Sunday, 7 November 2010

Design Studies: Make Things. Make Sense.

In Friday’s lecture we had a guest speaker, Hazel White. She is a graduate from the Jewellery Design course at Duncan of Jordanstone and is now the programme director of the Master of Design course.

The part of the lecture I found most interesting was when she mentioned her visit to the Shetlands. To get to know people and ask them questions she knitted with them. Knitting is very popular in the Shetlands children there learn to knit when they’re at primary school. As knitting creates a relaxed environment and brings people together she felt it was an easier way to ask questions and get answers. In another situation this may have seemed like she was prying.  She mentioned that questionnaires are another way to get information but creating a situation where people feel relaxed, like knitting together, will provide more valuable answers.

At the end of her time in the Shetlands she produced the ‘Hamefarers’ Kist’. This is used to connect people across generations by sharing online photo albums with people who don’t use computers. The ‘Hamefarers’ Kist’ is a box that contains knitted pin cushions each with a different pattern. The different patterns are used to represent a different person, either a family member or friend. Placing the cushion in the box will bring up the images of the person it represents on the screen. The family member or friend will update their photos using ‘Flickr’ so that the owner of the ‘Hamefarers’ Kist’ has access to new images without having the knowledge of how to use a computer. I think this is a lovely idea and I know my Gran would like this as she always enjoys seeing new photos of me and my sisters.

I like the idea of designing for people. Even if it isn’t something dramatic that saves lives. Just to brighten up someone’s day and allowing them to easily access photos of their grandchildren can be life changing.

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