  I love the whole look of Soho, a nice change from the midtown Manhattan sky scrapers, tons of character, and life, and the graffiti alone is reason to go back, I'm pissed I had my crappy camera with me!  And I love how the street vendors aren't hocking fake purses, tourist photo prints, and cheap scarves, but rather handmade jewelry.  There was one vendor who I was in awe of, gigantic cocktail rings right up my alley, he designs some pieces for Anthropologie.  Lots of silver, some bronze, and a gigantic stone, all with their own character and personality, truly fun, but I liked a $450 and $360 of course.   I could not find anything I loved and wanted under $150 that day so I gave up on a pretty new piece of jewelry.  I fell in love with a bracelet in the MAD store created by Xeno Glassworks, but I didn't want to splurge early on in the day, and I wish I would have because I really loved the piece, I'm finally coming around to bracelets, and this one was great!  So New York was fun but I need a weekend set aside for Soho, hopefully I'll get the time soon, definitely before it gets really cold, within the next month or so.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DIY/Guerilla Hurricane Books

For my project I created a quick booklet with some information on what to expect and guidelines for hurricanes.  I made it with the premise that it was something small and to the point that could be taken with ease if need be.  I didn't have much "in situ" to document but above are just a couple of pictures of the finished books and then all packaged up to be sent to various locations of Louisiana and Texas at local chapters of The American Red Cross and The United Way.  Somehow my mailing pictures are missing (due to me dropping the camera prior and them not saving on my card, but in the camera battery, so smart!! But as soon as I can retrieve them I will add them in this post, not too exciting but still part of the process.)  I created my books with InDesign, my first run at the program, and I wish I had pictures of me crying at the computer every 5 seconds.  In retrospect it was probably better than my first choice of PhotoShop but it was a good learning experience and in the end creating a much better product. I sent them off with a little letter and background on the project, hopefully I'll receive some responses and feedback from them, that would make it all rewarding on my part. I'm sure I could also create a read-online version from my PDF file on a blog type website open for further input, that way the information is out there and people could print it for theirselves at their leisure.  I really enjoyed this project, it was fun, I learned some new things.  Ideally if these ended up being helpful, and that I could compile some more in depth help and guides I would love to create them with something like Blurb Books so they could be bought when wanted, perhaps on a donation type basis.  I'm happy with my end result, even though my more sustainable materials, like Tyvek paper didn't lend  much help, the book is still pretty durable and waterproof, with the small on the go and lightweight size.  Overall I'm very happy with my turnout on this project, I'd love to add some more to it at a later time, and further explore ways to shed light on this social issue.  

Friday, September 26, 2008

AAR : Deconstruct/Reconstruct.

  • Implementing brass plates into the die; I worked very hard for symmetrical dies, but felt even with immense attention to detail and work at filing and correcting flaws, the brass plates helped with human error.
  • Overall chasing force/weight.  Not too hard; not too easy, could be more fine-tuned, but overall a uniformed quality; easier to deal with in the long run
  • Trial and error - I wasn't afraid to push the metal to the limit; I tried out the natural rubber on my pieces; something I had yet to do in tests; that technique also helped to mend an accidental hammer blow while chasing.  It wasn't the greatest time to try out a new variable, but it worked, and now I will add it into the process for my next project to get even more volume.
  • Get the die right first THEN glue together.  I came up with a very precise; symmetrical, and easily manipulated form for my exercise.  However I did not start with brass plates, only added after the masonite modification to fit the plexi, which lead to a series of modifications and design tweak.  
  • Create better templates for cutting die to cut down on many variables
  • Go with better form
  • Decking technique - work and filing/sanding to fit better; show less glue/gaps; blend together
  • Cutting die/ die forms efficiently, larger overall die. I'd rather not have such a tiny form,  it made it a lot harder to cut and manipulate.
What Ifs:
  • Correct die formation process; that would have lead to the more interesting end result/form
  • Better bonding techniques applied.
  • If the die was a bit larger scale I feel I could have gotten a much better outcome.
  • My first 2-3 forms were by far the most successful, well constructed pieces all around. They were the best pressed sheets, chased better than the rest, cut to size, and not painfully hard to combine, with little sanding to fit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Iconic Design

Here are some instances I think of when I hear the words "Iconic Design"

Coke Bottles
The "Bird's Nest" Beijing
Ikea Poang Chair
Hanging Ball Chairs
Energy Efficient Bulbs
Chrysler Building (top)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Horrible Day!

