Class Reflections

My thoughts on class: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Questions To Keep In Mind

  1. What have I learnt during this class?
  2. Describe your reaction to working as a group.
  3. Reflect on what you found difficult.
  4. What did you find really interesting?

Class 1

Today we focused on a simple and slightly in-depth introduction to footwear. We also took a look at different materials and went around the college to sketch and photograph plastic. After listening to a discussion and working as a group, I took away a few points. I learnt that you can dissect a shoe in very in depth way (colour, shape, functionality, style, context, material ect.), but you can also dissect anything in depth. It can help you not only design the physical aspect of an object but shape and told our interaction with that object. On another note I learnt that sketching should portray more than just the physical aspect of a certain object, and that including movement and interaction with humans is an essential part of the process.

I am a very outgoing person, so I like to talk and interact. I do enjoy working as a group, and I think what I took away from today is that people are very different from one another in regards to socialising. Our group was extremely diverse since we all came from the four corners of the world, and I think that that gave us an extra edge on our task. Since we all had different views on footwear and plastic, we all brought something different and learnt from one another.

In question 2, I talked about the good things of working with an international group, but I did notice during class some inhibiting things. Since we were all from different places, some people had difficulties speaking in english, so that was challenging. Personally, I have no issues with speaking english, but I think what was hard for me was to tone down my personality and let other speak. Since I had a lot to share, I tried to give others that were more shy a turn instead of monopolising the conversation. That would have inhibited the positive aspect of diversity in our group.

Living in Dubai for the past six years has really introduced me to an array of different cultures. Since everyone gathers in Dubai from all over the world, I was submerged in diversity. What I found interesting about today's class was that no matter where we were from (Japan, France, Canada, Pakistan or even the UK), we a common connection in regards to our shoes. Even though our group focused on the cultural differences between our countries' footwear, we noticed that all of us were wearing branded, sports-like shoes or open toed simple sandals. This connection showed me how universal and globalised our world really is, and how different pressures and situations dictate what we wear not only on our feet but on our bodies.

Class 2

Today's class was a mixture between independent study and group work. This morning, we had to take all three aspects of our research and create 15 ideas in about an hour and a half.

I really like sketching ideas, but what I found most difficult was detaching myself from the first idea I had. Furthermore, I had kind of a block half way through where I just sat there for 10 minutes trying to come up with anything. The reason why that happened to me was because I was being too literal. So, after I realised what I was doing wrong, I simply took the feeling from Sagmeister's work, the idea of bringing things together with stitching and the volatility of paper and started creating objects of installations that brought all three subjects together.

After lunch, we came back as a group and presented a few ideas. I think what helped me the most in this was that I could discuss with other people the ideology behind my pieces. It also helped me concretise some of my work and actually brought to light some of the problems that I did not detect while working alone. 

I then decided to take my best idea, which was an installation of glass layers on skyscraper, and finalise it.

Class 3

Today's class was quite exciting! I think it might have been our best one yet.

We were asked to do the ideas factory research in our own time. In addition, we had to choose one of our 15 ideas from the research task and bring in one or two A2 sheets with our finalized piece, and the research behind it. After having talked over my personal ideas with my group last class, I decided to take the high-rise glass viewing platform further. You can take a look at the "Ideas Factory" page, I am not going to rewrite everything.

Anyways, after having presented our A2 sheets to our group and glued our last pieces, we covered the tables in big white sheets to make everything look clean. We added our quick one hour models and made everything look coherent. Then we took six sticky notes and went around to other tables to comment on people's work.

Enough of this blabbering on, let me tell you what I learnt today. First of all, like every single god damn class: TIME MANAGEMENT. Our tutors gave us a little over an hour to make a model of our finalised sketches, which in all fairness is enough. But I just keep coming up with ideas that are too intricate for the short lifespan of each project. So I need to simplify my ideas from now on, but still keep it original. Secondly, I learnt that I need to annotate a little more my research section. I am a strong believer in the fact that a picture speaks a thousand words, but in this case either people didn't read my "inspiration" A2 poster, or my photos weren't communicative enough. Since the clients are always right, I will chose to believe the latter. So I will attempt to communicate better with my image choice from now on.

Class 4

Today was our first day at archway... woo! Having heard quite mixed reviews, I didn't really know what to expect from the campus. Furthermore, Abdo and I kind of got lost prior to arriving at the site, but thank god we left an hour early from Sketchhouse. Anyways, that has nothing to do with anything. The campus is cute, and so are our new tutors. 

