Category Archives: Other

*Just a little advice about Firestone

Please think twice about taking your vehicle to a Firestone or a Firestone affiliate when you need quality car repairs. I took my car to a Firestone in Tennessee on Sunday to get some brake parts replaced, and then yesterday my brakes failed as I tried to stop going down a hill AND RAN A RED LIGHT. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt, but I could have been seriously injured, or injured other people, or ruined a lot of property with my wildly out-of-control car. You see, it turns out that my brake lines were either significantly deteriorated OR the people at Firestone in TN never closed the valves and I lost all my fluid. Either way, they should have realized this and fixed it on Sunday – before I drove all the way back to Georgia over various MOUNTAINS and such.

The Firestone in Atlanta has been nice, and have given me discounts on both the towing and the brake line replacement (free parts!) – however, they have not paid for my taxi home, nor can they give me back the 6+ hours that I spent dealing with this debacle yesterday.

This is not the first bad story that I have heard about a Firestone – someone else I know had their engine blow up because the Firestone mechanic forgot to re-attach their oil hose! Hello! Important detail!

So, please, think twice about trusting Firestone with your car, and consequently, your life. I’m incredibly lucky that I wasn’t hurt and that I didn’t hurt anyone.

Love,
Emma

Absent-Minded

I…clearly haven’t been keeping up with this that much in the past month or so, but to be honest I’ve felt so busy that I haven’t really had time to stop and write in-depth about what I’ve been working on. Not long after that last project wrapped up we had our Spring Break (read: as soon as the review was over, literally) and during SB’10 I moved from one apartment to the other and spent forever painting it, etc. I still don’t feel entirely moved in, but that’s beside the point. Then, on to IDSA Conference in Charlotte, NC. Always fun to mingle with new designers, but not enough fun to make up for this dreadful head-cold that I’ve had the past week+ since then. I’m finally starting to feel more alive and alright today, but still debating whether a trip to the doctor would be good or not…

MY FINAL STUDIO PROJECT EVER is due in a week and three school days or something absolutely crazy like that. And Thursday of this week we’re selling the products we designed at the beginning of this semester for ‘micro-manufacturing’ – 10 uniquely engraved D.I.Y photo-cards! Ugh! Oh boy! I’m pretty excited that my parents are coming down to visit and *hopefully* buy some of my postcards.

I feel like there is never enough time to get things done because that is the truth. I hate that this last studio project (again, please note that this is my LAST STUDIO PROJECT EVER even though I am not graduating this May; still my last assigned studio project for ID at Georgia Tech ever for real studio class which is totally weird) is so squished time-wise. I wanted to do so much lunchbox research! Because, oh yeah, I somehow assigned myself to solve the “problem” of storing your food in a communal fridge -like an office or dorm situation.

To be honest, I sort of feel like all of my projects this semester are turning out to be sort of cheesy. I don’t know if there’s enough of that emotive quality I strive for in any of the solutions I’m creating, and I don’t know if it’s my fault, the assignment, the teacher or what…This just isn’t what I thought my last semester of studio to be like! Especially considering that Shakespeare is my hardest class right now (also enjoyable – not a knock on Shakespeare). I’m hoping that with some extra work that these can become things I’m more proud of, but I’m obviously questioning myself right now – and not in the way that I would want to be if I were about to graduate! [YIKES! If I were about to graduate right now with the state my portfolio and apparent sketching skills are in right now I would probably be sick!]

My independent study has been rewarding and challenging at the same time – trying to find the time to work on the projects without cutting into other stuff or forgetting about it all together…

And on top of all of this, I’ve been sort of concerned about the pros + cons of putting all your design work and design thought on The Internet. I had a (semi-really-sketchy) “eco-friendly” design blog find one of my projects and make it into one of their posts…the problem being that it isn’t a manufactured item yet but if I WANTED it to be in the future….it could already have been stolen… Plus part of the studio class (one day) I’ve been taking talks about IP, etc. and so I’m just uber uber nervous.

I plan on taking a lot of pictures of the ‘process’ of laser-cutting these postcards out over the next 2.5 days. I realize that one of the things I unfortunately lack the most in my designing is ‘proof of process’ and that bothers me, since I do try to do a decent amount of testing/modeling/what-have-you.

