FIELD: LIGHT – COLLABORATION REFLECTION

I have always considered myself an independent designer, a lone wolf of sorts, so when I discovered that as part of my ongoing creative practice I was required to be part of a group made up of both Textile and Product Designers, I had immediate reservations.

My initial thought was ‘Please don’t land me with the duds’. I met my group and soon realised that we possessed a range of skills unique to each and every one of us, so began by asking how each member felt about working on specific elements within the collaboration. I think my age and life experience made me the perfect candidate for the Project Manager, something which the rest of the group were happy to delegate.

One of the most positive aspects of this collaboration for me personally was the chance to learn more of the technical and mathematical process of Product Design and how it could be married to my discipline of Textile Design. I will admit that at first I didn’t particularly find the group chemistry strong, and the difficulty to make decisions caused friction at times. However, as time went on we quickly fell into the specific roles needed to successfully carry out our challenging concept and idea.

I have always understood that to get something done properly there is little time to procrastinate but rather put together a plan of action that is both concurrently  manageable and challenging.

As the concept developed and ideas were shared, I found at times the communication from the Product Design lacked the necessary vision for us to work as a cohesive unit, leading to some heated emails and verbal exchanges, but nevertheless we eventually agreed on the common denominator to work as a team to create something which would be both technically and aesthetically impressive.

What did I learn about myself? I felt comfortable as a natural leader within the group; that’s not to mean I dictated the orders but rather found out the individual strengths of each team member and interwove them altogether to create a creative and highly efficient way of working.

The group did not become friends but gained a mutual respect for each other, which I believe is important if I am ever to collaborate with another designer/discipline in the foreseeable future.

If I was to reflect on the brief as a whole I would have to say that it wasn’t particularly organised or structured as efficiently as it could have been. The Textile Tutors were rarely to be seen and any support that was asked for was nearly always given by the Product Design tutors. Luckily I am always ready/happy to work independently but felt a true element of wandering through the wilderness within this project. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy elements of the brief; the ability to self explore and learn new skills and ways of thinking really enriched my creative practice and thought process. The range of materials used and how each was fused together to create a finished product gave me greater respect for how time consuming but ultimately rewarding a collaborative effort can be.

I loved our final design; the beautifully abstract Textile Pattern created by Saima and I really contrasted masterfully against the sleek and classic triangular shape of the Light. I grew not only as an individual, but as a creative practitioner too. Each project has allowed me to refine my individual style, I now feel confident to showcase my focused and strengthened visual identity in any project I undertake.

COLLABORATION: IDEAS INTO CONCEPT

DAY 2

The day began by Clara setting relevant tasks initiating ideas through to a concept design. We, as a collective group, were set time based exercises to create thumbnail sketches, co-authored designs and asked to come up with a final light concept, which had to be agreed upon by each individual member, and a group as a whole. Initially, I found the intermix of personalities, politics and proposals a little discombobulating, having always worked by myself.

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Jack and Jamie had both come up with separate designs, which Saima and I thought to be fantastic. Which one would we choose? Within my 8 thumbnail sketches I sub-consciously fused the best design facets of their designs into one, which as luck had it they both liked!! I absolutely hate procrastinating, so the agreement on this design was welcome news.

The one issue I had during the planning stage pointed towards the lack of physical research; no trips had been made to lighting showrooms or delving into the many books on offer within our Uni library. Luckily, I had been proactive within my own schedule and had taken on loan:

1000 LIGHTS (1960 to Present) – CHARLOTTE & PETER FIELL

ILLUMINATE (Contemporary Craft Lighting) – HANNAH NUNN

21ST CENTURY LIGHTING DESIGN – ALYN GRIFFITHS

HOW TO DESIGN A LIGHT – DESIGN MUSEUM

These books had really help me shape the final design and helped the cohesion of ideas within my group. The introduction of HOW TO DESIGN A LIGHT (Page 6) especially, resonated with me. ‘A light is a physical object, just as a chair is a physical object, the specifics of it’s design shaped variously by aesthetics, technology, materials, engineering and function. But a light is not simply a three-dimensional form; it both occupies space and exists as a means of revealing and describing space. A light makes light, and light is a presence that can’t be touched, although it is profoundly felt in an emotional sense

It is why I want this lighting design to be felt as an art piece, and not just a source of light; it has to evoke the ideas of colours, shape, pattern, and texture. The design brief stipulates that the design must meet and create a symbiotic relationship with the needs of the buyer.

Part of my input (inspiration) came from images I had viewed within HOW TO DESIGN A LIGHT (Page 9); a gallery space, it’s geometric and cool lines and how art is displayed got me thinking of the shape of the light. I did not necessarily want to create the light as a 3D oblong (rectangle), so decided to honour the input of Jack and his Triptych design. As an homage to Hockney, the light would be modelled into an oblong prism, taking a stylised interpretation from the Pylons within Mulholland Drive.

We also need to take into account factors such as:

  1. Function
  2. Diffusion
  3. Direction
  4. Spacial description
  5. Emotion
  6. Colour

These factors will be explored within workshops, inductions and exploration of materials and creative techniques.

RESEARCH: TEXTILE DESIGN & LIGHT

Found an incredible video on YouTube:

Decided to purchase a Light Box; research design ideas using surface pattern and shapes within the context of Light.

Have stumbled upon a fascinating website allowing further research between Textile Design & Lighting:

http://www.1-art-1.com/textile-art-light-gallery.html

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Mary Clarke-Buckle – Tokelau – Lagoon – size 50 x 36cm

I have e-mailed this lady to ask her if we could meet up and discuss her work, for research purposes and to gain invaluable knowledge over the construction of Acrylic, Felt and Lighting solutions.