As part of my 21st Century Designer module, the class had a lecture from Professor Mike Press. The lecture was titled, Think Big; which was in essence showing us how, as designers we can make bigger differences in the world through our work. We don’t have to design just for the sake of creating nice things to sell to rich people; but could Think Big and create something worth while! It was a really inspiring and informative talk and opened my eyes into the other ways that I can approach my textiles way of thinking.
One of the designers that he talked about that caught my attention was Josiah Wedgwood, who’s family were all potters and he was expected to follow in the family business. However when he was only seven years old, he contracted polio and lost the use of both of his legs; meaning he couldn’t work the machine that the potters used to construct their pieces. When he was older, he created a different way to create the pottery. His main buyers were in London; which meant he had to come up with a way to transport the delicate porcelain. This led him to creating the canal system! He was also very interested in politics and against slavery. I thought it was quite amazing how Wedgwood’s original idea ended up leading to so much just because he was “thinking big”.
Mike Press also told us of two graduates of DJCAD; Lauren Currie and Kate Pickering, both of whom have thought bigger than just their own designs and created something that aids others. Lauren Currie is the creator of Snook, which is a service design company that provides different companies and councils with new design ideas to help them. She has been very successful and have done work for many different companies such as the Scottish Government, NHS (National Health Service), Edinburgh Council, Barnardos and Glasgow School of Art. Kate Pickering is the creator of Vanilla Ink, which gives a place for budding jewellers to create their work and learn how the industry and market works. It’s been very successful and they’ve just raised over £8000 with Kickstarter which helps fund businesses.
He also talked of British designer, Professor Jane Harris, who had began her career designing and creating woven textiles, that ended up selling for quite a bit of money. But then she realised that there had to be more to her work than just creating items to sell to people. This is when she began designing things digitally. She simulated, in a computer program, the way fabrics moved over the body and how they related to the human form. I thought it was great how she used her textiles knowledge and applied this to a completely different design route.
But one of the most interesting parts of his lecture came when he talked of Swedish Jewellery designer, Vidar Hertov. Mike Press showed us a video of Hertov vandalising a BMW Mini Cooper’s door. He first beat the panel with a hammer to create an indented circle and then used an electric saw to take a section of the door off (with the handle). He then drove away in another Mini! Once the video was finished, the hall was filled with a stunned silence; none of us really sure how to react to the video. Mike Press then explained that Hertov had wanted to approach jewellery in a whole new way; making it more of a performance. It turns out that he had actually contacted BMW and explained his idea to them, which they had agreed with, as long as he returned their cars. It was such a different and radical way to approach jewellery and certainly something you wouldn’t expect. But it worked. And it definitely gave me food for thought on ways I can approach my own work and how to expand on the knowledge that I will gain whilst studying at DJCAD.