And to conclude, without a decent transition, I have realized this semester that I am really good at solving problems if a problem is handed to me but NOT good at choosing a problem to solve. I.E. “Paint a picture” vs. “Paint a picture with an eco-friendly substance of a landscape” – > I can think of some really nifty eco-friendly paint substances (juice, fruit, tea, etc.), but I would sit for days and days trying to think of all the different paints and paint styles and orientations and subjects to just ‘paint a painting’ and probably end up not doing anything all that spectacular….
I feel like this is something I’ve thought of/shared/written about before, but regardless, there it is.
I can creatively brainstorm and solve problems, but I cannot determine problems at the drop of a hat.
[I hope that admitting this doesn’t mean that I will never be able to do design as a job…but I feel as though a lot of what design is is figuring out how to solve something with a lot of given constraints – match this already-made brand’s branding form, what else could we add to this product line of cheese graters to make more $? why isn’t this thing that looks pretty selling? how could we make ______ for so-and-so better? – instead of coming to the firm and being like “Y’all! Let’s make _______!” I guess I’ve just decided that I don’t want to be an inventor? To be honest, I just want to learn more and enjoy whatever it is that I’m doing, while making enough money to live. That’s all! Not so much to ask!]

Also unrelated: I’ve taken up that whole picture-a-day-for-365-days thing. So far it’s been fun. I’ve done it for 6 whole days so far! I’m just excited to use my camera, and so far I’ve been using the MerriamWebster.com Word of the Day as inspiration. I think in the future, when I grow tired of the WOTD, I will move on to some sort of ‘alphabet’ set ((but that only gives me 26 days to work with…)). We shall see!

And super finally, I don’t really know 100% what is about to happen in the near future, or exactly which semester it is that I end up graduating but I do know that, despite my current stuffy face and cough, I am decently happy – which is decently nice.

Features!

Some pictures of my project “Creative Cutlery” have been featured here on IGreenSpot.
I don’t remember being told this was happening or them asking if they could use my photographs or information or anything at all, plus the content doesn’t actually link to me since that link is broken….

But hey! Internet! Thanks!

Seedling Silveware: Re-Visited & More

For the final project of the semester in studio, we get to do practically whatever we want! I’m finishing out a short project from junior year that I think could be an awesome product, and not just a cool concept – the eco-friendly spoonfork utensil with seed packaging. While I’ve been doing extensive research on my different material options (which has been pretty fun, actually) I remembered that when I was in junior high all of my science fair projects were SUPER enviro-friendly. I went to state with the project that I made a natural fruit fly repellent for – because fruit flies destroy so much of the produce crop before it even gets to a grocery store.

I believe that as designers we have the ability to ensure that products are inherently green, and that we should make “being green” something that’s real, not simply another annoying trend that people don’t actually pay more for. Being green doesn’t have to be expensive; just smarter than the traditional resources and manufacturing processes. Even going the extra step to make everything in a product the same material for ease of recycling is a small step to something great. Or simply making a more expensive product that will last a long time, with the notion that the guts of it might have to be replaced and recycled more often.

I’ve been reading about PLA, the corn plastic made from lactic acid, and it’s competitively priced with PET products except that it biodegrades, and won’t take up as much space in a landfill! We’ve come a long way from Bakelight, so let’s not just stop here.

I’m a big proponent of “green” design and material considerations, but I don’t think I need to brand myself that way as a designer because I feel like it looks cheap, trendy, and crafty.

 

As a designer, I aim to make products that do at least three things:
1. take materials and processes into consideration to create something of high quality at a reasonable price
2. something that solves a problem, not just looks pretty or puts a band-aid over the problem
3. makes an emotional connection of some kind with the user, ensuring it’s success and happiness in the home 🙂

 

There is a big gap between Ikea and West Elm; there’s got to be some sort of market in between for different materials and new ideas to flourish.

Concepts vs. “Conceptualizing”

I spend way too much time “figuring things out” when I need to just CHOOOOOSEEEEEE something, and then work on that.
This has been a problem for me all of school.
It’s hard for me to correct it, even though I’ve identified it so many times!
It’s horribly frustrating.

