Inquiry – Prompt #4

Going into this prompt I wanted to really think about what I wanted to start my research thesis on. I love the past prompts and how I was able to just think outside the box. I really enjoy working with 3D printing and would love to do research on it, but I feel like this is a bit on the limiting side of my practice. I took the weekend after prompt #3 to really sit down with my thoughts and how I wanted to proceed in this master’s program. I have had some hurdles since I started and always felt I was one step behind. I wanted to start this prompt on the right footing and to go forward and enjoy the process for the next two years. I sat down in my studio with past projects and my multitude of sketch books to just look at all I’ve done and to see what really got me excided. I’ve always been a formal designer when it came to ‘fashion’ design but also loved thinking outside the box and designing ‘art’ type pieces like prompt #3.

I want my practice to have some type of meaning and that I could draw from for future design projects. Since I started, I wasn’t sure if I was going to use my main practice and build from it due to some situations with the school. I wasn’t sure if I wanted my practice associated with the research I was going to do here.

I decided to move forward with testing and inquiring different methods that are very much related to my practice and see where it would take me. I started with some of the same elements, fidget toys, weights and where I could sew them or incorporate them into the fabric. This way they wouldn’t have to be anchored in but intertwined into the piece. The first thing I needed to come up with is a research question. For some reason, this was probably the hardest part of the whole process for me.

In the first week of this prompt, I just started to write down questions, no matter what it was or how it was phrased to see where this would take me or where the questions took me. I had questions on formal wear to athleisure wear for children and how to take what I did in my capsule collection to this area. I also put out questions on how different therapeutic toys could be intertwined into the garment. With all these random questions on paper, I also took some of the fidget toys and dismantled them out of their hard casings and tried sewing them into samples to see how they would look. Some worked and some were huge fails and others needed more prototyping. This gave me a good jumping off point as to where I could pull from and do some more speculative research and experiments.

When it comes to research methods of this prompt and my practice, the best way to explain it would be it is speculative and at times futures methods with experimental practices built into the methods. For this prompt, I didn’t want to over complicate it with ethics and this was the best way to inquire and not have to get approval from ethics.

Once my mini samples of how I could work these items into the fabric were completed, I started with taking one of the patterns from my capsule collection and worked the quilted pattern into the front panel of the garment to house the squishy balls. At first, I was not too sure how it would look or feel on a bigger scale or if it would even work when it was actually in a garment. But I took all my doubts and brushed them to the side and pressed on with this prompt. I wanted to see if this could actually work without adding the bulk that would normally be added when adding anything into a garment.

I didn’t have to draft any patterns up for this prompt as I was using a pattern that was already drafted and used from my collection. This was great as I didn’t have to start from scratch and take up more time. I cut out the pattern pieces like I normally would when constructing a garment. The only difference was that I cut out four front panels instead of two. This was to house the squishy balls and to make the quilting pattern so they wouldn’t fall out and so that it would not have to be incorporated into the lining.

When I started to sew in the quilting lines I used the puffer jacket lines to start things off and so it would correspond with the puffer lines in the back panel as I was not going to alter that piece. With the front panel started off with the current puffer lines sewn, I looked at the space on the panel, the size of the ball and also the amount of room needed for the balls to expand. I started with the first set of lines and balls and it didn’t look too bad, so I continued on to the next row and then the next. When I finished the front panel, I got my son and placed it on his front to make sure it wasn’t too puffy or awkward looking. He seemed to like it, as he asked if he would be able to wear it once it was done. This was starting to be promising and kept me going to complete it. I was so lucky as I was finishing the second front panel, I had used almost all the squishy balls that I had purchased. If I had used more and made the spaces smaller, I would not have had enough. I had purchased 9 packages with 3 balls in each (27 balls) and I had 1 left over. I completed the outer shell of the vest with all the balls inserted and then started on a fleece lining. The reason I wanted to line it was to see if it would get puffier or bulkier as a completed garment. This is key to the overall development and testing.

