Autumn 2021

Still struggling with the problem of dehydration, one more try has been done.

Yun and I went to the central park and tried to lock the colour and the smell of time, we tried to take the freshness as soon as possible.

We tried to hammer the patterns, colour, smell to the fabric/paper/ wood panel.

The result doesn’t seem like what I expected. There are several reasons that may affect it: material of the hammer, characteristics of the leaves, the colour of the leaves, quality of the printing material. Research fails sometimes.

It was hard for me to satisfy myself. I can’t tell if I’m satisfied with what I made. I’ve been working with ceramics for over a month, but I don’t think there are many projects I’m satisfied with. This week when I was sitting in the class, everyone is working on their own projects, either a plate, a vase, or a cup. I am the only one starring at the clay and doing nothing. I don’t know what I’ll make or what I want. I stopped there for a long time. Then I grabbed a small piece of clay and started sculpting without thought. This time, the weird irregular-shaped pear shows me the satisfaction of making without thought but with emotions.

My aesthetic point: irregular, 随心所欲

What is the simplest way of design?

I was wondering and questioning myself. In ancient times, before people know how to design, they find a flat stone and use it as a table. As their intelligence improves, the functional and aesthetical desire takes place and there comes the idea, human-based design.

I always use the table as an example or starting point of thinking. I block myself to some specific product that limits my thinking in a way of having the freedom of testing new forms.

some way I can try for the next step. Also using the draw knife to shape the irregular aesthetics is a great way to experience.

INTERIM transition

Next phase of the story. I define myself as a floating person, I was born in the northeast of China and spend the first 6 years in my hometown, then I spent the next 12 years living and studying in Beijing, and I’ve been living in Canada for the next phase.

Thinking about leaves, Yun and I went to the UBC botanical garden to see if there’s any inspirational items can be used.

I’ve collected many kinds of leaves, in different colours and shapes. I’ve also tried to boil the apple peels and try to see if it works. The water in natural ingredients dehydrates easily, and when it dries, it’s really hard to do other processes, it breaks to dust.

There’s an old way of making curtains in my hometown, my grandparents used to use wrapping papers to make colourful curtains that block flies in the summer. I wonder if it can be done the same way as leaves and if the leaves can be colourful as well. The idea was a good idea, but hard to make. Some leaves are quite small and fragile which makes it even harder. I’m thinking if I can rehydrate them and make them connected to the curtains. However, there’s a big problem. In order to make them attach to each other, I have to use tape to stabilize it and also give it a layer of protection. But using tape is not what I expected to show. Then I wonder, is there a way that we don’t use any glue to join things.

Chinese joinery

The traditional Chinese joinery is the brilliant knowledge of wood working without using any artificial materials but giving a strong structure for hundreds or thousands of years. However, the complicated structure and hidden structures are too mysterious to me, and I’d like to celebrate the connections. With the idea of a point-line-surface-3dimensional, I went to the woodshop and tried to create a small table initially.

The repetitive process of interactions is slowing down the time, and maximizing my other senses.

I’ve tried to use the hemp rope to connect all the elements and make them into new combinations.

I’ve also tried to burn it to see how fire is giving freedom to the shapes of the wood, also the smell.

Seeing the natural shift of these cylinders gives me a different way of thinking. Things don’t have to be unified or well designed, just let them be. Free the design, free yourself. Enjoy the patterns brought naturally.

Then I found this book really interesting to read and see how the natural patterns form.


Thysanolaena latifolia

With the curiosity of exploring leaves, I started tracing back to my childhood memories which also are the plants that have a special meaning to me. The natural smell brought by the leaves is also impressive.

Agricultural map of China

I came from the Northeast of China, and there has a lot corn, soybeans and wheat. In my memories, my grandparents grows corn every year, and when I was very young, I tend to stand on the corn pile and seeing the yard from the top. Now even my grandparents are really old, they are still keeping the passions of interacting with the plants. My grandfather especially, really enjoy growing plants, making crafts on his own, practicing calligraphy, drawing, and writing poems.


Some testing with breaking down the materials and recreating the format

With the passion of seeing the transparency through the corn leaves, I was intentionally trying to interact the materials with lights, and see how it can transform to. Also, adding the rice dumplings leaves (a kind of bamboo leaves) is the merging of my grandparents from both sides. My mother’s mom has a really professional skill in making cooked wheaten food, and the rice dumplings she made every year engraves in my taste, no one can make a better taste than what she did. She passed away 2 years ago, and I can never taste it again.

exercise of material testing

some other material testings with different material combinations. Including paper blocks, resin+cement, cork+cement.

Jumping out of the context for a bit. I give myself a pause from the story but see when is the time I am quiet, when I feel inspired, and when I have a stable emotion. Also experiencing a bad temper and emotional control this week is giving me a hard time thinking. I feel like everyone is a skeleton wearing skin clothes, and we never know which masks they are showing. To me as well, there are so many different personalities that I show to different people, and there’re requests for me to act like a normal person, and I don’t know what is the real me. Here’s the severe problem, I don’t even know who I am. The research should sit into: under when/what circumstance I can keep real to myself.

family retrospect visualizations and personality analysis.

Based on the material relations, I give myself a map to see the relations without some distractions.

screen design with sectional patterns in CAD

Referring back to designs, I am fascinated with leaves and trying to use them as the main material of the screen design. The leaves are easily dehydrated and very fragile, I want to test with the tangible aspect first.

boiled and dried

I’ve also tried to apply glycerine on the top of the leaf but it doesn’t work. The waxing process works well.

fabric tests to give another layer of strength, but it still breaks on the strains, it was an exhausting process seeing the problem still happening, I started to tear the leaves into pieces. There’s an idea that suddenly came up to my mind, which is to weave them instead of gluing them to give the tension.

weaving leaf is an interesting process that I completely put my mind into managing the stripes and keeping myself as a medium to connect with the story behind the material.