Research V – Animals and Natural Habitat

Giant Ibis – Thaumatibis gigantea

As described by IUCN, the giant ibis lives alone, in pairs or small parties. Their natural habitat occur in marshes, pools, wide rivers and seasonal water-meadows. They prefer predominantly deciduous (that loses its leaves in autumn and grows new ones in the spring) dipterocarp lowland forest, although it seems to be dependent on soft mud around seasonal pools (trapaengs). It also nests in these trees, in fact studies show that around 90% of nesting trees are common deciduous dipterocarp species and females almost always lay two eggs per clutch in the wet season (IUCN). Based on my research I decided to associate the giant ibis with the dipterocarpus tree and its seeds, that also represents part of its diet among  invertebrates, crustaceans, eels, small amphibians and reptiles. I will experiment sketching it both with foliage and without. I especially like its winding branches that gives a more dramatic look in the winter.

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Hawksbill TurtleEretmochelys imbricata

Hawksbill Turtles are found mainly in tropical oceans, predominantly in coral reefs. They eat mainly sponges by using their narrow pointed beaks to extract them from crevices on the reef, but also eat sea anemones and jellyfish. I decided to associate the sea sponge with my sea turtle since it is the main element of its natural habitat and main food. There is a vast amount of sea sponges, generally colorful and with interesting shapes that I believe will integrate my turtle pattern very well.

Hawksbill Turtle Natural Habitat

Sumatran TigerPanthera tigris sumatrae

The Sumatran tiger is only found in the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Its natural habitat comprises evergreen tropical forests, freshwater swamp forests and peat swamps. Since its habitat is varied I decided to investigate further through the Unesco website that has a detailed article about the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra.

 

 

Research Part IV

For the nature of my theme, I am limited in my primary research due to the rarity of the species I intend to bring together for my final collection.

There is the possibility for a closure with some of these animals such as the Sumatran Tiger within the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), however I am personally against captivity for whatever reason. I consider most Zoos to have a hypocritical attitude today, when they bring up the comfortable excuse of “conservational” reasons for endangered species when it comes to justify their caged choices. According to several articles such as Euronews and BBC, two critically endangered Tigers were killed in captivity this February within a week, the second one in the London Zoo. Criticism from Wildlife Organisations arrived immediately. Born Free’s Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity, Dr Chris Draper claimed that “Both tragic incidents demonstrate just how unnatural captivity is for these wild animals,”  and that “They are denied the opportunity to choose their mates, have no control over their environment, and are unable to escape conflict.”

I intend to use mainly the WWF and IUCN database and archive as well as the Smithsonian one which I find to be the more detailed and updated and also rich in imagery of all animal species and their natural habitat.

We also have a very good imagery database in University, the Bridgeman Education.

 

Research Part I – Critically Endangered Species

My previous research led me to the most well known National Geographic and especially WWF where I started to learn about the distinction between the risk level of different animal species. This led me to learn about the IUCN Red List Of Threatened Species where all the other organisations take most of their data from and it is also the main source for journals and articles. Established in 1964, is now “the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plan species” (IUCN). According to its data, “more than 26.500 species are threatened with extinction” which represents more than 27% of all assessed species and considering that there are still a big number of unknown species that we were not able to locate because of the location of their habitat, deep in the amazonian forests or in deep waters.

As my research shows there is an exorbitant number of animals at risk, however due to the time and outcome of my brief I decided to chose a limited number of animals representing different territories and species. These species are among those that have an important ecological, symbolic and often spiritual value.

Sumatran Tiger

It only lives in the Island of Sumatra, this species counts less than 400 tigers and its population is decreasing due to deforestation and rampant poaching. Tiger bones are still largely used in Chinese medicine with the consent of its government. Its presence represents an important indicator for biodiversity where all the other species, including humans, benefit from.

London Zoo's Annual Animal Stocktake

Hawksbill Turtle

Lives in tropical oceans, mostly in coral reefs. it is hunted for its highly valuable “tortoiseshell” that is being sold in markets and accidentally killed by fishing gear or trapped in nets. According to WWF “They are a fundamental link in marine ecosystems and help maintain the health of coral reefs and sea grass beds”.

