Kare: care and connect through yarn

Kare: care & connect through yarn

“What does care mean?” This is the main question that I came up with for this project. 

The word ‘Care’ means a lot of different things to different people and in different cultures. One definition from Oxford Languages states that ‘Care’ as a verb has the meaning of looking after and providing the needs. Based on this definition, it seems like the act of care always comes from one party to another. 

Despite the critical definition, I want to find out what does ‘care’ mean to different individuals? Does care always mean good? If so, how can we define good care? 

For this project, I want to invite participants to engage in a small workshop activity that I designed. Through analyzing the observation of the workshop, and through interviews, I want to dig into their understanding of the word “Care”, as well as design a yarn-made object based on the ideas shared by the participants. The final design outcome will be gifted to the participant at the end of this project (Gifting as a form of care).

The reading “Participation in design research” inspired me to explore participatory design methods in my project. To bring in people with their own expertise into the design process and to balance out the design hierarchy between designer and the non-designer.

Goals and Objectives 

  • Co-design and participatory design methods have always been a huge interest to me. For this project, I want to adapt co-design methods with my participant and create a design outcome based on s/he’s understanding of the question “What does care mean to you?”.
  • Through observation and conversation, I want to understand my participant’s definition of “Care”, and to co-design a yarn-made outcome for s/he as a gift.
  • To explore the material: yarn and different ways of crocheting.

Target Audience 

  • Targeted audience: Member from Blair’s family.
  • Demographic: Chinese female.
  • This is a 4-week project, which will include research, planning, executing and making. 
  • I want to start small by focusing on people within my family(Chinese), so for this project my focus is to design for one. To capture insights and to understand one person’s perspective.
Workshop questions and workshop board

Initial questions

  • What does care mean? What does it mean in your culture/language?
  • How do you define care? is it good or bad or neutral?
  • Does care always mean good?

Research Methods

  • Participatory methods: workshop hosting
  • Observational Analysis
  • Thematic analysis
Mini workshop with Haeli (my mom)
Here are the three main themes that I analyzed through our mini workshop and our conversation. To my mom (Haeli), care can be shown in many ways. To her, care is always an unconditional behaviour and care always mean caring for others.

(Caregiving is a beautiful thing, it makes me feel very heartwarming. Care can be given/provided in any form, it could be an eye contact, a hug or a dinner meal. Oftentimes, it is unexpected, but it always communicates love.)”

Quote by Haeli Li (my mom)

After gathering all the insights from my mom, I created pattern drawings based on her understanding of care. I used a variety of crochet methods (single, double, half-double crochet, and puff stitches). Through making, I want to capture her ideas of what care means to her, but also create this yarn-made tapestry/cloth to gift to her and remind her that she is being cared for and I’m very thankful for all of her care for me.

Final deliverable