essay2 5B


Over the past two semesters we have been taught research methods both primary and secondary. In this essay it is my intention to Iook at my past jewellery design briefs and see what I could have been done differently by using these research methods. The brief I have chosen to look at is the catwalk brief:

Design and make an extravagant and unusual piece of catwalk jewellery. The inspiration for the piece should be a particular culture or a specific period in history. The design should make good use of colour and should adorn the body in an interesting or unusual way.

For this project I decided to look at Chinese culture. Researching into what colour represents in their culture and what their different traditions are such as foot binding. I also researched catwalks and catwalk jewellers, looking into all the fascinating pieces created. I wanted to see what wasn’t an obvious design to do. For this research I used secondary research using the library and the Internet as my main sources. So for my final design I came up with a leg piece. I used large sheets of aluminium dyed red representing good luck, strength and happiness. The flowing shape of the piece represented the shape of a dragon, Chinese symbol of culture. There was also Chinese writing flowing down the side of the piece. The piece had restricted movement in the leg reflecting the ancient Chinese custom of foot binding, designed to create beauty. I felt this created an interesting twist to a catwalk piece. For this design I feel I had enough knowledge of the Chinese culture to back my piece up. I do believe if I had done more research into Chinese culture I could have gained a wider knowledge base helping me to come up with more ideas. The methods we have been taught include experimenting, observation, interviews and library research. I have now realised how I can relate this to my discipline and its projects. This will help me to gain further first hand information. These are the methods I think I would use to further my work on this project.

Using photography as a means of research would really benefit. Looking at photographs past and present of catwalk jewellery. Showing me what are the most obvious pieces to design, so that I can try and think of something different. Also this would help inspire me showing me the different scales designers use in catwalks compared with everyday life. Looking at photographs of traditional Chinese cultures such as family weddings, the rituals they have or clothing they wear. Looking at photos of old Chinese clothing and jewellery to the present day to see how it has developed and see if this can inspire my designs.

Maybe experimenting with designs, drawing up a few ideas and showing them to the public to see their reactions. The ones with the biggest reactions would be the ones I want to use and build upon. Also showing the public my designs and seeing if they know where my influences have come from.

For this brief I feel it would have helped me to interview a variety of people. Looking into the fashion world and the different types of catwalk jewellery asking the professionals where their inspirations came from. What materials they find useful and best to use in different scales. Asking them about previous pieces they have made to help me to see how extravagant they can be. Asking people involved in different cultures, different periods of time and even experts in that field. Getting familiar with all the information you require, example which type of old traditions they have which may help to influence my work. For me I would want to interview people with knowledge of the Chinese culture, finding out about traditional clothing and jewellery. Also finding out what colours represent in their culture. What old traditions exist and to see if I could relate these to my work. Learning everything about the Chinese culture would help my inspirations flow.

Observation, I think that by watching catwalk shows to see how the models move and what types of things are already out there. Seeing how colour is used in different objects on the catwalk especially jewellery. Watching how models move coming down the runway, to see how my piece would work with them. Looking at the audiences reactions to the pieces coming down the runway, seeing what they react to most, observing how these designs compare to the others. By watching the Chinese culture. Watching how they do things differently, for example how they walk, dress, eat, and wear jewellery and what colours are most prominent in their clothing. This could all help me with the design of my piece, how I would want the wearer to move in it, does it reflect the Chinese movement?

From the first semester a technique that I think would be very valuable would be the library research, looking up lots of different designers who specialise in catwalk jewellery to help with my inspirations. Also looking up the cultures or periods of time. Books would be a great source of information and would mean I could find out about old past times which may no longer exist or look into foreign cultures which may be difficult to get in to contact with myself.

I think that my research skills are progressing greatly and feel they will keep on doing so in level three. I feel that I have gained from this. It has helped me to widen my knowledge on certain subjects I am working on. The variety of methods to accumulate the knowledge I need will help me to have a vast range of different ideas. Learning this type of research will benefit my design skills, as I am able to research into this subject in a varied way. From my first year doing jewellery and metal design, I feel that I have learnt a lot from design studies. I can now see how to link what I have learned back to my work and how put it to good use.

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