Thursday, 3 December 2009

Assignment 4

For our last assignment of the semester we were to write an essay about our chosen subject. I was looking at computer games and the health benefits and problems associated with game playing. I had a bit of a problem uploading it onto my blog as my internet kept crashing but I have emailed my essay and bibliography to Lisa instead.

The two texts I read were 'Don't bother me Mom - I'm learning!' by Marc Prensky and 'Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings and behaviour in the labratory and in life' by Craig Anderson and Karen Dill. If I were to investigate further into this topic I would look at more papers and experiments conducted by Anderson and the sources of information he has used. I would also look into more evidence of bad health problems and aggressive behaviour associated with playing these games. I could also research into the benefits these games provide for children and studies that have shown computer games can improve a persons skills. In order to become more involved I would play a variety of games myself and see if they may benefit me in any way. I would also like to look further into games for learning and training purposes such as Americas Army. I feel this is the section I have researched the least and would like to find out more about it.

Thursday, 26 November 2009


In a previous assignment we were asked to list our top 5 general websites. I put youtube down for one of mine because I feel it contains alot of interesting and informative videos about art and different creative disciplines aswell as being relevant to the world today. Over the summer I became particuarly interested in making beaded jewellery, I learnt alot of techniques through magazines and my own experimentation but there were also lots of tutorials on youtube! I found most of these videos particuarly useful in helping develop my beading skills. I also became interested in Sand Animation. This is a video from Ukraines Got Talent showing a sand animation artist tell a story - have a look!

Wire Project

This week we have been working with photoshop and illustator to produce design boards for our wire project. I wasn't particuarly looking forward to it as I'm not very good with photoshop and computers in general but surprisingly I found this week quite enjoyable. Using these programs really helped me in coming up with my final design and in the end I was stuck for choice about which one to use! Can't wait to start making it next week.

Saturday, 21 November 2009


Yesterday we had a lecture and Johnathan showed us a video on 'Tweenagers'. I thought it was ridiculous the power these kids had over their parents, they were like spoilt brats and didn't seem to appreciate anything their parents did for them. I could identify with their need to feel accepted and to fit in amoungst their peers as when I was at school kids could be really cruel if you stood out to be different. I think most teenagers feel pressure to follow the crowd and be 'cool'. Their demand for brands and designer labels was sickening. One of the girls said she wouldn't hang out with one of her friends if her friend didnt wear branded clothing! I thought that was absolutely ridiculous! She also went on the explain that kids that didnt wear branded clothing tended to get bullied and that was one of the reasons for school uniform. Personally I don't believe in school uniform. I think more money and effort should be concentrated into teaching children it's unacceptable to put anyone down no matter what they wear - its the person that really counts. I think those kids will look back on that video and be ashamed of what they said and how they behaved. However its all a part of growing up and I think most kids go through this stage before they realise that designer labels aren't everything.

Wire Project

drawing from nature

combining pictures to come up with designs

For the last 3 weeks we have been working on a new wire project where we have to make a neckpiece or brooch. We had to research jewellery designers, artists and sculptors and choose one to influence our work. I chose one of Dundee's textile graduates - Johanna Basford. She specialises in black and white illustration and has worked with ceramics, wallpaper and bedlinen to name a few. Her work is mostly inspired by the small fish farm that she grew up on and much includes flowers and nature. For the past 2 weeks I have been drawing from nature taking inspiration from her signature black and white style. Many of my drawings came from pictures of the Botanic Gardens which I had visited last year for a previous project. I then started taking elements and combining them to create a design for my neckpiece. I want to make a necklace with a detatchable brooch which can be worn as part of the neckpiece or separate. I have also been in the workshop making filigree samples and experimenting with twisting wire- more pics to follow! Next week we are on the computers and I think this will help me in coming up with my final design.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Vessel Project