This whole week has been very stressful, but today takes the cake as the worst day in a while.  My boyfriend's dog, basically my 3rd dog was put to sleep.  I really wish she could have at least gone to a rescue where someone could take the time to train her and break her bad habits, but instead she is gone.  It's very hard, in less than 2 years I became just as attached to her as my own dogs, she was like my own, and treated me the same way.  Even if she would squash you on a bed while you sleep, whack you with her tail violent with excitement, play swat you with her paw, or drool on you like theres no tomorrow, some of it was funny.  I even put it past her that she tried killing us both on the way home by jumping to the front of my car and slamming the gear into neutral, then trying to sit on my lap, in traffic; on a hill!  And Kyle and I can laugh hysterically at the fact she pooped all over his back seat on the way home from Petco, although at the time we hated life having to clean that out!  I was planning on blogging about 4-5 amazing ideas and things in my mind today, but I'm done mentally, I need the weekend.  I know tonight is going to be very hard.  I'm crying again just thinking about this.  I just saw her yesterday at work and played with her and hugged her and let her lick my face even, and its sad to think thats the last time I ever got to see her...I will really miss Lilly, even though she didn't quite get along with my Brooklyn, that was still good entertainment.  I love you Lilly!  Here's some cute pictures I found on my computer, and I have more pictures of her on my phone than I do of my animals!

Happy Halloween!!
Valentine's Day

Sleeping at the office; just a normal day's work for Lilly
Bad manicure, all daddy's fault!!!
Wanting my lunch more than I wanted it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Connecting the Dots - Social Design

I started my Connecting the Dots as a document, and since I'm not able to copy and paste here very well I've thrown in my images of the preliminary research work.

Furthermore I'll describe my creative process in a broad view.  Many things spawn my creative process, anywhere from magazine clippings, photos I've snapped, while reading, music, tv, news, existing objects I own or see out and about, even people, so basically anything is fair game for inspiration.  I can't control when ideas pop in my head, many times I will be in class listening to a demo or discussion and one little thing will spark in my mind and if I try to suppress the thought, its just like gasoline to fire.  I'll run with it and jot down what's going on in my head along with my notes.  I never abandon a thought; once something makes sense even in the least bit in my head I need to record it immediately before its lost forever.  For that reason I always have some form of notebook in my purse; if not multiples.  If by chance I don't or my purse isn't on me, I'm almost always certain to be holding my cell phone; which the notes come in severely handy.  I've got many lists in my phone, just looking now to name a few: Google This, iTunes, Jewelers, Books, Plexiglass, General Ideas.  Then I'll jot in the respective category what I'm thinking and save it and go back later and then firm it up by jotting it down in a notebook and then disposing of the reminders.  I frantically type in my phone ALOT.  People think I'm either insane or being insanely rude as I normally type away while they're talking or explaining something to me, when I get the questioning looks I explain I'm not cutting them off, I'm still there, but I've got something I need to get down so I won't forget it before I respond to them (my family and boyfriend just LOVE this, I'm constantly doing this while talking to my mom when were out, and the the "finished yet?" incessantly)  I love the quote on the direction sheet saying if need be buy another purse if you need to in order to contain a sketchbook.  That's going to be my next excuse, because I ALWAYS want a new purse, they're my simple (and guilty) pleasure in life.  If I give my mom that line she might shoot me in the head, but I'm running with it, thanks Jan! But seriously, my purse is usually filled with little notes or ideas on ripped out note pages or in the pockets of my wallet.  I even have a post-it pad in my car; not too safe, but it's ok at red lights.  I tend to snap a ton of pictures as I'm driving; if its pretty out driving down the road it puts me in the best frame of mind (if no idiot drivers are surrounding me, or else it could be gorgeous but I'm too annoyed to care)  So I take pictures as I drive hoping some of that will translate when I get the chance to look at it later, and most of the time I love the results, good and bad.  Thats a quick set of what sets of my creativity, anytime, anywhere, anything, and once the bug hits me I run with it and jot it down, and later I'll either pursue, expand on, or trash the ideas, but at least I keep track of as much as possible.