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Giant Ibis

Its population decreased to less than 200 and going, due to human disturbance and hunting. It can reach one meter in size and it is Cambodia’s national bird, the last country where its population mainly resides. Already extinct in Thailand, it has only been sighted in Vietnam and Laos close to Cambodia’s borders.

giant_ibis_thaumatibis_gigantea

Honeybee. In regard to bees, they are not directly critically endangered as a whole however there is an alarming decine in their number in short time. Several hundreds of species are already considered extincted while others have become Vulnerable or Endangered. According to the World Bee Project “The significant decline of honey bee and other pollinator populations threatens food security, biodiversity and ecosystems, with drastic consequences for the human race and the planet”.

329px-Pollinationn

Orangutans and Cross River Gorillas. Primates are considered very important, without their seed dispersal, hundreds or plants and trees would become extinct threatening the life of other species.

Orangutans share 96.4% of our genes and are highly intelligent. They live in tropical forests and are considered the “gardeners” of the forest, they play a vital role in seed dispersal. Gorillas are the largest living primates. They are found in central Africa counting around 200-300 individuals. They are mainly threatened by deforestation, hunting and illegal trading.

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I have come across various articles about scientific debates on the most relevant species for the survival of the human species across sources like The Guardian and The Telegraph. This gave me a further in depth knowledge of the importance of the biodiversity in its complete cycle where some of the most relevant aspects are not immediately visible, however it could have devastating consequence if there was for even one of these species to become extincted. Like the organs in our body, every single animal, from the biggest (blue whale) to the smallest plancton, insect or bacteria, has its purpose.

Case History: One of the historical disasters known as the “Four Pests Campaign” introduced in China between 1958-1962 by Mao Zedong was a hygiene action aimed to eradicate the pests responsible of pestilence and disease. Mosquitoes, flies, rodents and sparrows were targeted not only by the government but also by the population. Especially sparrows were targeted as considered among the main causes of agriculture damage because of their diet of seeds and fruit. As a result of the “Kill Sparrows Campaign”, ended with the death of around 3.000.000 birds, pushing the species near to extinction. This led to an ecological imbalance with a rise in bug population and consequent destruction of crop, resulting in being one of the main causes of the Great Chinese Famine in 1961 where around 25-40 million people died of starvation.

There are many other organisations who’s mission is to create awareness and protect endangered animals or animals subjected to inhumane conditions: World Animal Protection, Fauna & Flora, Conservation International, Edge and Conservation Evidence that gives important indications based on studies or other evidence, among others.

Exposure – Ideas for Final Collection

I still can’t believe I am starting the last stage of my final year. It seems yesterday that I started Uni and it feels weird to imagine that I won’t be walking through these corridors next year. And here I am researching for my final project. It is so exciting and a bit scary at the same time. I hope I will be able to bring together my skills and creativity for an original collection able to deeply satisfy me. Especially during the last months, I had many ideas crossing my mind and I decided to share my main three:

1. ‘Origins‘ has been my main choice. My family has a varied provenance which I don’t have an in dept knowledge about, so I decided to learn more by doing a DNA test that proved my Hungarian, Romanian and German origins, in addition of another one which I never suspected, Greek. The idea was to take elements of these countries such as characteristic flora, fauna and objects and bring them together in an original layout.

2. The second idea was to explore a very beautiful but not well-known creature, the Sea Dragon and its habitat. There are many species, each one with different shapes, in a multitude of neutral and bright colors. It has been fascinating me since the first time I came across it a couple of years ago during other researches. However, as much as I love the sea and its creatures, I wasn’t so keen in exploring it for my final collection.

3. My third idea started to arise while exploring and researching into the ‘Origin’ idea. During my research about the fauna in Romania I came across the fact that a very important animal for the ecosystem has become extincted in the recent years. This led to unbalances for both flora and fauna, and brought me to learn more about the same situation in different countries. I gathered an amount of information and knowledge that shocked me and so I decided to make Critically Endangered Species my theme for the final collection.

Final Reflection on Consultancy Module

Both in my first and second year I have never considered designing for stationery. Until my first week of researching around this subject I couldn’t name a stationery company or designer that wasn’t Paperchase. Thanks to this Module I had the opportunity to explore areas that I somehow avoided, maybe because unconsciously, I thought, I placed it out of my comfort zone. In time I realised I haven’t been avoiding it, I just never considered it, like I didn’t really know it was out there as an option, as absurd as it might sound. Not until this module. And after all these weeks, at the very end of this new exciting journey I am definitely happy that I had the chance to do so. It gave me a wider understanding of the design industry and this for me it is very important. As it is important having new challenges. Theory is not enough for me so I very much appreciated how my course, my tutors, were able to provide such a useful life brief permitting us closure with people from the industry. The confrontation between the industry and the academic point of view about the collection was another valuable perspective that cleared my understanding regarding both worlds that are much alike in the process but can differ in the outcome. I loved the challenge in pleasing both sides while remaining true to my style and preference.