Today we had Architecture as a main focus. I hadn't really done architecture before but I think that living in Dubai has really showed me the both extremes of this discipline. We had to come into class with an extended amount of research that I had done over the weekend. On Saturday around 5 I went over to KX with Abdo and we sat there for 2 hours or so, sketching different locations. We had to focus on Space, Scale, Behavior and Territory. I absolutely adored this, even though my toes were freezing, because it really challenged my drawing abilities. It was also quite intriguing to see people glance over your shoulders as you shake from the cold.

In class, we used our observations to choose three words that we wanted to explore through an installation. I wasn't a fan of this again, because of the time constraint. Being the neat freak that I am, I hate having to rush through model making. But what can I do? I just have to keep focus and do what I need to do. 

Anyways after that, we used the magazines we brought to class for our collage. Stupid me, I chose a make-up, glam magazine so ended up being able to use only lipsticks and nail polishes for my collage. I think that challenged me to use these products in a different way and think outside the box. I have always loved doing collages, but I had never done one 3D. The advantage of that is that you can work with every angle, so someone standing next to you might have a completely different view than you do. I really, really liked making this 3D collage, and will definitely continue to explore this new process.

Class 5

Today was our second day at Archway, and we focused on Jewellery, Footwear and Fashion Accessories. I have literally never done anything remotely related to fashion (ect.), so that was a huge step for me.

We started out with quite an interesting lecture, talking about different fashion people and why they did what they did. We looked mostly at accessories and the fact that as students on a foundation course, we need to step outside the box. We need to make accessories that challenge the traditional meaning of "accessories". Let me tell you that this was the hardest class for me EVER. I am a creative person but not in a "ground-breaking", super provocative way so making 30 accessories in 30 minutes, that ARE NOT ACCESSORIES was very challenging.

Anyways I did my best and created a fun, almost ironic accessory designed to give you the personal space you deserve in the tube or any common area. This was inspired by my first time being on public transport during rush hour. It was so insane it marked me! So with this little bubble you could push away the smelly strangers and get on with your busy life.

Class 6

Today's class was focused on Fashion Accessories. I really, really don't like this field of study because I hate the idea of being groundbreaking. Every day we have to come up with something amazing, that no one has ever done in like 3 minutes. 

Anyways, I still try my best, and I put in all my effort and try to think outside the box as much as I can. Today we had to draw ten ideas for each three words that were given to us: Suspend, Support and Surround. We had to come up with 30 pieces in total and make sure that each piece of jewelry or installation DID NOT resemble bracelets, earrings or necklaces. After coming up with 30 ideas (which was very hard for me because I am not a fashion designer) we took one and developed it. I love narrowing down because I usually combine two or more of my ideas to make on final, and usually better, one. 

In this case I focused on a particular idea that had something to do with personal space in the tube. It also fell under the category of surround so that was neat. Anyways I looked at a way for people to travel in the tube during rush hour, but still have a decent amount of personal space and the same mobility that they would normally have. I came up with this cage-like installation that fixes on the hips and creates a bubble around the chest and head of the person. It was be used for different body types with no problem, and you do not loose any aspect of your mobility. However, you do loose your dignity because it looks idiotic.

After that we had to make the model on a mannequin and transfer it to a person. In my idea development phase, I think I thought too big since I didn't actually think we were going to make the pieces, which ended up being very hard. But I managed quite well and it ended up looking quite realistic.

Class 7

Today was the most emotional day for me so far because WE LEARNT ABOUT CHAIRS! I have been obsessed with furniture designers since forever ago and I could not believe my eyes and my ears that we were actually having a lesson about CHAIRS! 

So yeah you could say today was a good day. We started off with a fascinating lecture about materials, forms, ergonomic designs ect. about chairs and then moved on to drawing and sketching of people sitting in weird places until lunch.

After lunch we came back and worked on our idea development. We had to take a very famous, well-known and quite boring chair and use its parts to create three brand new ones. Although the original explanations were quite confusing I managed to understand a little and work on task. I focused on aesthetics more than anything and came up with a great Idea to an S-style chair with three colourful circles woven into the metallic frame. I loved making it as well since it was a one to five ratio, so we were just making a little model. Today was cute!

Class 8

Today was the museum day. I think this was one of my favorite classes yet. We went to the National British Museum, which I had never been to, and drew the beautiful atrium as research for our upcoming "light up" projects. In addition to the primary and secondary research we had done, we got the chance to draw first had under the atrium. We stayed there literally the whole day, and looked at form, light and movement of the atrium.

After that we headed back to the big St. Pancras station to draw some more and observe people's behavior. We then came back to class the shared our sketches with our groups.