Arthur Hash is AMAZING!!!!!

"This stuff is so cool"  I wonder how many times I said that in the last 3 hours or so!

Ok so I just looked at my phone and went "holy shit its 10:00 is that possible?" I was at school for roughly 13 hours then came home and talked like crazy for an hour with my mom about Arthur Hash.  Sadly, I was hoping to come home to my plexiglass, because on top of my ideas I'm crazy inspired and excited after listening to Arthur Hash talk.

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE casting, probably my favorite metal working technique (that I have learned) by far.  But I'm also drawn to the acrylic jewelry and casted 2 part plastics.  I did some experimenting with that last year, and I need some more work but its fun and effective.  And die forming made me want to make my own plexi creations.  Far end of the spectrum of casting, but I love the look.

Arthur's stuff was just so great!  I love all of it, and he is just such a cool person, so funny, and down to earth, very nice, and upfront about everything; such a great thing to hear!  I like all the different materials he utilizes, reminded me of our alternative materials project in metalsmithing.  The hot glue necklace was gorgeous.  But I LOVE all of his brooches.  The whole series from the digital photos was so ingenious; I love the installation display.  The pink chainsaws were so much fun too!  (Can't wait to see what our new powder coating machine can do!!! Now I'm REALLY excited for that demo!)  And the mixers; come on, that was just too cool.  I'm jealous I really want one.  The forms are so simple, yet effective.  I've been sketching what I want from my plexi creations and I'm striving for that same simple yet graphic quality; the 2D aspect works so well with the objects!  I'm only more inspired now. And when I saw the machine gun image in the slideshow I was so excited; I'm still not beyond making my red AK-47/guns charm bracelet (funny thing is my crappy first try Michael's resin ones are actually dry now, only how many months too late for Blood Diamonds!)  So one of my sketches is an array of guns, planned out for the red plexi.

So here are just a few pictures of some of my favorite pieces.  I absolutely love the ring thats plastic cured in the bag; I would definitely wear that.  (I'm such a ring freak, just bought a new poppi ring this week!  I have so many rings I can't keep track of which ones to wear)  The form in that is so awesome, like Jeff Koons' balloon animals, I love the crinkles and seams in the bag as well as the transparent coloring.  And of course the pop out ring; I immediately pulled up the etsy site to see if I could buy one of these, unfortunately they aren't up on there; but they are so great!  Hopefully they'll go back up.  I really hope he does get ACC; I'm sure I'll be shelling out some serious money! This was one of the best experiences and most excited I've been about making my own stuff for a while, I feel like its all coming full circle and by the end of this semester I'll have many more skills and will be cranking out some stuff for my personal portfolio/collection that are of nice defined skills to be proud of.  Tonight was awesome, great info, inspiration, and cake (thanks Liz!!!)

Now I'm just bummed out that my plexi isn't here; I'm sure it will come when I'm away for the weekend in Deep Creek, but then I'll come home with even more ideas, since that ALWAYS inspires me up there; it is so beautiful!  I'll be blogging some more in a few minutes for social design; I'm on a roll tonight.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Social Design: Hurricanes

Lately there have been many social issues that require a huge amount of focus in the "social/people induced issues" realm, but as human beings thats something we have the power to control, what we can not control is nature. As I keep skimming the papers and online news outputs the one thing that sticks out to me is all of the Hurricanes and Tropical Storms, within the last 2 weeks we've had Gustav, Hanna, and Ike.  I just can't get beyond all of it and I keep thinking of what I could do as a response, at first for my personal want, even before being presented with the premise of the Social Design class, but now it just makes so much more sense.    Even last Saturday we felt some (VERY mild) effects of Hanna in our area.  Its always odd to have this happen in a place like Maryland.  Yet we've had a few hurricanes hit through the Chesapeake within the last 10 years that caused many problems, even cancelled school, very odd.

