Tag Archives: real-life

two weeks down, one week (or so) to go!

I feel much better today after talking to David about my current (and final since it’s due SO soon) direction. I think I just needed some time to re-fresh and remember how to actually design things with more informed decisions, instead of just throwing things together without thinking. But honestly, I think I’ve always had a slight problem with keeping myself in a ‘designer’ mindset when I start projects. I’m not usually good at coming up with a set plan at the beginning of a project. I remember last year when we were given the ‘seating device’ assignment, Jes started almost the first day with concepts ONLY related to being cut out of one circle, focusing on multi-person seating. I started out drawing 50 different random things I saw around me like the bathroom lock, origami, trash – mostly in profile or top view because I just don’t seem able to think in 3D very quickly…

For the remainder of projects I work on in school, I want to try and focus down on one good ‘theme’ or ‘rule’ – like “what can i make out of a perfect circle?” – at the beginning of a project. In the end, I want my projects to come across stronger and more fully developed when I present them. Less “I couldn’t really find a direction until five days before the first pin-up, but I did really good work in those five days!”, and more “I started with this [insert cool idea of a start off point, like only using nouns instead of adjectives for your target words!] and went from a to b to c to d and ended with e with ease,” would be nice in my design life.
Another thing I’m going to try doing more often is giving myself more strict time limits on the things that I’m doing. An hour is quite a decently long amount of time, and if I don’t accomplish one important thing every hour – it seems like a waste. Whenever David gives us ‘real-life’ challenges in class, i.e. GO MAKE A POSTER IN 30 MINUTES OR YOU’RE FIRED, we seem to get a lot accomplished but whenever I’m on my own ‘just trying to sketch some concepts’ the blank paper and the seemingly endless amount of time messes with me.

The sketch models I lathed this week are serving as a really good starting point for the concept I’ve got now, drawing inspiration from a lotus (water lily) and a lily pad. Pink foam modeling isn’t really accurate enough for me (or just not very helpful with this particular project); maybe part of it is that I’m too impatient and need more practice using the wire cutter slowly. I think the proportions of my current models are dead on in size, but David mentioned somehow shelling the inside so that the overall weight and bulk would be less overwhelming and more ‘fresh’. I’m going to be doing a lot of 3D computer modeling and sketching this weekend to work out the super important details. We’re doing a silent pin-up on Wednesday to show all the process we’ve done, and then we’re doing “graphic treatments” for Friday I think? Soon, anyway.
Anyway, I’m relieved and excited to keep working on this now!

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re-hash, re-search

I was wondering why it was taking me so very long to research things about induction charging, coils, etc. for the Final Project in my Materials class which is essentially a BA addition to my future [haha NEAR future since I was hoping to make one by next Friday, etc.] portfolio/resume deal and an assembly guide to how my Second DVA Studio Project (you know, the ‘Serenity Stones’ and ‘aging in place’ solution) would realistically be produced and assembled in REAL LIFE and I realized the reason it is taking so long is because I never actually technically figured out all the details when I did the project. Hmm. Whoops. I just remember thinking “Yeah, induction charging is wireless, cool and easy. Sweet.” and just sort of hand-waving the gesture out of the air (and out of ignorance. d’oh.); not my best move ever. But a really good recent move on my part? The killer sentence at the beginning of this blog. Word.

But really, it’s not so bad since I’ve been in the library waiting to plot for 4ish hours and just got done, so I had some free time to kill that I wasn’t spending sleeping… [PS. I’m a big fan of late-night bad grammar, and excessively strange punctuation PPS. I’m giving myself an award for not only A.) my longest blogged sentence ever ((see beginning of blog)), but also B.) the most creative and well-tagged blog post to date ((see end of blog {as in right below the end of this}))]

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getcho bike onnnnn

I’ve been stewing over bikes for a bit. Not in a angry, mean kind of way – more like a warm, happy, chicken-noodle-soup-kind-of way. The idea of biking is really great; you have the opportunity to pollute less while keeping yourself in shape (bingo! double sustainability points!). The reality of biking is not really great [at least not in ATL]. Ted did a presentation on how he’s divorced his life from a car, which we had already talked about previously – but I thoroughly enjoyed his point about ‘every trip begins and ends on foot.’

Allison, Chris and I have been doing a lot of work and I’ve been way too lame to write about it. The three of took an adventure to Cabbage Town to see if we could find commuters in action – we got a little lost [no blaming me; I wasn’t driving], but it was a really interesting side of Atl that I hadn’t really seen before. We also stopped in Little Five and talked to two different skate shops and a bike shop about the pros and cons of how they get around the city ((some people like how crazy and risky it is to get around on a bike/board, some wear helmets and some don’t, etc.)).