I think today was great because we had ample time to focus on our drawing and observing skills and we weren't rush in any way. I think that since I've started this foundation programme, my drawing skills and most importantly my sketching skills have really improved. According to my mother, I have developed a style (even though I don't notice it) and it looks good in my sketchbooks.

Class 9

Today we did a project called Light Up. I had to do primary research (observing light and how it reflects, absorbs, makes shadows ect.) and secondary research (firms or individuals that work with light and spatial design) before coming into class so I was all prepared for our - always - super intense idea development sessions. 

I loved doing this research because I never got the chance to work in spatial design. I did notice that there was a bunch of really good designers that worked in spatial design. Their work is very, very impressing. Anyways that's not the point... after generating some ideas, we chose one and started drawing. I really liked the fact that we had time! We had time to focus, draw and make our models. I always produce higher quality work when I get to have an independent project.

I ran with this idea of an office space that could bring up people's productivity and moral. It uses the natural light of the sky and creates a paisley pattern on the walls for the employees to look at during their conference calls. I made the model out of a paper cut out and then mounted it on a glass box. You can check out the light up project for more details! 

The next day we presented it to the class, where I got only one post-it note saying "nice". WOW! AMAZING!

Class 10

Today's class was really cool but SO stressful and SO confusing. I was very disappointed with the tutor's ability to explain the project and their input was not very helpful at all. Anyways this isn't a dishing session so I will focus on the positive.

Over the weekend, we had to go on an adventure by ourselves or with someone. Since my sister was in town, I took the opportunity to show her literally all of London (with my sketchbook of course). We walked about 20 km every day for three days straight and I thought my feet were going to fall off. Anyways I really, really enjoyed spending this precious time with her and decided to take that feeling and make an object out of it.

In class, we had to take our research, or elements of our research (I still don't really understand this) and then create ten jewelry, footwear or fashion accessory pieces. This was the most confusing 30 minutes of my life but whatever. Anyways, after that we were asked to take three or one, I still don't know and make six models out of that. I still wonder how we could have made more models than we had ideas? So I chose two and made those and then made four other random (but still cool) models. 

We then had to choose one idea and actually make it. You can find mine on my "ways of seeing" page. We made the actually object, and then created two A2 sheets for that with our research and final outcome. I had to make three because i couldn't fit all of my research.

Class 11

Today's class was the most boring so far. From 10:30 until 3:30 I only printed out some pictures and stuck them on my sheets. I finalized some things but that was it since I had done literally everything on our day off. Cool kid huh?

Anyways at 3:30 we had our crit, and It was very different than what we had previously done. I think I actually quite liked it because we ACTUALLY got good feedback instead of the usual, repetitive "nice" that I had gotten previously. So we each sat at 3 different presentation stations and commented on different aspect of the work.

I think that being able to sit and look at a piece of work for a while kind of inspired me to rethink my A2 sheets. I have been stuck on the same format every time but I don't have the balls to make anything really artsy. Mine are always really neat and bland and I want to captivate someone using a cool layout and interesting colours. So that's what I took away from today.

Class 12

Today's class was focused on structures and surfaces. We had to do some primary research before class, which was super easy where we found 30 images of different structures and surfaces and then bring in 5 different materials. I went around London again during the weekend with friends and to run errands so I took pictures on the way. I also stopped by the enormous Paperchase on Oxford Street and picked up  few materials (it wasn't too expensive with student discount and I got FREE COFFEE).

Anyways, I got too off topic. We had a lecture in the morning and then we started working. We make 3 models, 15 minutes each, which surprisingly was the perfect amount of time. I think lately I have been working a lot on my time management, and I can see considerable improvement. The reason why I finished today's models in time is that I came in with an open mind.... I didn't really know what I was doing, if it was a jewlry piece, footwear, a chair or an installation, i just made it. Anyways that worked out pretty well! 

We then drew up a bunch of ideas on our sketchbooks and then presented it to other people in our group. By that time we had been asked to sit with our specialized pathway - PDC for me - and our ideas were supposed to be directed towards that area. I was surprisingly in a creative mood today so that was super good for me. My ideas were quite concrete and I got solid feedback which will help me in the future. 

Class 13

Today's class was focused on model making. We had previously drawn up 5 main ideas that we wanted to continue forward. Since I was in a super creative mood last class, I got all of them down so I didn't come up with any more ideas while I was home. However, I did refine my big idea (bench) and came up with a name during class (Rest Nest). How catchy! I think I have an issue with naming things... whatever idea I come up with, I cannot move on until I have a name.