But on Saturday after I got home from class my mom's boyfriend told me that Grand Turk had been demolished by Ike.  We had just been there at the end of July and it is just shocking to hear that it's all in disarray.  I checked up on CNN to find articles about it.  Nearly every building on the tiny island sustained damage.  The island is only roughly 6-7 miles long by 2 miles wide.  The storm hit at a category 4 level, sustaining winds up to 135 mph.  Grand Turk relies on tourism as a main source of revenue.  The damages are a huge hit to the economy.  The cruise companies will not be able to enter port for weeks if not months, after the damage has cleared.  Grand Turk is the capital island of Turks and Caicos where many people work for the government or at the resort locations.  The outlying islands were not affected as much, but it's crucial to rebuild quickly to get a money flow back into the economy.  The estimated number of tourists for the cruise industry alone will drop dramatically, loosing a great deal of money on top of the estimated over $10 million.  There are around 3000 people that live on the small island, and 80% of homes were damaged to some extent.  Plus Hanna had also ravaged the island, killing at least 167.  Ike also hit Cuba, caused major flooding through Haiti.  To me it is so surreal that only a short bit ago I was sitting on the beach at the outskirt of the island under a huge palm tree feeling like I was in the one of the most beautiful places in the world.  The island is so small!  It was by chance we went there, we were destined for Tortola, but we would fight the current and use up too much fuel so Grand Turk was an easier route at the last minute.  The island has no outer protection, it actually is home to the largest ocean drop off in the world, only 300 yards out from shore the ocean floor drops from 30 feet to over 7000 feet.  I was never so peaceful and relaxed than laying on the beach or swimming out in the ocean.  There are also beautiful opportunities to see beautiful coral reefs (and with my coral obsession I'm surprised I passed it all up!)  My cousins swam with huge sting rays on the other side of the island as I waded in the ocean.  My aunts and uncles sat at Margaritaville watching crazy contests and drinking insanely overpriced pina coladas ($9.50 for a tiny cup, but it was good!) My mom watched a surf simulator wave thing, and shopped at Ron Jon, one of her favorite places after going to 2 in Florida with me.  I walked into many little shops, and saw a massage hut right at the corner of the island watching out over the ocean.  And to think now that all of that is not the same in such a short time is baffling.  Sure we have political problems, wars, and social misconceptions left and right in this world, but thats controllable (yet we have no good solutions there either) but this is uncontrollable.  Severe weather sets its path, ruins anything in its way, and we're left to pick up the pieces, and it is never easy.

Back in 2004 I personally experienced a hurricane.  We were dropping my boyfriend off for college in Florida, just 20 minutes outside of Cocoa Beach.  We stayed for a week and were about to leave to come home when Hurricane Charley was expected to make landfall right where we were, obviously we didn't want to leave Kyle to fend for himself and rush home to Baltimore, so we were staying.  My parents and rest of his family were scared to death because all over the national news was stating that it was headed straight for us.  The day the hurricane came through was seriously the most beautiful day I've ever seen.  My best friend and I spent the day on the beach until we were sick of the saltwater, then moved to the pool.  We started to play volleyball on the beach and by the time we were through a few games the sky had started turning dark, it was an odd greenish color which later turned to black in a matter of minutes.  The storm had taken a new path and hit land on the other side of, yet it quickly swept through towards Orlando, not far from us.  We had filled the tub with clean water and bought a ton of food.  We were told by the hotel that the town is under evacuation, yet many of the shelters are already full, but we could still be evacuated even further out at any time if the need arose.  My parents kept calling scared to death, but we were ok.  The storm was bad, we held a sheet out on the balcony to watch the wind's strength and direction it whipped around so fast and changed directions violently.  At that point we were joking around and taking pictures, but within an hour we could not even stand outside. In the distances we watched teal blue flashes left and right, all of the transformers blowing out.  The storm was bad, but our hotel was fine.  The next day as the storm calmed we planned to head out, as we drove home we only ran through more and more storms and huge amounts of damage and detours.  We were lucky, but the Category 4 storm horribly damaged other areas.  I kept visiting my boyfriend every few months and 2 other times we'd experienced more hurricane after-affects.  Then a year later as I was down visiting again Hurricane Katrina was pounding New Orleans, I was so shocked and upset.  We just sat silent and watched TV coverage for hours in utter shock.  We went out and grabbed all kinds of newspapers and were just baffled at how horrible the conditions were.  It made what was very scary and threatening to us 1 year before seem like a little rain shower.  Now 3 years later Gustav came through the same areas.  There are new storms brewing, and hurricane season stretches on for months yet to come.  These people need our help immediately, it is one thing that really touches my heart and makes me want to reach out any way I can.  In highschool my best friend and I, along with some others, came up with a way to help with Katrina Aid.  We jumped on the whole "Livestrong" bracelet trend (at the perfect timing, right when they were the HOTTTTTTTTTT thing to have/support)  So we used our school colors and got Katrina bracelets made and sold them at school.  We raised a good bit of money and all felt so great that we had helped in even the smallest way.  We also donated boxes and boxes of food, clothing, and many school supplies and books to help out.  To me doing things rewarding or donating money makes me feel so great, even if it is only $1.  

