Getting the lights installed wasn’t too difficult. The first method I tried was to remove the plug from the wire and feed the cables up through the ceiling but then realised that this wouldn’t work since the light fittings have switches on them which wouldn’t fit through the holes. In order to get around this, I filled the holes I had drilled in, made new pilot holes and screwed in some hooks to take the weight of the lampshades. I used zipties around the bend of the cable to make them stay at the correct height, and pins to guide the excess cabling to the extension cable, which is hung up in the top corner of the wall.
I used fake ivy garlands to decorate the area, since I wanted to replicate the sort of scenes that Tord Boontje takes photographs of his work in. Using a staple gun, I put all the garlands in place, and twined some of them around the dangling wires of the lampshades. I think that it’s very effective, and the colours and shadows projected onto the leaves are exactly what I wanted.
The stool project was a great opportunity for me to work with a live brief- I had done this before, so I knew more or less what to expect, but I find that I work quite well with strong guidelines; having too much freedom means that sometimes it takes me too long to get really stuck into a project, whereas if I have all the criteria to start with then it’s easier to know where to take it. While I do enjoy design work, and I appreciated the time I was given to improve my CAD skills which will definitely come in useful in the future, I do feel as though we weren’t able to start making the stool itself until a bit too late into the brief. I became frustrated at how often I was sent back to the drawing board before being allowed the chance to make mistakes, and learn how to make something in prototype phases. I wish that I had started to make the stool itself earlier on in the year, so I could have had a full sized model rather than just a maquette, but I am pleased with the outcome for it: I learned how to do a lot of new things in order to make even just the maquette, such as laminating and welding.
Make Your Mark started off a little more slowly than the stool project, but was far more introspective. This project forced me to really evaluate what it is that I like to do as a maker, and what I want to continue doing in the future. Looking back on my work, I feel that I have improved my skills and knowledge. While I didn’t create something layered and intricate, I do feel that I have met my goals in creating something that demonstrates how versatile perspex can be using handmade methods as opposed to mass manufacture.
Also that a lot of my inspiration seems to come from Scandinavian design, for example Tord Boontje and IKEA. I’m glad that I decided to take a more product design route, with the possibility of a business emerging from the outcomes, rather than my initial ideas.
I don’t feel that I met my overall standards of quality, but I think that might be a futile endeavour; there will always be things I will want to improve or change about my work. One thing I have improved in, however, is the confidence to make mistakes. Previously, I would be too afraid of wasting materials and over-plan what I was doing but this year, particularly for Make Your Mark, I have benefited from testing and experimenting more liberally than I otherwise would have, while also trying to push the yield of my material to its limits. The testing and re-making of my pieces really helped me to improve the overall quality, and allowed me to go in directions that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
These are the ‘nopes’. The first one resembles a fruit, which I do like, but it doesn’t match the rest of the themes; a strawberry is pretty but its not a blossoming flower. The second one isn’t attractive on the outside since although I was planning to cover the outer sides with marbled paper which I was gifted I haven’t found the time to do so. The third, I don’t like the colour combination of; it’s a bit too jarring, and I think it would be better if the colours were the other way around. The last one is nice, but it just doesn’t make the cut when there are other ones which I think are better examples of my skills progression, and I have a similar one that is clear and works better.
I drew my lampshades out on paint tool SAI so that I could insert them into some photos. Using some IKEA catalogue images as a base, I placed my lampshades into a scenario that I think they would work well in.
The make your mark project was initially a way for me to experiment in using perspex and the laser cutter to create something beautiful. It started as a wall hanging, and developed into a floral themed lampshade, both decorated by, and resembling flowers.
Partially inspired by my constellation essay subject, the kimono, which utilises seasonal floral motifs, I looked to the british countryside for ideas, photographing plantlife and redrawing it in my own style. After scouring the Taff Trail for flowers that I liked, I found cows parsley, a tiny, five petalled flower. I used these drawings to design the pattern that can be found on my lampshades.
I continued to experiment with the colour and finish of the perspex, and the power and speed of the laser cutter. I tried using fluorescent and iridescent perspex for an interesting appearance, and adjusted the depth that the laser cutter cut into the perspex, so that the patterns catch the light just so. Using heat was a huge part of this project, and thermoforming the perspex was vital for the lampshades to come together. I wanted to create a variety of different designs, that reflect the idea of ‘blossoming’, so that each flower shade is at a different stage of bloom.
After sandblasting some attachment pieces, and fixing them into place, I was quite surprised just how much I liked the way they look, especially on the clear one. The matte finish gives another layer to the texture, and the partially cut flowers cast a shadow onto the semi opaque perspex, which I really like. I would like to create a separate light shade with this concept as the main focus, maybe using the imagery of the shadows of leaves on the ground.
I also find that this combination of shade and petal shape is attractive, as both of them are rounded, and both flick up.
I tried out the larger attachment pieces, but I found that it looks best with the spiky, smaller ones rather than the larger one, which overshadow the iridescent quality of the material, and I prefer it with an embellished attachment to having a plain one.
Close ups of each method of joinery. To attach the seat to the legs I used short screws, and to fix the metal hoop to the legs I used nuts and bolts. I am pleased in particular with the way the legs fit together; despite it being a simple method of joinery, it is quite appealing to the eye.