Anyways this class was great, we worked independently on our models, starting with a sketch one. I tried different weaving techniques, with different materials but I always ended up with a super messy chair. What I narrowed down is that I needed to simplify things. If you go on my big project page on workflow you can see that the bench design is now to its minimal. I stripped off any excess materials and kept it as simple as I could. Kind of like the idea behind the iPhone. I saw this documentary one time where Steve Jobs explained that when he created the interface for the iMac and the iPhone, he was inspired a lot by Japanese culture; Strong sense of minimalist Design that can appeal to the masses. Anyways I kept that in mind when designing my bench. I decided simple structure with a simple weaving system was best.

I finished off all my models by the end of the way since it was quite a simple Design. I think some people think that the bigger and the more intricate the better but I sure don't. Every single piece in my design has a function; nothing is superfluous. Also I realized that I was quite anxious to use the metal workshop because I felt like one of my fingers would come off, but everything went well in the end. I have officially used all the workshops (except stitching)! Cool!

Class 14

Today's class was our final crit! Woo!!

We had until mid afternoon to finish up what we had not previously done... I had to cut and paste some images and then finish up my model, photograph it and print them out. So I was really hustling and bustling in the morning. Then came the crit in the afternoon. Fadi and the other teacher who's name I forgot told us that it was going to be a little more different then the other times, which surprisingly it was! 

We were in groups of four or five and we had to each present out two A2 sheets and our models. The rest of the group then had to write up a response from three categories about our project. I think that this was very efficient. HOWEVER! I did not like the fact that first of all we were with the same people that we had been for the week, which meant they already knew about our ideas and how we developed it. Secondly, the fact that we were here and present during their response made the result bias. When you do not know who's work you are looking at, it is much easier to be impartial. But when they are sitting smack in front of you its a little harder. That's all I have to say about today.

Class 15

Today our tutor was Tamzin who's the nicest person ever. We had a lecture in the morning that lasted forever explaining what we were going to do for the project. Then after that we had like half an hour to do some work so we presented our research to the group. I also printed out a bunch of photos that I cut out and stuck on an A2 sheet since we need one for our research, one for a bunch of ideas, one for our idea development, and one for the final project. Then we had another lecture clarifying some things that were apparently confusing to a lot of people...... never caused me any issues, but it was good to get a refresher. I continued working on my A2 sheet in the afternoon. We had to draw up 5 ideas for tomorrow, so I thought of those in the tube because I had some plans at night that I couldn't cancel. It was actually super practical and I ended up with some quite good ideas focused on making The task of cooking and cleaning up easier. I think that people are over weight and don't cook because they see it as a chore so if there was a way to change that and make it easier, then they'd probably start cooking a little bit more. Hopefully.

Class 16

Today our tutor was Fadi, who I like very much. He helped me a lot with my développement and brought a perspective to my project that I hadn't thought about before. We had quite a relaxed day which is always great where we started off by presenting our ideas and then working independently. To be honest, i work really well by myself and if I have no time constraints, which I guess everyone does too! Anyways I got a lot done and I think my idea really grew today. I decided to add a function to my pan. So now it's a normal pan, a strainer and a steamer. To use it as a normal, waterproof pan, you have to make sure that the two plates are aligned in a way that let no holes showing. To make it easier for people, I made sure that the top plate's handle, when under the normal pan handle, makes it that the pot is waterproof. Now, to drain the pasta or whatever you are cooking in the pot, you have to push the handle to the right hand side to slide open the top plate and make the holes appear. To turn it into a steamer, you have to have the plate handle in its original position and then lift it and turn it to the right in one of the slots allotted. However!! I didn't think of the fact that now, the pot is not waterproof since the plates don't touch. Either I add a third plate that only closes when the first plate is lifted, or I make the plate removable and give the customer an additional plate that they place at the bottom of the pan. Not sure yet.

Class 17

Today we had Kathleen as a tutor, which was great because she focuses on product design and that's my specialized pathway. We started off the day kind of quiet. We had to think of 50 words to describe our product and hen choose five to draw abstractly. Stupidly, i chose five words that were kind of synonyms so I was stuck for a while trying to think of a way I could abstract that. In addition, i suck at anything abstract so that was hard. After we drew those up, we have to make them into 3D models. I loved doing that to be honest because it's so much easier, and i realized I'm quite good at that. I got good feedback from Kathleen which is always a plus. After lunch we had Karla take a picture of us for some board.... EW!! After she had taken her picture, I got back to work on my models. I think where I am right now on my design means that I need to focus on BE mechanism more than drawing up my idea. Since it's quite straight forward, I need to have the precision to take it up a notch and it's very hard. I keep thinking I found a way to make the top plate go up and down and side to side but then there's the water factor that comes into play and it sets me back quite a bit. This afternoon I focused on creating a few models for the strainer, wit different kind of holes and it looks so cool!! I'll make some more this weekend.

