Grad Design Studio Fall 2021

Making Paper at Home with Locally Sourced Items

Prompt 3: Discourse

When I started working on prompt three, choosing a reading from our syllabi was pretty easy. Since my interest has been mainly focused on sustainability, I picked Resilient Systems by Manzini right away. However, I didn’t see how much I would struggle to find a connection between my making practice and the article for my prompt.

After reading renowned scholars’ established opinions on sustainability, I felt so inspired but also overwhelmed and helpless at the same time. Is there something NEW I can contribute to this discourse? Will I ever be able to design something that is truly “sustainable”? My practice in sustainability design felt so tiny and unimportant, especially considering the open studio event with possible thesis supervisors.

During one of our studio practice sessions, Cameron gave me important reminders / helpful questions, which helped me navigate the process immensely. Everything started falling into my lap shortly after the conversation. He said, “Your making should be fun! You are not in a working environment. You are a student, and probably for the last time in your life. What does being small, local, open and connected mean to you? What does extreme locality mean to you?”

I started drawing this mindmap to explore my connections between the article and myself trying to answer his questions. As you can guess from the mindmap scribble above, I decided to make my own paper at home inspired by my childhood memory of making Hanji(Korean traditional paper). I found this excellent tutorial on making paper at home, and I sourced most of the materials that I needed practicing the SLOC(small, local, open and connected) model from Manzini’s article.

1. Resources

  1. Paper waste produced at home
  2. A picture frame as a mould, mixing spatula, blanket from Value Village
  3. A dishwashing sponge and blender from home, the scrap of Teflon sheet from Warren, my housemate
  4. A secondhand window screen from Sharon, who I met from Vancouver Facebook Marketplace
Receipt from Value Village

2. Making

2-1. Preparing Paper Pulp

I cut paper box scraps into little pieces, soaked them into water overnight, and then blended them until the mix had the consistency of a thick soup.

2-2. Molding the Paper

I put the frame on top of the window screen and started pouring the mix inside the frame. I used the spatula to even out the pulp. The pictures above are from my first attempt, so the pulp is more bumpy and rough than it should be.

2-3. Pressing Out the Water

The original article says the best material to squeeze the water out is using a nylon mesh, but instead, I used a scrap of Teflon sheet that my housemate had. Anything that the pulp wouldn’t stick to is fine. I gently squeezed the water out using the sponge until I couldn’t hear the water draining from the mixture.

2-4. Drying

I put the paper underneath heavy books for a couple of hours to weigh down the edges of the sheet and squeeze extra moisture out. Then I put them around the house where it’s warm and dry.

If you don’t spread out the pulp thin enough, it takes quite a bit of time to dry out. But if it’s thin enough(like the picture from my fourth attempt above), it takes about a day to dry.

3. Playing

After I got comfortable with the process, I started playing with the pulp batch and mixing different materials around the house.

Turmeric Powder

Ground Coffee

Chilli Powder

Autumn Leaves

4. Outcome

I was pretty happy with how the paper turned out, especially those with turmeric’s colour. The one that is the roughest at the bottom left is my first sheet, and the ground coffee one at the top right is the latest.

I loved the organic aesthetic of the stems of leaves that left marks on the paper as well. Creating something this beautiful out of waste made my eyes open towards the possibility of material things.

Embroidery Credit Thanks to everyone who contributed to this project!

Grad Design Studio Fall 2021

Visual Interpretations of Words with Typographic Material

Prompt 2: Material

Working as a graphic designer, I developed this fear around typography, such as not using the right typeface will make me look unprofessional. As the description of the second prompt says, I wanted to use this daily making practice to help me get out of my comfort zone and confront whatever fear I have towards my general design practice.

After discussing this idea with Cameron, I decided to pick a random word and create a poster each day, exclusively using typographic elements only. I already had so many words floating around my head from a recent challenge in my life, so I immediately made a list of words and started creating.

Considering the context of origin, the origin of my words, and why these words mattered to me in the ways I expressed is how my brain works around difficult times. I always seek meaning in my feelings from life experiences. I am currently processing a type of loss, and throughout this particular prompt, I found this activity quite therapeutic. I can see myself continue the prompt, and I am excited about where this practice will lead me next.

#1. Love

Love is a stream—it’s continuous. but love often does the opposite of stream—it stops. If it comes; let it. If it goes; let it.

Love feels very fluid for me right now. It feels like it has its vitality and life span that no one can guess or control, but that is the beauty of love. It flows, comes and goes, and I cherish as the way it is.

#2. New&Old

New things get old. Just like the old things did. -Take this waltz(Toronto international film festival, 2011)

This line is from one of my favourite movies that I watched more than ten times. Ever since, the concept and relationship of New&old is something I always try to be aware of, especially around people and emotions. New things are shiny, but new things eventually get old too.

#3. Transformation

Allow yourself to transform as many times as you need.

Butterfly is a dominant image of the word “transformation” to me. It feels warm, feminine and somewhat magical. While I was working on this, I thought of Sailor Moon. Whenever she turns into a superpower being, sparkling stars surround her, and I wanted to capture that image in the expression of the word.

#4. Forgive

The root of “forgive” is the Latin word “perdonare,” meaning “to give completely, without reservation.”

Luckily, I don’t need to think or use the word “forgive” often. However, I believe it is important to remind ourselves about self-forgiveness every now and then. The word feels like it lays at the bottom of all the layers of other feelings, and sometimes I don’t realize forgiveness needs a place inside me.

#5. Peace

You can find it within yourself.

A lot of my thinking process centers around finding inner peace. Peace has to come from inside me, and sometimes it may seem challenging to manage. But at the same time, I know it is always there, and all I need to do is look for it.

#6. Possibility

When there is nothing, there is the possibility of everything.

Possibility brings excitement into my life. I never know where it will lead me, and that is the beauty of it. I wanted to find a way to express its liveness through the typography, and I ended up making each letter almost look like an alien or some creature.

#7. Growth

Growth and comfort don’t coexist.

The word “growth” reminds me of trees and leaves. I love looking at a leaf’s skeleton when I walk in the woods, and that image came to my mind while I was working on this word.
Growth can be painful because it usually occurs when you step out of your comfort zone. However, I know I will look back at it and be grateful that I allowed it to happen.

#8. Freedom

That is what I want to feel every day.

#8. Freedom

Deep understanding requires active listening.