Early on in the unit, my project took a turn that I wasn’t expecting when I started to explore survival. I was faced to make the decision between bringing the spirit of the forest into the homes of those reluctant to explore, or alternatively offer an experience that would make the forest more enjoyable for those needing extra comfort. I found it really natural to take the survival route because I thought that this could really help reassure reluctant people to immerse themselves in nature. Initially writing my brief was easier than I thought because growing up in Canada I have been exposed to a forest environment where I’ve had relatable experiences.
I developed a project resulting in a product that will encourage my audience to feel relaxed in a forest environment, which was an option of my main intentions. The result differed in the sense that I had originally intended to design a piece of furniture, but quickly steered in the opposite direction.
My topic was ambitious because the research that could have been done on the forest is very broad. After a couple days I was overwhelmed by the possibilities and decided to focus on survival.
I put a huge amount of effort into the proposal and creating a broad range of research for myself when I actually thought I had narrowed the topic down by selecting the Boreal Forest Biome specifically, but naturally continued to seek outside.
The most important decision that I made early in the project was to focus on survival. This naturally evolved in me wanting to create something that someone can bring into the forest that is easy to use and is highly-functional. As far as aesthetics go, the torch I used was originally a navy blue colour that I primed with white. I loved the clean white colour so I became too nervous to paint it an alternative colour. I also knew I wanted a bright coloured insert in the kit and originally was overwhelmed by the fluorescent orange sample I collected. My tutors were big influencers in helping me to select the brightest one of them all.
I wanted to keep a Scandinavian design aesthetic for my outcome because I like the straightforwardness and functionality with simple materials.
The most inspiring research that I came across was the variety of survival kits for different purposes and the variety of interesting packaging that they came in because they were all so visually intriguing in their own ways.
A lot of inspiration also came from my experience camping as a child with my family, and some of the tools and items we used out on our trips.
I was behind schedule to start designing my idea, so the model making workshop with Simon and Tom was a big starting point for me, giving me an understanding of the shapes I wanted to create along with the placement of contents. I really developed my project through model making and playing around with a variety of functions--seeing what adaptations I could make to already existing items that were essentials for my survival kit.
With the theme of Forest, my intentions were to bring the spirit of the forest into the homes of those reluctant to explore, or alternatively offer an experience that would make the forest more enjoyable for those needing extra comfort. This small and lightweight Forest Survival Kit roots from the practicality of traditional and essential survival techniques and tools. From its packaging to its contents, this kit has been thoughtfully designed to assist in life-saving modes of survival--aiming to bring a pleasurable forest experience.
I experimented with making three sets of a knife and slingshot in the woods, the workshop and one set out of paper. I also looked at different levels of translucent bodies and how the light passes through, along with different fixtures to create the kit. I played around with different cutting techniques to cut the tube for the body of the kit, and ended up going with the cleanest looking result.
This project has been really successful for me because I think that that quality of my making skills has improved, I am proud of my design and I feel like my outcome was influenced from my research.
My biggest downfall throughout the whole project was my time management and planning. I seem to participate in both extremes of being really keen to tackle research that is too ambitious for my available time, as well I also tend to procrastinate from time to time. My initial time plan was not executed effectively and I really jumped all over the place. I really went with the flow and began to recognize when something needed to be accomplished and when something needed to be left and not explored any further.
I do not really like using Workflow because of the actual platform, not because of the idea itself. I think it’s important to document your process, and it’s so easily accessible online that it makes a lot of sense. I wish that the platform was more similar to Blogger of Wordpress because I find it easier and a more efficient system when it comes to uploading media. I think I would have used it more often instead of putting it off if it was easier to upload photos (process is tedious and platform likes to freeze) and was more user friendly.
My main difficulties during the project was telling myself to move on from a certain area of research that I had already exhausted as not having much potential for stemming ideas from. I eventually just had to move on to the next task.
With this project my visual communication skills have improved by pushing myself to become more creative with my sketchbook, through model making, as well as photographing my final model. I have become more familiar and comfortable with machinery and tools in the workshop and have developed an area of interest within the forest. These skills will definitely come in handy for my future undergraduate course because they have given me the confidence to become more creative and enthusiastic in these areas.
If I were to do this project again, I would have been a little less ambitious when it came to defining such a large area of research topics in my initial project brief. I need to improve on making these realisations and decisions more quickly instead of becoming consumed with the idea I thought it had on how to tackle the project.
© Lauren Holly Best, all rights reserved