Class 19

Today we had tamzin and Laura as our tutors. It was quite a productive day. I finalized my sketch models out of paper and I figure out what shape I wanted the strainer to me. I made two other plate so I now have 4 different models, and tomorrow I will start making them. I don't know yet if I want to make the pan or if I just want to show the mechanism. I know I want to make three final models; one out of wood since it's quite easy to make, one out of a colorful transparent plastic and one out of a simple metal. I talked to tamzin and she didn't have much to say just that I was on track. Tonight I won't do any work because I have prior engagements so tomorrow will be the making day. I think that I am getting better at time management so I feel a little more relaxed and I also think that I am more comfortable with the making process. These two weeks off were great because I got time to think about what I wanted to focus on and what I wanted to achieve in this course!!!

Class 20

Today was a very buy day. I was literally making all the time. I printed out some photos in the morning and at the same time bought two 3mm acrylic sheets that I was going to use tomorrow to make my final model.

I spent the whole day figuring out how to make my wooden plates function. I started by making four exact same circles with the band saw and the sanding machine. After that was done, since it was the first time I used a drill at UAL, I asked one of the staff to put it together and demonstrate, which they did so kindly, but they ended up drilling the hole in my wooden circles directly AND TO THE SIDE. I told them to stop but they didn't and said "don't worry no one will notice". I don't think you understand how frustrated that made me. Now, every time I rotate the wooden plates, a margin appears and disappears, since it rotates ON AN ANGLE. So, I decided to make it only open and close one way so that people didn't have to rotate the plate fully and see the margins. After that was done I made some drawings in my sketchbook and left the rest to do tomorrow. 

I learnt from today the importance of making things yourself and how a stupid minute detail makes all the difference. 

Independent Working Day

I normally don't blog for the independent days on here but I might as well, since I had an enlightening experience today. I spent all day in the workshop (literally 10 to 5) drilling. I had the best arm workout ever.

I started with making the four plastic plates, which took me a while. I then drilled my strainer holes in the exact same way I did with the wood since it worked so well. It looked dope! I then screwed the metal plate pairs together to finalize everything.

After that was done, I made the pot out of transparent plastic Tupperware I had previously bought this morning for like 2 pounds. I tried it with one tall one but it broke so I used the second one I bought. From now on, I will buy two of everything so I feel less stressed out that it won't work. I know in the real world that's not possible but WHO CARES! Anyways, back to the point. I cut out perfectly the second Tupperware and ended up leaving a margin at the bottom so that the plates would sit comfortably in it. After that was done, I placed a handle on it by drilling a hole through the bottomless Tupperware and passing an acrylic tube through it, and then hot gluing it in place.

After that I was done but I felt like something was missing. I went to the metal workshop and got a few rods. I measured each one to make a handle for the top plate so you could open and close the strainer. I fused the rods together and went back to the plastic and wood workshop, where in drilled a hole in the three plates and passed the metal handle through. Tadaaa! I was done!

Class 21

Today was our Crit day. We had Fadi and another tutor doing the lesson today, which was very interesting.

We started off with the register as usual and then had until 1 pm to complete our projects. I figured out everything i was going to have to do yesterday, since I finished making my final model. So today, I focused on my A2 sheets. You can go to the workflow page for the Feed project if you want to see the final results. The first A2 sheet took me the most time since i wanted to make a huge drawing of my pot. It turned out really nice, and I finished all four sheets in time, thanks to a weirdly on point time management. I had previously done an A2 sheet for my development earlier this week since Fadi told me it was a good idea. I ended up throwing that one away since I changed my idea altogether, and the drawings were not very good. I still kept a photo though, but I hate looking at it.

Anyways, after lunch we started doing our Crit. By far, the most not useful afternoon ever. I did not get good feedback on my project, and the tutors didn't even see it. Some classmate wrote on my paper saying that he owns a strainer in a pot too at home.... Ok cool but what can I do better? I have done research and I know strainers in pots exist, which is why I tried to make a better one. I feel like he did not read my explanation very well.... I did however receive a good comment saying that I could add a more ergonomic quality to the handle, which is a good point.

Overall I am a little disappointed that I put in a so much thought, work and effort and all I got in return was no one batting an eye, some guy telling me he has a strainer at home and no feedback from the tutors on any of my work.


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