No matter what people ALWAYS need aid in these situations, I really want to tackle this social issue in some way, not sure yet, but hopefully in a means that I could raise more awareness and possibly money to donate to rebuilding and relief funds to those who really need help.  I've got some easy ideas, maybe not great ones, but I'll iron that out later.  But since Saturday I've immersed myself into hurricane coverage mode.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

CAUTION: Danielle on Caffeine

I rarely drink coffee, I love the taste but it tends to make me sick.  If i drink iced coffee I'm ok though. So this morning I took a huge tumbler of iced coffee to my Saturday morning class. Then on the way home I stopped at Starbucks to grab something to eat quick, and a smoothie with 2 shots of espresso (bad move, should have known by the look on the girls face when I ordered it)  Needless to say I'm wired, came home and went through all my new books for school, and talked endlessly.   Then all kinds of ideas started flowing as I was going through my die forming samples and explaining it all to my mother.   

This is haphazard but anyway; I thought cutting plexiglass would be hell, but it wasn't at all.  I've always been attracted to clear/see through objects forever, and plexiglass/acrylics are no exception.  I love its uses and I have some great jewelry from it and its counterparts (see my Opulent Project earring post, AWESOME!) Another good example is Alex + Chloe, I have their Kate Moss necklace, but I just love all of their stuff, simple, easy, and fun! - check it Then I started thinking on what I could do with it myself, immediately I thought of Ponoko, but that was too direct for me; I want to get my hands dirty and do it myself the old fashion way; jump right in!  I was trying to think how I could utilize this for a current project; but didn't rack my brain too hard, I figure I'll use this more to make stuff for the sales and whatnot, then came the frantic sketchbook grab and listing the possible subjects and quick doodles.  Then I googled colored plexiglass and found a site called Estreetplastics which has a great array of great priced options, so I'm definitely ordering a vast variety of colors and going to play and run with my ideas (for $3-6 a sheet how could I resist?) The more I think the more excited I get.  Just thought I'd share my impulse wave of creativity on this rainy saturday!

Now the coffee's caught the bad of me, now I'm really shaky, but thankfully not nauseated like usual, but still a nut, I think I could go run a marathon (in the rain) So I'm about to go eat with my boyfriend, then I'm dragging him to Home Depot to buy some plexiglass to play around with, then later I'm sure I'll take myself even more broke ordering the fun stuff!  All thanks to hydraulic dye forming; there's a new insight on my creative process; the wacky tangents I go on, but I think this one could lead me somewhere for once!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Creative Caffeine

I wanted to take pictures of the main hub of the oil the gas pumps themselves.  I would snap pictures as I was driving by, or as I was putting gas in my car at various stops.  Of course the day I didn't have my camera I drove past a gas station while 3 huge trucks were sitting re-filling the tanks, unfortunately I never came across that event again, but here are some pictures I caught, especially the gas pumps to get a first hand look than just going off of print outs.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Downward Spiral - Catching Up

