Surprise Me: Ethnographic Research and consideration of Jewellery…

Today, Sean and I undertook some ethnographic research in the busy Cardiff City Centre. Although this form of research is common in product design, it seems it is less common in Fine Art. We sat down and discretely observed the people around us, taking note in particular of any obvious medical devices they were using. Within the space of an hour it became apparent that the most common publicly visible medical devices were walking aids and wheelchairs. We discussed the connotations of seeing medical devices in public, agreeing that the sterile and often bland aesthetics of the products did nothing to increase the appeal of them. Interestingly, at the time nobody mentioned anything about observing people wearing glasses, its seems that this is a condition which has over time become so common and integrated that we no longer view it as a product of healthcare, more an expression of style, to the extent now that you wouldn’t even be able to tell if the person were wearing them for true medical reasons. We agreed that the desired outcome would be to integrate all medical products into society, in much the same way as glasses have been.

Having completed the ethnographic research, I reconsidered something which was mentioned during my earlier tutorial with Dr. Stephen Thompson. An illustration student had suggested I consider jewellery. I started with some basic, and fairly abstract, sketches. I played with patterns, linking up the corners of some unusual geographical looking shapes I had  drawn to form dream-catcher like pieces. I then returned to card modeling, playing with the folds and creases. In spite of feeling like I now had a direction for my design, I still didn’t feel like I had the necessary research to understand both potential delivery mechanisms or genuine themes to back my work with credibility. This, I feel, will only come with the results of the questionnaire, and with some reverse engineering of current inhaler structures. I would also like to look into using clay to create contours not easily attained by modeling card. 


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