I’m also bothered by what I feel is a miscommunication on drawing styles from my teacher – do I need to know how to draw “artsy”? I thought we were all about quick concept sketches, that are line drawings? I recognize we need to do more “rendered” and “finished” drawings, but I thought it was ALL about concepts?

Quicker, more solid decisions.
Get things done.
Be confident.
Have things researched.
Test it out.
Don’t cry, don’t panic.

On a very separate note, I’ve begun a true personal website AND I’m very excited about the direction I’ve coerced R2D2 to take for the year; a blend of the concept of Viva, but over dinner!

Glad this weekend is here so I can take the time to improve my life (practice drawing, do laundry, bake cakes, make dinner, etc.)

on furniture hunting in and out of the city

I’ve been going on a wild goose chase of sorts recently for furniture because I want some new pieces for my apartment, but it’s proving to be difficult because I’m not 100% sure what I really want or am actually looking for. One of my goals in looking for new furniture, like a desk, is to make a really well organized space for myself to do design work in next year so that I spend more time at home instead of in studio, which can be sooo distracting.
I adventured all over different parts of Atlanta in the process! First stop was to Paris on Ponce, which is unfortunately only open Thursday – Sunday [odd hours, but it seems to clearly work for them!]. Next destination took me on Moreland out past East Atlanta Village (the same road you take to make it to the drive-in theater wayyyyy out there past 6 Krogers) to a Value Village that I remember going to freshman year to find a specific suitcase for a ‘threshold’ project [everyone in studio B with Margaret will know what I’m referring to!]. Value Village had TONS of micro-suede couches on the cheap, but no desks. Next door was a store I’ve never heard of before – a hotel surplus store of sorts. It seems that they just get all the left over things from hotels and re-sell them! There were TONS of VCRs, mattresses, headboards, alarm clocks, etc. – some very, very cool stuff but really strangely priced. Since my first and foremost goal is to get a new desk, I tried my best not to be distracted by the pirate skeleton or the awesome armchairs. The final destination for the day was essentially on the other side of town in Chamblee – which, judging from their city hall that I passed, might be a town all on it’s own?! I had never been to Chamblee before, so it was fun to get out of the city for a minute. The Consignment Depot was quite a let down after going to this one antique store FILLED with design legend originals! I’ve never seen so many legendary, original pieces not in a museum before! There were so many Eames pieces, I thought I was going to have a panic attack. The most eye-catching desk in the store was a mere $3,000 piece that was ‘rather rare’ according to the *slightly* snobbish antique man. I’m bothered that I can’t remember what the designer’s name was – just that it’s a kidney-bean shaped desk with leather bound sides that’s a part of the Herman Miller collection and it has it’s own title. Geeze.
I don’t really know where my passion for home furnishings has come from; maybe it’s only surfaced because I’ve gotten really enamored with decorating my apartment to make it feel more homey, but I do know that I’m really interested in making home furnishings as well as helping people put my future home furnishings into their homes.
I think.
I just think it’s amazing that a desk someone designed years ago has an actual title and it’s so famous and rare, and that it gives someone like me a fluttery heart.

I’m going to have to learn how to read a newspaper/use the internet more efficiently to find estate and garage sales in the city, and if anyone wants to come with me, they’re more than welcome!

on the final countdown of the semester

Today is Monday and I do not have studio. Rather, I am IN studio scanning stuff for the final project review on Wednesday morning.
I cannot believe this means another year of college out of the way in only five more days!
Now that we’re done with our full-scale model build, we have to create a re-design SolidWorks white model and provide material details to show in our presentation.
It’s convenient that we’re doing digital presentations, because it saves us a lot of plotting time – and we can show a lot more process in a more organized way.

It is nice to have a ‘breather’ in the sense that I do not have to go build stuff and have the pressure of an unknown deadline, however, there is a lot of other things to make up and a lot of sitting in front of computers to do during the next week. Passive work is not really my favorite; I’d rather feel like I’m DOING something – and sending emails and fixing pixels isn’t that physical.