Since Friday I have been sick as a dog, yet I never allow myself to give in to bodily weakness and try to push through against all odds.  After work Friday I did nothing but sleep, when I woke up Saturday I was even worse but found the energy to do some test plastic pours (which weren't completely successful :( but a learning experience)  Saturday got worse and worse, leading to a 'family emergency' (for once not my family, but my "2nd family") sleepover at my house with my bestfriend and boyfriend (brother and sister) I always end up having to tend to others when I need to dwell on myself.  Now its Monday, I called out sick, I've given my lovely sickness to my boyfriend as well and I'm beyond run down.  Of course this only happens when I'm in the end of the semester jam...

I've been horribly behind with blogging for the materials project so this will be my crash course, with my creative caffeine to follow in the next post.  This time I tried to jump in the deep end immediately with my waxes and maquettes, allowing my research to evolve and shape my processes along the way, I found all of the assigned readings so profound and interesting.  I'll give a minute tid-bit here and there to my family on my findings and realize how out of touch our world is.  People have no idea about these issues and its taken at shock value when even the least of the findings is revealed to them.  I'm finding myself more and more into further research from the things we learn in class.  I've bought enough books on blood diamonds to fuel my beach/pool raft lounging reading sessions all summer long.  I love to find subject that impassion me, they're the ones that spawn so much creativity....ANYWAY, heres my synopsis on my newly acquired knowledge:

New York Times Multimedia Presentations
-The quote "without gold it is not a wedding" speaking of Indian wedding customs where the bride purchases pieces for herself and baubles for all of the women in the wedding party, really struck a cord, in America the saying should go "without mass amounts of diamonds it is not a wedding"  so much of the focus on the love bond in a wedding is placed on these precious materials, the bigger, the shinier, the better.  The more of these riches is a statement on the wealth, why must we use these materials that rip apart the earth and detriment societies to show immense love and care?  We're told a diamond is forever, set in gold the statement is backed like the nations currency system (or lack of this gold and weak dollar in today's society) yet many of these marriages end in divorce, but the environmental impacts of extractions of these materials stay forever, and many irreversible.  The gold today can be called "dirty gold" because of the environmental damages and impacts.

Ethics of Materials
The second I read this article about the use of ivory I immediately thought to an ivory slab necklace my mom owns.  I was always in her jewelry box from a young age to find the "prize of the day" which thing or large number of pieces I would slap on to go to school or play.  I was NEVER allowed to touch or play with the ivory necklace and looking at it would impose her saying "that is very special, it is real ivory, don't touch that." To me I had no idea what that meant, what ivory was, but I got the stigma that it was something bad, and I was afraid to even look at it.  Even when she would wear it upheld this reverence to it, refrained from touch and never asked questions.  She stopped wearing this and thinking back after I learned about ivory in school I wondered if she did this in guilt.  Again I never talked about it.  When I read this article I talked to her about it and asked if thats the reason she stopped wearing it, which I figured it was.  She responded that she simply couldn't find it and lost its chain so its been sitting in her drawer for years, but she said that even though it is a horrible thing it is a beautiful piece because you can see the patterns and swirls in it.  Her necklace pendant is about 1 1/4 inch long by 1/2 inch wide, and to me even that amount seems horrible.  She received it as a gift, like most jewelry, and wore it with pride for its simplicity and beauty.  It just makes me think beauty, yes, but at what price?