The need for challenge and to extend my knowledge is what made me chose fashion as the final outcome for my fabric collection. Fashion is an area that I always considered but never explored since I have been mostly driven by interior.

Drawing conclusions I realised that the process in designing for stationery, fashion or interior seems to me quite the same. Research is the foundation to build upon, the most important part that defines the road upon which to explore each individual’s creativity while not losing side from the chosen theme. Defining the target market and the client, creating moodboards to always refer to is another common part. Maybe some time ago there was a more defined line between these areas but not today where designers and non designers explore innovative ideas and challenge the status quo. Big scale is not only for wallpaper anymore and small scale is not for stationery anymore. The two collections gave me the opportunity to play with different techniques and scale that I experimented in both.

Overall I feel I am improving my understanding of the design world, widen my knowledge and refine my skills. I feel I managed to convey this in the consultancy module better than in any other collection and I also found I could express myself more than before. I suppose it is because experience makes us better.

I also feel I keep improving my professional and visual outcome. I saw expressions of amazement and heard some important comments around my work today that made me realise that other people appreciate what I have to give and I have to admit that this gave me a deep satisfaction and significant confirmation that I am on the right track.

 

Fabric Collection

After many considerations I decided for my final fabric Collection and as mentioned in my previous post, to design for the fashion industry. I found that my Hero and one of the Blender designs worked really well together for this purpose. I used Contrado to print my designs as it is the most renown among students and I already printed with them. However I recently found out about Fashion Formula and I will definitely give them a try since I’ve heard are much cheaper and also better quality. I chose Velvet for my Hero Berry Design and Silk for my Coordinate.

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Anda Avramescu, Digital print: Hero Pattern on velvet and  Blender Pattern on silk

I researched into WGSN regarding future Fashion Trends and I took inspiration from the Bomber Jacket that I found appropriate for my target market. The intense red it is also in  trend in 2020. The collection started to naturally come together.

What I was sure about from the beginning was that I wanted to digitally print my designs. As additional techniques I first considered flocking on the black berries, on a silk fabric, and cording along some of the branches. I then opted for a velvet fabric and the use of leatherette applique on the black berries and used the same technique for the branches.

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Anda Avramescu, Leatherette Applique on Velvet

I loved the play of light and dark among the shiny velvet and the matt effect of the leatherette. It also matched my theme which also included ‘Light’. As for my blender I decided to print on silk, imagining it as a scarf to go along with the jacket. At first I planed on stitching along some triangles of the design but then I opted for a more simplistic approach since my Main one would already be more elaborated.

I really wanted to actually create the Jacket but since I also had to also focus on refining my Stationery collection after the final feedback from the IG Design Group, there wasn’t the necessary time to create it from scratch. The collaboration with one of the fashion designer students has been precious both for the research of the garment and also the creation of the 2D prototype that I planned to make and display. Considering all variables I found it to be a good compromise between the finished garment, that would require too much time and a Cad Visual, that wouldn’t really represent my idea. I felt I needed to see the final outcome as I imagined it, to fully understand the process and mostly to understand if the outcome would equal my expectations and my imagination. And I have to admit that it did, and even more. I was pleased to see my idea and print come to life. Seeing a simple square of printed fabric or seeing it as a garment, with all the surrounding elements can totally change a design.

For the display, my first instinct was to use a mannequin but considering that I would only create a partial, simplistic 2D view of the garment I wanted to create something that would match that feel. Looking through the sketches of the fashion design student I collaborated with, I fell in love with one of her sketches so I scanned it in and created an illustrator file and laser cut and engraved it. The creation of the file took me around half an hour and the actual cutting and engraving took around 1 hour and 45 minutes, besides some minutes of testing on smaller pieces. All worth it.

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Anda Avramescu, Sketch of a girl, laser cut/engrave on 3mm mdf

 

 

Revisited Stationery Collection after last feedback from the IG Design Group

The feedback received from the IG Design Group was invaluable. Having an industry related approach in the critique of our work was really important to me to move from a purely experimental and artistic academic approach to a more marketable collection. I considered every point discussed both with them and the tutors and made my evaluations every step of the way through a balanced approach between the market, the brief and remaining true to my style.