We’re having an Epic Event to show off our work Wednesday night, from 7pm – later. I’d really appreciate it if people stopped by – if even for only a moment or so – so I can show them what I work so hard on all the time, and why I don’t always have time to see them. Then, of course, Friday night is the IDSA End of the Year Show at the AWPL close to campus. So much celebrating; so much to celebrate!

on IDSA Conference + spending Saturday nights in

I didn’t blog on Friday – not because I forgot, but because we didn’t officially have class and I didn’t really do anything that seemed noteworthy enough. But not to say that things aren’t going well; Laura‘s SolidWorks model is superb.
Friday night [uh duh, also known as LAST night] was the benefit party for Roji – the lighting senior studio from Georgia Tech that’s traveling to Italy to experience design at an international competition scale [as in, a CRAZY BIG CRAZY scale!]. It was fun and interesting, as per usual with studio people – plus a new designery friend drove in from South Carolina! The Roji kids are doing a really fantastic job of raising money, and I’m really proud of them and excited for them, too. They’re leaving this Monday afternoon for Milan. I’m not 100% I can do things without Sk around, but there’s no time like right now than to start practicing for next year when I’m not just pres elect, but the ACTUAL jefe of our school’s IDSA [such a vest-and-scarf combo to follow!].
Today I realized one of the biggest benefits that I personally got from going to IDSA conference this year = having a larger pool of people my age to talk about design-related things with.
Of course, I think that was my favorite part about meeting people there anyway [the lectures paled in comparison to ATLtoNYC, but we all knew that was going to happen] – but now I’m realizing how easy it is for our short-lived relationships from those few days to be continued through electronic/instant/mobile/visual communication. I’m mainly referring to a healthy combination of tumblr/twitter/facebook and sometimes flickr + texting. It’s lovely to have someone from Auburn text you to ask if you have any advice on how to work with Sculpy clay, or to discuss font typefaces.

I like sitting at home and looking up fonts when I am tired, and nonchalantly discussing theme layouts with dear friends. My internet password + couch are my favorite things to share these past few days [besides design insight, obviously].

Tomorrow means it’s back to the grind; I feel guilty for taking most of Friday and today “off” from doing school work, but sometimes you just need a moment to recollect yourself. David is presenting slides on ATLtoNYC at Pecha Kucha tomorrow, which should provide me with a nice two hour break in a long work day. I’m looking forward to coffee.

on portfolio-making

I am working on a portfolio for my professional practice class right now [on my laptop – I’m two-timing the computers, but shhh, don’t tell them].
I’ve sort of worked on a portfolio once before, mostly to no avail because I was totally unprepared and had no idea what to do.
But this time I have a set color palette and I am thrilled.
It’s been really interesting to look at the projects I did sophomore year and see how much potential there is in those designs that I thought were so bad at the time.
Turned out to be a good week, so here comes a good weekend!

on how I am excited about some things,

&& not so much about others.

For instance, every one in our studio section is sick except for Laura – which isn’t exactly great, but the fact that Laura still feels well is super!
My group came upon some really good ideas today [ok, maybeeeee I think they’re really good ideas because half of them are MY crazy ideas]. But at least morale seems momentarily on the rise in the world of Group Bank Tellers! For Friday we’re doing a mini-pin-up-sesh of 5 concepts, complete with sketches, Illustrator orthographics, and 1/10th scale models [not as easy to calculate as 1/12th scale, since we aren’t exactly Metric, but that’s ohhhhhhk]. We’re basically cramming a week+ of work into three days, so I’m really REALLY hoping we can get as much done as we can in a happy, positive manner! After lunch I’m going to jam on different details, etc. for each of the 5 concepts and then meet back up at 7:30pm today. I honestly don’t envision a free moment between now and the end of school; pretty much every hour of my day is already accounted for + some make-up projects on top of that. Geesh.

I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY HOPE that I get my computer sometime today. The “delivery tracking” website said that they tried delivering yesterday when the apartment office is closed; I really hope they get to it before 7pm!

If I had extra time, I would re-code my remaining internetz and create a sweet personal website with the same palette; I’ve been trying to do what I can so far, but not all websites really want me to re-write their font and color settings 🙂

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