The Price of Gold
This article was so eye-opening and shocking, as I read through it I highlighted what seemed pertinent to my grasp and understanding, by the end the bulk of the article is neon yellow with few words left untouched.  The sense of all the damages to the earth are unfixable seems horrible, whether its cyanide, mercury, acid mine drainage, or riverline and submarine tailings disposal it can not be counteracted, nor can it seep into the earth and break down.  Is harm to the earth, animals, and in turn humanity worth the waste to have a status symbol around your neck, wrist, or finger as a sign of vanity and wealth.  I'm a voracious seafood consumer, I could live off sushi alone and was raised out on the water fishing and crabbing with my father and grandfather, it was a way of life and routine.  Going fishing is one of my favorite things to do, being out on the water is a dream, one of my life aspirations is to buy myself a boat and one for my father.  The process of fishing, then to come home and skin and clean the fish, filet it, and cook it to enjoy is my favorite childhood memory.  My dad would always explain the importance of cooking the fish to eliminate some toxins and not to eat too much fish because of the mecury, at a young age mercury meant nothing more than the liquid in the thermometers that I broke and was screamed at not to touch and leave be for my parents to clean.  As you get older its what there's far too much of in the sushi and should avoid eating it at all costs.  Im sure I'm one of the 8% of women that have a risk for neurological damage in their offspring.  I should most likely stop eating fish for the next 10 years in hopes of ever becoming pregnant without imminent threats.  I was so surprised to learn that mining is the cause of the amounts of mercury in fish, how it is stored in organic matter and animal fat.  95% of the mercury used in gold mining goes into the environment.  It was shocking to find that some regions can not eat the fish in the local waterways due to mercury levels.  Also 30% of miners exceed the allowable mercury levels from the World Health Organization in Brazil.    Even beyond the mercury problem it was very interesting to learn how bad the mining industry is on the health of the miners, the condition of the earth being utilized as mines, and all of the effects.  I was shocked to find that the gold mines in Nevada consume more water than all of the states population annually.  I could go on for days explaining how much this article impacted me to get more informed on the issue, to learn more, and this swayed me into my topic of oil extraction, which has many environmental damages but it ripping the world's society at the seams causing wars and mass destruction as well as economic impacts and downfalls.  There are many parallels between the two all while the search of a "natural" resource, we apply very unnatural contexts and practices to rip out our 'prizes' leaving the earth with open wounds that can be seen from space, what good comes from that?

Some Groundwork
Ron Graziani's interpretation was open and vague, leaving one to wonder and take at bay their own interpretation while shedding light. He created a show around this and this article really lead me to think on the forever concept "art for art's sake"  There are ethical consequences with any ideology.  The ideology can be scientific, artistic, or for social reasons, but there are implications in each pathway and approach.  He says "artistic meaning is always a tale of civic struggle.  Without context artistic life becomes inert."   There is much truth to this I often come up with an idea in my mind that is just mere design and taken at face value can be pretty, but where is the meaning; there isn't it is devoid and just becomes a cookie cutter for consumerism.  You take it as an object thats pretty, mass produce it as a product, slap a price tag on it, and live off of its consumers, but the meaning and passion of art is lost. Art is full of meaning, you can not have a work in a show and have no sense of its meaning, there needs to be a story; a logic; a jumpoint, whether its profound or abstract there's always a meaning.  Without that context and meaning, why call it art, it looses its art context and fails without that.  "Art comes to life in the specifics of a context." I feel like I walk this struggle a lot with the whole jewelry context.  Commercial jewelry is everywhere, that path is a shoe-in, you're almost destined to success from any consumer market, people will buy shiny, pretty things as tokens of love, or dazzle to accentuate.  But art jewelry has meaning, the vast public will not "get-it"  but their is an unmistaken beauty and essence to the art jewelry.  It has so much more life and vigor; its a much more fun realm.  Yet designers walk the tightrope balance of what is commercial and what is art and how to create they're pieces with what percentage of art and consumer to find the perfect balance that will bring a profit and make a living.  This article made me keep focus on the message and context I want to create in my piece; a unique appeal, a story, and an aesthetic quality of beauty in the void that is the oil industry from all aspects.

overall I learned a lot through the research and felt a stigma, I love jewelry obviously, and like to adorn myself on a day to day basis on mood, feeling, and what I'm wearing, if there is ever a day I stop this consideration and care to this without it influencing my creativity and designs I would be scared and need to turn to a new life path.  In commercial jewelry its either silver or gold.  For years I only would wear and buy silver, but lately I fell in love with gold again, after taking this all in I'm like "great lets become obsessed and consumed with something thats killing our earth and imposes more problems than the beauty it reflects"  Its the same double-ended sword as the blood diamond plight.  Unfortunately with the high demand of gold, not only for jewelry, but money, investments, and the status surrounding it I can not see the public going against it any time soon, or even the vast majority knowing the detriments it forms, but at least I know and have spread my little amount of knowledge to others, and that is a help, as long as people are informed over their self indulgent impulses it is a step in the process of restraints and reforms in the gold mining practices.