Another important point of our research was experiencing riding a bike in the road first hand. Allison and I borrowed some mountain bikes and took to the road [at night. in the cold. in freaking Atlanta]. We road from M street to Northside to 10th street up to State where Allison turned left and I kept going for a block because I wasn’t listening, then down some other road by the townhouses near Atlantic Station, and then up that hill [we walked. whoops.] to 17th, and then a couple blocks down 17th street to experience how it felt to ride in an actual ‘bike lane’. Riding with Allison really helped me feel a lot more brave; having Chris follow us in his truck helped way way way more. I think we topped out at about 12mph – which would get quicker over time. Part of the difficulties we experienced were due to being out of shape and not having been on bikes in a long time. I have a bike of my own that I NEVER ride – it actually holds magazines in my apartment and looks super cute – and part of that is the type of bike it is + the fear of having to get my out-of-shape-self out in the freakin’ streets to ride it. Basically, riding that bike in the street with Allison has changed my perspective quite a bit. Bikers are killer. I mean, really, people that bike around campus are ‘bikers’ – but holy crap. To commute all over the city? That’s so extreme and brave – especially in the crazy, unpredictable weather. One of my friends said that riding a bike is like being in a convertible, and it lets you see things that you don’t usually get to experience in a car. So true – if I hadn’t been fiddling with my helmet, that ride would’ve been extra awesome. Feeling the wind and the wobble of the bike while trekking around is really liberating.
But how on Earth are we going to get more people out there on bikes the first time? That’s exactly our design problem.

Since realizing that we want to solve the ‘confidence’ issue of getting people out on bikes the first time, and making sure they stay out there, we’ve gone through several different product concepts. Some strayed from products into more advertising/promotional situations, and others into really rad concepts like ‘Aggressive Biking School’. After brainstorming some more, and really defining down what makes or breaks ‘confidence’ we’ve decided to create a sort of ‘Biker’s Buddy Bag’ [but much cooler than that]. One of Allison’s original ideas involved putting a map onto a bike seat, since there’s no need for anything more than a bike when you’re commuting [all about the bare essentials], but seat terrain + small surface area =/= as useful as we had hoped.

DVA got us into contact with a local bag/wallet designer, Malcolm Fontier, who was sooo very nice and talked to us for a long time about design, stitching, manufacturing and manufacturing drawings, conceptualizing, research, and benchmarking. It was really nice to get some real-life feedback and talk to someone that creates bags for a living. I also personally enjoyed being able to hear how what Leffler teaches us in Materials class really does matter when you design stuff. [Malcolm’s stuff rocks – he doesn’t use leather (instead its plastic-coated-canvas), he was featured at the ID exhibit at MODA (, and I want one of his bags in the sweet blue color he has (so worth checking out)] [His ‘smallest wallet’ is ingenious and I’m a proud new owner 🙂 ] Allison, Chris and I recently went to Dick’s Sporting Goods [I had never been in such a large Dick’s before – the one in Buckhead has three freaking stories, and the one in my hometown does not] to benchmark one-strapped bags. We found some by Nike, Jansport, and North Face and they all had a lot of interesting info to offer. I’m pretty partial to the Nike Team Training Mono in M-L because it’s strap is so ingeniously shaped and padded which makes it CRAZY comfortable and it’s uniquely shaped to fit better on one’s back; I’m not, however, a fan of the lame ‘girl’ colors in gross ‘coral’ and ‘cherry’ [give me electro inspired colors every day, thanks]. I’ve been trying to get rid of the itchy urge to go purchase said Nike bag and take to the streets on my bike – or maybe I’ll just have to do it one day. I think I could make it down North Ave and onto campus…

Anyhoo, we’re busy working on bag details as we speak. I’m *pretending to be busy* looking up how colors affect visibility [night vs. day, distance, etc.], as well as what materials we might make our bag out of *while writing this giant blog*. I have to go grab some samples at Joann’s tomorrow before studio so we can decide on what we want – or at least start figuring it out. We forSURE need to make the bottom of our bag waterproof since this bag is geared towards teens and early twenty-year-olds that are commuting to school and similar activities. I’m excited about the progress and design decisions we’ve made thus far, but I am beginning to get nervous because our model is due this coming Wednesday and we have so so much to do. Yikes. Good thing we have all weekend, eh? Or at least all weekend after BANGARANG. Perhaps I’ll ride my bike to The Loft? Perhaps.

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