My vessel and exhibition display

I have been a bit lazy recently with my lack of blogging - That is all going to change! I have been meaning to write about my first jewellery and metalwork project for ages. It was to design and make a vessel paying particular attention to texture. My original idea was based on the beach and I looked at the soft textures and patterns of sand. I then went on to draw inspiration from the shape and form of seashells. My original design was based on a dome making workshop we had at the start of the semester. I had planned to make several larger domes and solder them together with smaller domes to make my vessel. However I had a bit of a problem with the larger ones in that they crinkled up when I went to dome them. After 3 days of getting nowhere I abandoned that idea and went on to make this piece - still using the smaller doming technique. I drew inspiration from the designer Ane Christensen in her cut out negetive shapes. Still working with circles I cut out rings and soldered them to a larger piece - this process took longer then expected as the solder would not stick and I did end up going home with a burnt finger in a huff at one point! I had created the texture with a hammer and wanted it to be the same all over. I also started researching tropical flowers for the pattern and arrangement of the rings and domes on my vessel. My piece was made from copper and silver plated, I then brushed back the silver to reveal a pinky base keeping the rings silver. I also oxidised the domes to bring out the slight crinkly texture within them. Overall I was really happy with my piece and everyones work went into an exhibition in the jewellery corridor along with the third year work. It's on till about christmas time - go see it!

Assignment 3

At our last seminar, we each discussed the topic that we went on to research. I had looked at computer games and had become particuarly interested in how playing such games may cause health problems and the solutions designers had come up with to combat them. I also looked into the many health benefits of game playing and games for learning ie simulators used for training purposes. The last two weeks I have been researching texts relating to this topic and have found it difficult. Using cross search and the library catalogue I only managed to find two sources that were relevant as many texts that were coming up were either about health problems in general or about computer game design. Instead I looked for books on the internet and found this method much more effective. Most of the texts I sourced could be read online and provided me with all the information I needed.


- ANDERSON, C.A. BUCKLEY, K.E. GENTILE, D.A. 2007. Violent video game effects on children and adolescents: Theory, research and public policy. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

This book looked at the connections between violence in young people and aggressive computer games such as 'Americas Army'. It also gives a history of how such games became so popular and ideas on how we can stop these games being so easily and widely distributed. Points are backed up with scientific evidence and studies and it also talks about how the game and media industry have responded. I found this was useful to my research as it covers one of the problems I looked at in great detail and also what is being done to resolve it.

- BAWA, J. 1996. Computers and your health: The essential manual for every computer user. Pennsylvannia State University: Celestial Arts

This book makes the reader aware of health problems associated with computers. It talks about your health in general covering repetitive strain injury, eyestrain, diet and relationships. This again was relevant to me as it goes into detail about several health problems I discussed in my seminars and how computers may have contributed to them.

- CHAN, P.A. RABANOWITZ, T. 2006. A cross sectional analysis of video games and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms in adolescents. Online

This article did a study on parents and their children - the time spent on internet, console and online games and T.V. and how this may affect their social and academic lives. Teenagers who spend more then one hour per day have greater or more intense symptoms of A.D.H.D. I found this text useful as this particular disorder was not something I had looked at but it has given me another area to think about how computer games are affecting these kids lives.

- NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF. 1996. Simulated voyages: using simulation technology to train and license marines. Washington D.C. : National academies press

This was an electronic article and one of the resources I found using cross search. It talks about the use of simulators in training marines in a bid to decrease the amount of recent marine accidents. I found chapter 2 to be most relevant as it goes into detail about the use of simulators and reasons for using them. It explains the different types of simulators and how they are used in marine training. This related to my research in the computer games for educational and training purposes although I did not go into detail with the marines in particular.

- PRENSKY, M. 2006. 'Don't bother me mom - I'm learning!' How computer games are preparing your kids for 21st century success and how you can help. Paragon House

This book shows parents how their kids can learn through gaming and the benefits of gaming in the 21st century. He believes these games can teach children strategy formulation, collaboration and can help in decision making amoung others. His points are supported by studies of people - including doctors, lawyers and scientists - who have gone on to enjoy success despite gaming. This book related to the other area of health that I studied - the benefits.

- ROEBROEKS, G. 2008. Get Fit on Wii Fit.

This book is about a major solution to societys growing obesity problem. The Wii Fit, a revolutionary new design. It shows you how to get fit using the Wii, make a suitable training program and provides a better understanding of how the human body reacts to exercise. I researched the Wii Fit in some detail so this was useful in explaining how it works but I feel was not as relevant as the other information I sourced.