The completion of the vest took only about a day to complete. To my surprise, it actually turned out really good. I wasn’t surprised that the vest would work as a pattern but more that the added balls worked. They squish properly and have enough space to expand and contract. The only down side to having a product like this inside a child’s garment is that it is not washable but would have to be spot cleaned. Not so good as children do tend to get dirty when they play. So this element will have to be explored and researched a bit more to make it more cleanable. The next thing that would have to be worked through is if one of the balls were to break, how would it be fixed or replaced. I had some suggestions that instead of quilting them in, having a removable panel that can be zipped into the vest and that way you could purchase a new panel or replace that one ball. This suggestion will have to be explored more but think it might be a good idea.

The things that I learned from this prompt was to go out of my comfort zone and just run with the bazaar idea. Who would have thought that squishy balls would actually work incorporated into a garment. All in all, this was a great success even though there are still things that need to be worked out.

Discourse – Prompt #3

This prompt I had felt good about choosing an article about what I wanted to do. I chose one that was about 3D printing education in the Fashion Industry. It was a topic that needed to be explored more and frankly it was not regularly taught in the fashion design programs as a regular course. 3D printing was more of an elective or special topics course. I was super happy with my choice of article and ready to present my idea. Well…..Let’s just say it did not go as planned, but not bad. I was a bit thrown off that he thought my idea was a bit boring. So, I was now at square one again.

Before my instructor left, he did give me an idea of what he could see me doing this assignment on……

…..Indigenous Futurisms.

I was a little taken back by the topic and at first wasn’t sure how I was going to tie in Indigenous Futurisms with a 3D printing element. Even though I had a pretty good idea of what Indigenous Futurisms is, I was needing some outside help with what Indigenous storytelling I should use. I was part of a global Indigenous student exchange over the summer with a university in Australia and remembered that I had a session on Indigenous Futurisms. I had some notes that I had taken from that session but nothing in regard to resources I could use.

I have some great resources at work and thought this would be a great jumping off point. So, I emailed some of my Indigenous co-workers on what resources they could share or point me to. To my surprise, most of them didn’t know anything about this genre but one of them had some stories that would be perfect. However, even though most didn’t know anything about it, they were all super excited to know and see what I was going to do with it.

The next thing I did was look for some books at our campus library and since I was at work, I would be able to get them quickly. Right off the bat, I was able to get two short story books from the library. I also looked through our Gathering Place books and found two more books that would have been overlooked normally. This was great and what a strong starting point to my research. While going through these books at a quick glance, I remembered a Cree story that was told in one of my co-worker’s courses that really stuck with me. It about language loss through an evil force but will be saved in our future (paraphrasing it as it is a great story). This would connect Indigenous Futurism with story and future with 3D printing. However, this didn’t stop me from researching more and finding more stories and connections. I found a mysterious story of the blue-eyed or moon-eyed Indians and loved how I have a connection with how I look compared to other Indigenous peoples. For some reason, I thought about the movie ‘Total Recall,’ the original one of course. This movie had people colonizing Mars (not so far fetch these days as it’s all the talk these days) and was thinking about how the original people were kept in a certain part of town in these air-controlled confinements. It reminded me of how Indigenous people were put on reserves away from the settler population. Then I found a news article that reported the benefits of 3D printing for Indigenous people. This report showed how 3D printing simple farming items would help keep cost down and could be produced quickly if needed. This would be great for farmers who lived in areas that would be harder to receive these items quick or conveniently.

Next, I remembered when I was in the Global Indigenous Learning Exhange (GILE) with an Australian university, we had learnt about Indigenous Futurisms in one of our sessions. I still had some of my notes from that session and quickly reviewed. I didn’t really have anything I could use for this research, but I had some good quotes from it. For example, “what if aliens were just billionaires from other planets.” I loved this quote as it could be true as the billionaires of our planet all want to go to space and inhabit other planets. Another good one is, ” The future is Indigenous.” This rings some truth as to conquer this climate change, we will need to go back to some Indigenous teachings of respecting and listening to the land. The instructor also answered a question of how Indigenous Futurism and Science Fiction connect. She stated that Indigenous Futurism is one and the same as Science Fiction. At first, I didn’t understand how or why, but now when doing my research, I can see how it is.

After reading all these articles, books and anything else, I needed to figure out my story and my connection to my design practice.

I figured the first place to start is to do a mind map or concept map to get all the random ideas to have more of a connection and to start connecting my thoughts. This was a good way to focus my thoughts and ideas.

Concept/Mind Map

At first, I was going to try to focus on what product I could make to relate to a story that could use in everyday life. I wanted this to be useful but when I mocked things up it really didn’t have anything to do with my discipline. When talking in our feedback sessions, I told my instructor that every time I came up with an idea it was more art than design. He stated that is what he wanted to see, and it would be totally ok to intertwin that with my discipline.

With this in mind, I had many ideas and to be honest not a whole lot of time to complete it at full scale. I will have to scale it to a smaller size but will get the overall look. I wanted to use my new 3D printer I had just gotten a few weeks back. I would have to scale back my usual over the top creations to fit it into the few weeks we had. It seems like a lot of time when you look at a calendar but in reality, it is not. From the time of planning, drawing, testing and prototyping, it doesn’t give you a whole lot of time for trial and error. I’m hoping we are reviewed on process and not end result. When it comes to constructing an apparel design it can take from 9 months to 1 year from start to finish, so 4 weeks is not a whole lot of time.

When designing and drafting up my design for this prompt, I had a few fails and I think it was mostly leveling but even with that it sets you back for time. When this happens it is not always clear that is what the issue is. It can get pretty frustrating, as you can spend hours starting and re-starting this process. So, I tried doing something a little different to see if it was the print or the machine.

When I finally was on the right process with my prints and they were coming out to spec, I printed several sheets of fabric fabrication prints to link together. I had to print 10-12 sheets to come up with my final hood/scarf that would combine with the fashion piece I sewed up. To link each sheet up together in this design you just snap the pieces together. But be careful as they are plastic and could break easily if not paying attention.

Once it was done to my liking, I put it in a bag to have it ready for presentation the next day. Not thinking, maybe it was lack of sleep, I had put it on the table and then dropped my other supplies (aka backpack) on it. Well let’s just say it shattered into individual octagon pieces. All that hard work is now confetti. Lessons learned, I guess. I will remake it for our Open Student event next week if there is time.

All is not lost with this mishap, I also learned something from it. I learned that it might also be the type of filament that I had used that is so stiff and breakable. it is not due to the filament being out in the elements but that it needed to be the flexible PLA instead of the standard filament. this would have given the piece some flex when I had put my bad on top of it and then it would have come back together without breaking. Not sure if I could order that type of filament in time for the event but it is noted for the next project.

My result of this assignment is that prototyping is very important to the success of fabrication and the correct use of materials. From start to where I ended is not nearly the finishing end of this assignment. I did love intertwining storytelling and 3D printing into this and with any design or runway collection there is always a story behind it.

…….The future is Indigenous!

Materials – Prompt #2

Coming into this prompt, I was immediately brought back to my Undergrad year one foundations course. I had mix emotions as to the vagueness but at the same time a smile came over me as I knew how to approach this prompt.

Many ideas flowed through my head, and all were interesting in their own craft/area. I first thought about designing an art piece, documenting and working on it daily but that wouldn’t get me out of my area of expertise. Next, I thought about working on a sample book with each day practicing a part of sewing that I struggled with or was on the tricker side. Again, not really testing my abilities so I then decided to design jewelry. This was definitely an area I have no real experience with, and I know I will fail at some attempts.

As much as I love to plan out things, I wanted to go into each day, letting the process take form. I wanted to see by using materials I already had in my studio, could work for this assignment. This was going to be a bit exciting and also a bit nerve racking as to what each day would hold for me.


The first day I wanted to try my hand at beading. Well, I was not sure as to what pattern or if there was to have any design to them. I just wanted to bead and see where the pattern/colours took me. Let’s just say this was a big disaster! Nothing was straight and for some reason, even with holding the thread tightly, it looked loose to me. I was a little disheartened that I stopped after restarting twice and left this one unfinished. I may come back to it at a later time to complete. This is definitely a method that would need a daily practice and research to develop the skill. I found by trying this method over beadwork on a garment is very different. That process I can do with some ease.

