After finishing the last module in a an intense two weeks after Christmas vacation, it feels like I have been gone for ages. It is an odd sense, as if we have come back from the holidays and are starting up again, which in a sense is true as we are starting a new project, but not, however, with such fresh eyes as the holidays are long past. It’s ironic: last week I was dying for a new project and this week I am dreaming of going back to my old project, something where I’m not floating around in a sea of ideas and empty space.
In my research for this final new major module about Welsh heritage with a special focus on Swansea, I have looked at the Welsh uprising of 1400, the history of the ship trade and types of Welsh flowers. Having done that, I think now that I am going to go with the second idea, the nautical theme. Considering that I used to be a competitive sailor, things nautical are close to my heart and this gives me a chance to connect with my love of the ocean and uncharted waters and by working up nautical themed stationery, I get to work with two things I love: things nautical and stationery.
The sea holds a special place in my heart, having spent my childhood summers by the sea, both at the beach but more importantly learning to sail. Gloucester, Massachusetts is a fishing town with a long history. The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger was based on the real perfect storm which did in fact take place in Gloucester. It is also the summer home of many artists who visited the idyllic seaside town. Winslow Homer painted many watercolors of Gloucester harbor.
I began sailing at the age of eight and as I improved I moved on to competitive sailing which started off as summer racing but as I traveled further afield for sailing I also sailed for longer into the year and before you know it I was flying down to Florida to sail during the winter. A lot of hard work later and I was able to sail for the US at an international event which, happily brought me to Wales for the first time, where I sailed at the British Nationals in North Wales:
Today I get to combine my love of sailing and the sea, which led me to Wales for the first time, with the current reason I am here now, to study, and this very project to create a stationery collection, bringing me almost full circle. The connection between Swansea and Gloucester makes me feel right at home and this project has both lots of memories and new things to be discovered.
The relevance of having stationery in your home after the digital revolution has changed radically, as before it was must and now it is not as essential because we have computers and iPhones where we can take notes, set reminders and send emails. Why do we need to write things down anymore? Besides the fact that it is a satisfying task, studies have shown that you remember what you have written down better if you use a pen and paper than if you make notes or write on your computer. Besides the statistics of it, stationery has an aesthetic to it; like other aspects of design, stationary is another branch in the world of pattern.
It is also important to connect with the place that you are living in. In this day and age it’s so easy to get caught up in your computer/work/movie,what have you and forget to go outside and see the things that are right in front of your face, and I myself am also guilty of that. I’ve lived here almost six months and hardly know the neighborhood that I live in. I live next to the beach and the marina, two places that as a child I used to love so much and now live in the midst of, yet have hardly glanced at it. Therefore I jumped at the chance to be able to gain intimate knowledge of my new surroundings when assigned this brief, something that I am doubly in need of as a foreigner.
Beginning this module feels like starting from square one, and of course it is. After the wonderful and fast-paced Eyle Kishmoto brief, I am now moving onto a much different concept and way of thinking. It’s sometimes a struggle when you have to start from the very beginning, but it’s also very freeing in the sense that you have the ability to explore your surroundings, a new subject and a new way of working. Now we have gone from something very clean-cut and fast paced to something that feels (and I know this bit isn’t true) slower and a little blurry around the edges, not the sharp, bright way of working that was our last brief. It’s a very hard feeling to explain. However, I feel like this gives me the opportunity to learn new things about myself along the way, and I always welcome a challenge.
In the meantime (while I find my footing), here are a few repeats that I am playing with and a couple of doodles: