Reflection on Constellation at Level 5

In term 1, I chose a study group with a slightly different theme to those that I chose in first year. I was very lucky and got my top choice all three times! I chose Postanthropocentric Practices because I wanted to do something slightly different, to see if I would enjoy it. I did enjoy the study groups, but I did find the concepts more difficult than those of the groups in first year (Ashley Morgan and Cath Davies’ groups), I think because it was more conceptual than what I was used to! I just had to spend a little longer getting my head around the theories and ideas. My formative essay did use some of the theories we studied, so overall I would say trying something new was a success! I was also able to use the theories to relate back to my subject, textiles. My essay was about how the environment is affected by the processes of printing and dying, and made myself more aware of how the techniques that I use affect the environment. I want to be more environmentally friendly in the future, in both my practice and in my home life, because it is important to me that everyone tries their best to be more environmentally friendly. I feel that every small change, even if it’s just putting one more tin in the recycling, makes a difference. I hope that in my next project, I can find ways to be more responsible for what I make and that I know where all or the majority of my materials come from and whether they are recycled or not.

When we returned in term 2, it was decision time on what I wanted to write my dissertation about. Having spent three of the four weeks we had to fill in the form in India during the field module, I felt like I didn’t really have time to figure it out, as it wasn’t at the top of my priorities whilst on the other side of the world! Originally I decided to look at comparing the interior design of palaces in the UK and palaces in India. This was because we had seen a few palaces whilst on the trip to India, and the decoration is vastly different to that of similar places I had been to in the UK. Different rooms often had entirely different colour schemes and themes, and in one palace there was even a mirror room! Every surface was covered in reflective pieces, the floor, the walls and the ceiling as well as all the furniture! I soon realised, after doing some research on palaces, that palaces, however impressive and pretty, didn’t really interest me enough to write about them. I’m more intrigued by the average household, and all the different styles and tastes within interior design. In my subject, designing for interiors is always the area I head towards when we are given a brief. I’m longing for the day when I can decorate a whole house however I like!

For my dissertation, I have decided to research why we buy objects – material culture and consumerism within interior design. Having previously studied sociology, looking at how other people influence the decisions people make and why people do things interests me. From what I have already researched, I have discovered that there can be so many different meanings for the same object, depending on who owns the object. If an object is an heirloom for example, it has memories of the previous owner attached to it. But if there is an identical copy which someone else owns, it could just be something that the owner likes the look of. Social class or gender could affect what an object’s meaning is too, and this is one of the things I hope to learn more about as I continue to read and research further. How we decorate our homes also represents our personalities, just like what we choose to wear and how we do our hair and make up. What someone wears tells others things about that person’s personality or views, sometimes subtly or sometimes very obviously. The same basic principle applies in the home, even with tidiness for example. A messy, cluttered house tends to give off the impression that whoever lives there is unorganised, and that they hang on to things, be it physical or figuratively. Whereas a tidy house would imply that they are organised and perhaps more of a professional than those in the untidy house. Aesthetics of objects also have an influence on what someone buys, and in my proposal, I used the example of an Apple Watch. As the watch was designed to go alongside the iPhone, it needed to be designed in the same way, using the same materials, other wise it would probably not have sold as well. In the home, it may be even more precise, as the object needs to fit in with the theme that has been chosen within a room and unlike fashion, interior design isn’t as interchangeable, as most people only decorate every few years at the most!

At first, I found getting into the research difficult to start and get into, and because I changed my subject, I had a bit less time to find resources; but as time went on I knew I had to get on with it, and once I got into reading and writing, I found it easier than I thought I would. However, I think I should have started earlier as I found myself getting quite stressed – it was a lesson learnt! I am excited to research more into my dissertation subject and I will definitely start writing in plenty of time next time around!

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