Starting up the next day, I looked around my studio to see what materials I could use for this next sample. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular but something that may be used when constructing earrings or some type of jewelry. On a side note, I had just moved over the summer, and I still had some of my studio supplies in boxes. The finding of materials and gathering what I needed most likely took an hour in itself, but I did find some suede and gold chain. The suede was very thin and had a nice drape to it. It would be nice in a feather or cut outs and have the chain dangling from the hook post. I started with different design sketches and mockups as I only had a small amount of this material and wanted to make sure it worked before cutting the final result out. Once I was satisfied with how the mockup was coming out, I then transferred the design to Adobe Illustrator to then transfer to my cutting machine. When I did this, I had to make sure that the blade would cut the suede but not the mat it was laying on. The first pair of earrings I made with this material; I kept it simple. I used the sued and a jump ring and hook. Once I was happy with this and how it turned out, I thought I would take that same design and add to it. For this next pair, I used the suede, jump ring and hook like the last pair but added a triangle and long chain. Both had the same foundational elements, but one was the next progression of the design.

I continued my samples with leather on the next day. I used a little bit thicker leather this time as I wanted the piece to have a bit more structure than the previous day. I wanted to make something a bit different in the ‘jewelry’ area, so I thought why not do a pin or broach. I thought making a flower and have the pedals made out of the leather. This would give the flower texture and creativeness. The next thing I toyed with was do I have the pedals all individually or should I make them connected in some way. I decided with the time frame I was allotting myself that having them connected was the best course of action for this sample. For this flower broach, I did it in two layers to give dimension and then to secure it together, I used a large black button as the center of the flower. Lastly, attaching the flower to the backing with hot glue. It came out nicely and with ease. I was surprised on how simple and time aware this sample was. Might actually try this again with a different type of medium.

The next day, I decided to design a pair of earrings and cut them out of wood. When designing these earrings, I wanted to have a traditional Indigenous look to them. I drew a sketch of what I wanted or more of a doodle then I scanned that and put it onto Adobe Illustrator. I then cleaned up my lines and sized it to make sure it would not be too big on the ears. To cut the wood I used my Cricut Maker, that way I could get clean lines and cut out would be seamless. Once they were cut out, I connected the wood pieces with jump rings and an earring hook. To my surprise, they turned out well.

Since the earrings from the previous day worked well with the wood, I decided to try it again with geometric shapes and add some vinyl design. I wanted these to be long and dangly. I played with different shapes and multiple shapes to see what I could come up with. This was more of a trial by error type of designing with no pre-idea of what I was going to make. Once I was done with shape designing and doodling, I was able to decide on circles and ‘v’ shapes. Now to see how I was going to attach them together and where to place the holes to attach them all together. I also needed to decide on how long to make it and how many of each shape to use. This process was probably the longest out of all it. To attach the ‘v’s I had to use two separate pieces of chain to attach it to the previous or above ‘v’. When that was done, I resized the ‘v’ to cut out of vinyl to place on top of the wood. This just gave it a bit more dimension to it. I had also done the same thing with the circle but made half-moons to place inside the circle. The completed earrings looked really good, and I may possibly wear them if I had the right outfit or place to go.

I decided to go back to the thicker leather for this next sample as the broach turned out well the last time, I used this leather. I thought about doing an animal shape but every time I drew one or found an outline shape in my default library, it just didn’t look right. I was getting a bit frustrated but then decided why not just use a portion of the animal or fish that way it wouldn’t be too large for the earring. So, at first, I tried just using the head or paw…but I was not feeling it. Then out of nowhere I had the idea to use a whale tale, and out of sheer luck it worked! However, I needed something else to add to it. I was going to do an iron-on pattern but quickly remembered that I was using a skin material and well that would not work well. I went back to my studio and saw that I had some rabbit fur. I didn’t have much but enough to make little pompoms to dangle from the whale tale. At first, I was going to make them into balls, but it just wasn’t working like it would with normal fabric. So, I decided to fold them. It worked but maybe next time I would find another technic to make those pompoms.