Monday, April 7, 2008

i LOVE Murakami...tons of pictures!!!

on the way...

Manhattan Bridge...hanging out the sunroof taking pictures was fun!

^ getting closer!!!
^ cool buildings
^ fun door and graffiti into someones apartments
^ fun fire escapes
^ Loved the green/rusty building
^ Cherry blossoms in the museum parking lot
^ And the fun begins....huge sculpture in the lobby, I love this little mad guy!...only photos I got to take, no pictures allowed in the exhibit, although I found a bunch online this morning and they're later on...

^ SO COOL!!!!

;^ Diamond District...didn't get to go through, my mom wanted to leave :(  Below are the pics I found online that someone snapped at the exhibit
Eyelove Superflat - awesome in person!  I always liked this with the eyes and have this on my computer, but in person the black background is actually covered with glitter, so fun!
^ this was a great sketch of a huge work on another wall near by, I loved that this was here because I love to see the planning artists put into their works, this had all kinds of notes and scribbles among it, plus it was about 30 pieces of paper taped together and severely crumbled up, great juxtaposition to the perfectly polished pics on the walls!
^ one of my favorites Tan Tan Bo Puking aka Gero Tan
^ Another favorite (speaking of 'favorites' every time I turned a corner and walked into a new room I would exclaim "Oh my God, mom come here this is my absolute favorite"  After the 7th or 8th time I said that she just cracked up and said I obviously had no idea what an absolute favorite meant, apparently I had way too many favorites!)  This would be And Then and then and then and then (Red) Takashi Murakami's creation Dob character is pictured. 
^ my goodies that I bought, I had to ask for the big Jellyfish Eyes bag, because I only bought 2 postcards and a pin, I already owned the catalog, but now I'm regretting not buying more things, but I DEFINITELY want to go back at least once, probably twice before its over.
^ some more of my "favorites"  727-727 (don't quote me on that!) Kiki pin and Dob postcard

My mom asked,  "So was this a dream come true?" And yes, it REALLY was.  Ever since your young you go on museum field trips since 1st grade, and they don't really sink in, then you realize you like art and their a bit more fun, but a trip to the zoo would prove as a better option in grade school.  Then you get to college and make frequent trips for the mandatory papers on a Greek Vase or Master painting of a teachers choice.  Granted I love Warhol, and getting to see his stuff and a Jeff Koons bunny amidst the 'paper' piece is fun, but I've never just wanted to go to a museum for a real purpose.  When I caught wind of this Murakami exhibit in LA I wanted to go so bad!  That didn't happen and I was bummed out then about a month ago I found out this was going to New York, there was NO WAY I was passing this up before it goes to Europe to Germany and Spain in following years.  I decided to go the first day it was open to the public, and I'm SO happy I did.  Murakami is definitely my favorite artist, its so cool that he's a contemporary artists and gets to partake in all the hype around him, unlike some of the greats celebrated long after their time.  I had the catalog since Christmas, but that doesn't do the works justice at all.  The colors are so vibrant in real life, and the pieces are GIGANTIC, its so surreal!  I can't say enough on how great this was!  I'll be back up for sure before it closes to see how many more people I can drag with me and experience this.  My mom said she was blown away because she had only flipped through the catalog she bought me, but she said she's got such an appreciation for all of it now and just keeps saying that he's a genius, and he really is.  Definitely check this out, only $8 for students, not too far of a drive, or take a bus for about $34!

I also bought the book Blood Diamonds by Greg Campbell Friday night and started reading that on the way up (yes I'm actually READING a book, I hate reading assigned 'book report' type books, but when its something that really interests me I read like crazy)  Not too far into it because I was a bit ADD on the way up but it is so good, everyone should read it!  Also I get to pick up my diamonds monday, so I'm getting really excited!!!!  I can't wait until I have my bracelets to wear!!!!