I also looked at websites which were relevant to my practise. My top 5 are: beads and bits and bobs gemstones from around the world buy jewellery and info on designers some pretty jewellery to buy to buy resources and all the pretty things us jewellers need :)

And my top 5 websites outside my practise: for updates on news around the world and strange but true stories not just for music and silly videos, also a valuable source of info! just to keep track of all the new up and coming designers keeps up to date about everything in the art world for the pretty pictures

I also like google, it comes up with everything!

As part of my research for my new wire project I looked at a few jewellers and designers. In particular I liked the work of Hanna Hedman and Fred Butler.

Take a peek!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Assignment 2

Brainstorming Session

As part of assignment 2, my group brainstormed around chapter 2 of 'The Tipping Point' in particular looking at how design relates to TV education. We came up with loads of different ideas from children to adult education, computer games and animation to smoking and alcohol. We each went on to research a different area and how this can relate to design. I looked into computer games, particuarly the health problems and benefits associated with playing games and how design has evolved to provide solutions to these problems. One of the biggest designs to come out of this was the Wii Fit. This revolutionary new game console has helped put the fun back into exercise for many children across the world and is also enjoyed by teenagers and adults. I also looked into computer games for training purposes like simulators for astronauts in training and till programmes for teaching retail staff. I found I really enjoyed researching this topic and brainstorming as a group helped contribute towards my ideas. I decided to make my poster a mind map as I find them particuarly efffective for revision purposes and easy to follow.

Mind Map
How Design relates to Computer Games

Saturday, 24 October 2009


Today I went to a craft fayre at the S.E.C.C. in Glasgow. There was a variety of different stalls including a large selection of jewellery and I was particuarly impressed by the work of Louise Pringle. She runs 'Eclecticshock jewellery' specialising in reinventing vintage jewellery and was nominated for 'Scottish fashion accessory designer of the year 2007'. You can find more info on her website

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Someone asked me the other day 'Why are you a vegetarian?' To which I replied 'Because I don't believe that killing animals is right.'

I was 8 when I decided I was against eating meat. At the time I was going through a typical girlie animal loving phase. Ironically, I had just eaten a burger and decided to ask my mum what the burger was made from. She explained to me it was meat and when I realised I had just eaten part of a cow I felt physically sick. The amount of times I had driven past a field filled of cows and not known what their purpose in life was.

People will argue that eating meat is part of human nature, part of the food chain and a good source of protein for the body but there are other ways we can get all the nutrients we need to survive without slaughtering poor innocent animals in the process. Quorn is a great meat subsitute, it contains everything the body needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle and it tastes similar to meat. And yes, from way back when we were cavemen we killed to feed ourselves and our familes but nowadays there is such a broad range of food available to us, I don't think the flesh of another is particuarly important in our diet. It makes me sad to see these baby calves and piglets born into the world for one reason - to end up on someones dinner plate.

You wouldn't eat another human being so why should an animal be any different?

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Tipping Point

General Mind Map

General Mind Map close up

General Mind Map close up

General Mind Map close up

Detailled Mind Map

Detailled Mind Map close up

Deatailled Mind Map close up

Detailled Mind Map close up

I recently read 'The Tipping Point' and was very interested in the ideas and concepts that Gladwell put forward in starting epidemics. I made 2 mind maps and listing the main points of the book and a more deatailled section. The section I was most interested in was the second case study titled 'Suicide, Smoking and the search for the Unsticky Cigarette'. In this chapter, Gladwell linked together all his previous points and I was particuarly fascinated by the role genetics plays in the difference of someone being a heavy smoker or a 'chipper' and also the contagiousness of smoking and suicide in society.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Ane Christensen

As part of my research for my first jewellery and silversmithing project I looked at designer and maker Ane Christensen. She creates everything from fruit bowls to huge garden sculptures and works by following a set of 'rules' in which she takes a single sheet of metal and removes or adds sections to it. She finds her inspiration in this constrained work process and her desire to push and stretch boundaries and expectations. Her work is both exceptional to look at and functional although some of her kinetic pieces are more concerned with sculpture. My favourite of her pieces are her most recent works the 'negative series' in which she explores negative space and optical illusion. I thought the simple cut out designs worked well and really inspired me in my own work.