On my last day of me sampling earrings, I decided to try the wood again but this time I wanted to see what it would like with different types of wood. I had maple, cherry and walnut woods. When looking at them I thought why not use the leaves that are associated with them. I wanted to keep the simplicity of the wood but some drama, so I dangled the leaves at different lengths from chains. Again, simple but with some drama. These actually have to be my favourite out of the who bunch. I would have to have the right outfit and place to wear them but I’m sure I will find some place to wear them.


This prompt was challenging in the way of not being overly skilled in this area but also to come out with ideas of what to do each day without repeating myself. I might come back to the beaded one in the near future to see if I could tackle it without having the pressures of a time frame to complete. I may also see if I could get some hands-on training as to the proper technics of how to do it.

All in all, this was a fun assignment and to test our abilities outside of our norms and to get us thinking about other ‘design’ concepts.

Gift – Prompt #1

                                                                 By: Jennifer Lamont

Giving a gift to someone should be special and well thought out. Not something that is last minute and bought from a store. To just purchase a gift to give a gift has been something of a modern-day trend and has lost the true meaning of gift giving.


A gift to someone who I have just met in a three-hour class calls for some investigation and interviewing without getting overly personal. I do not live in Vancouver, so I’d have to stick with communicating through the internet. I emailed some basic questions to the recipient but did not feel like they were informative enough to get what I needed to give a heartful gift. Then I sent a follow-up email with more investigative questions and got a few jumping off points that I could work with to start a meaningful gift.

Once I received my information on my studio-mate, I wanted to sketch out some ideas of some useful and meaningful gift ideas. I didn’t want to just to make something too personal as I honestly did not really know this person and they did not know me. Yes, interviewing them gave me a sliver of who they were but nothing to the point of us truly knowing each other in such a short time. In my interviewing questions I had asked some open-ended questions that lead me to some interesting outcomes. My studio-mate had said that they had to leave a magazine collection that they truly loved back home in Toronto. This got me thinking as I’m a huge fan of books and know how hard it is to get rid of them. So, I thought this is something I would work with as I have a similar connection to my book collection.

When thinking of a gift that had function, meaning and relative to his interests, I came back to his magazine collection. What would this gift mean if I had made a magazine or a holder for his magazines? These were the two directions I thought was best for this assignment prompt. First thing I did was sketch out a magazine cover, well that didn’t work out the best as I wasn’t 100 percent sure if I would nail the correct theme or interest of my studio-mate.

Then I designed I simple magazine holder with both the place her was born/lived and Vancouver his new home. This seemed to really fit the mark of where I wanted to go. I designed the overall shape of the holder in Adobe Illustrator and then sized it to fit my cutter as I was going to use a very thin wood material. Once it was all designed in AI, I then transferred the file over to the Cricut maker software and cut it out. This process took approximately 40 minutes as the cutter cuts very slowly and multiple times before it is done. I repeated the processes for the print of Vancouver and Toronto, but this was a bit quicker as the cutter only needed to cut the vinyl once in its process.

Once everything is cut out, I adhered the cardstock to the wood to give it a bit more structure and colour texture. I then used the transfer tape to apply the stencil of the graphics to the wood. I used a Cricut scraper to apply the vinyl to the wood. Lastly, the assembly of the holder. This was an easy process as it all just slips into the assigned slots and no glue or adhesives needed to connect it together.


The day of the gift giving was a bit nerve racking as it is a day you finally give a gift that you hope fits the person you made it for. I had it all wrapped up in a gift bag and heading to campus. My trip to campus is approximately an hour and twenty minutes long. It was a bit chilly so I had put the heat on for a bit, not realizing that the heat would affect the wood of the holder. When I got to campus, I had noticed the magazine holder started to curve and bend a bit, making it a bit unstable. However, my studio-mate seemed to like the gift and thought it was a thoughtful gift as he said he missed his collection and now would have a place to put some new additions to his collection.

When a gift is meaningful, it affects both the giver and the person who is receiving the gift!

This was a great start in how someone is to do research, even in the simplest form of gift giving. It takes some searching and digging to find out what is at the heart of gift giving and the true meaning of it.