  • The first important point to consider was the number of my designs. While this wasn’t a problem for other students, I understood it was for me because of the complexity of my designs. Having 9 complex designs gave a feel of dispersion. While analysing them with my tutor, I realised that some of them might even create a separate collection on their own.  So I cut the collection down to 6. I gave up on one of my main designs, the one I found to be less original and skilful. I kept all three of my secondary designs and I cut 2 of my Blenders. It was more difficult to let these two go since I personally liked them but having analysed the why I just saw them not belonging in the collection anymore. The result of this choice gave the unity I was looking for and it gave to each design more consideration than before:

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  •  In the process I realised I haven’t made my own ribbons even though I used an effective one for the collection. I found this to be a another good opportunity to experiment with various techniques. Since I was laser cutting various other things I asked myself why not laser cut a ribbon as well and so I did. I actually loved it after painting it. I then found myself among beads and payette in look for inspiration and started to hand embroider my second ribbon. I was a bit sceptic about whether it would also be appropriate for a male customer as well but the combination of copper beads with the black ribbon gave the balance between a more feminine technique and a more masculine/neutral colour. The angular designs of the constellations I represented did its job, while the transparency of the ribbon gave that elegant and sophisticated touch I was looking for. As for my laser cut ribbon, I wanted my embroidered ribbon to be double faced. In fact I worked on both sides  with the exception of the copper thread that connects the beads once on one side and once on the other for a more interesting effect. I found it more appealing to a high end market both as ribbon to wrap gifts or as handles for the gift bag. I combined copper and blue/violet colour for my third ribbon.Untitled-3I decided to use the ribbons on some of the gifts and also as handle of a gift bag but I also wanted to display them as a distinctive item so I laser cut some transparent plexi glass for the display, designing it based on my gift tags shape;
  • Another point was to slightly change the contrast of my secondary mustard berries design and eventually the blender berries to give more space to the main designs to show. This consideration though changed radically after refining the collection, interchanging the designs and making some colour balance considerations so I decided to leave them as they were. All the collection has come together harmonically and each design gave just that right amount of colour needed for the whole to be balanced;
  • I considered my bows and how they would be attached to the ribbon. Regarding to my ceramic star bows I decided to attache a handle underneath so a ribbon can easily pass through. This way the ceramic artefact can be reused as bow or as ornament. To my origami bows I attached a foam pad so it can be easily attached to a gift;

I wasn’t totally happy with my gift tags so I ended up with loads of experiments till I found the one that would satisfy me in dimension (not to big or too small considering that was also going to be used as book mark), in thickness of paper and details. Too much detail would create an imbalanced value and too less would not be considered for a high end market. I also opted mainly for the mustard secondary designs for the majority of my tags to create a pleasant effect with the quantity of this colour used in the hole collection. I also considered the back of the tag and rounded the corners.

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6. Since I did some laser cutting for my messages for the greeting cards, and had some spare ones, I decided (following a suggestion) to use them on their own as an added value to the collection. Customers would be able to purchase and apply them on their gifts, to give that little attention and sophistication more thus keeping in simple, just hand written words with a delicate copper metallic finish. I also considered the packaging which I laser cut on thick card after printing the background of my blender pattern on it. For the words I used 3mm mdf, light and strong enough to serve the purpose.

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USP – As by my presentation and feedback from the Design Group, I have multiple Usp points which makes the Collection unique:

  • such as my Fluoresent (glow in the dark) paper clips
  • my Theme which is an original interpretation of the earth and the cosmos through connections that are related to human connections as well as human and nature through organic and structured elements.
  • A dual purpose gift tag that can be used also as book mark
  • Ceramic bow that can be reused as bow or as ornament. The purpose, as well as for the gift tags and wrapping papers is to purchase something precious that can be kept or reused.
  • Not only a visual but also tactile  feel. For this I used embossing and flocking in my stationery collection, that reflects and absorbs light in line with my theme that involves Light.

To these I added:

  • Wood Greeting elements that can be purchased separately and attached to whatever gifts. It is for an all year round collection so considering the actual Christmas Holidays I decided to make some greeting tags for this occasion. This can be extended to Birthdays, San Valentines day and all other holidays through greetings that can give clients the opportunity to express their wishes to their loved ones.