Portfolio of Practice
Reflective Statement of Rationing and Methodology
Throughout this process of making, my creative practice considers the calming ideas of Distraction Therapy through the methodology of Biomimicry within a Person-Centred Design framework. Developing the exploration of embodiment, creating a reposed atmosphere of abstract shaping and inspiration of Biophilia (nature).
Within the first few weeks of my creative practice, the use of rationing and constraints were undertaken, exploring the ingredients of Processed, Desiccated, and Ephemeral, specifically in Biophilia. I altered each word’s definition and process concerning my practice of Biomimicry within a medical context. Employing the word ‘Process as exploring the adaptation and modification of this naturalistic embodiment’, ‘Desiccation as removing the moisture to fit within medical space’ and ‘Ephemeral as the time frame within medical spaces and the work in similar time frames’. I additionally worked with the key term of Layering, exploring the ‘development of a work or idea upon a work’, creating a sequence of biophilic works that developed in depth and tactility throughout layers of time frames—providing access to distraction for the users engaging with the space. I explored these concepts through materials and methods of; sketching, watercolour, environmental depiction, paper, pressed natural material, clay and wire.
Throughout my time constraints, I explored various ideas about Biophilia and its timeline of life. Within my shortened working time frames, I explored nature’s ephemeral state and desiccation by pressing and stamping the natural material with paint, depicting the different stages of life through the dying of paint and moisture, creating a visual timeline. Then within the more extended time constraints, I worked with the ingredients of process and desiccation, fabricating abstract depictions of nature, focusing on creating forms through paint blowing, watercolour, and etching processes. At the beginning of my making process for this paper, I struggled with working to the set timeframes; as being a perfectionist, I have the process of having to finish each work I start. As I began to develop my work throughout the weeks, it became clear that the almost unfinished and simple designs became the foundation of my final works.
In the first weeks, I created a key successful embodiment work, an etching of varying natural materials. The method lies in pressing flowers into modelling paint, leaving it for half an hour to dry, and then removing the form, depending on how desiccated the plant had become deciphered if any remnants were left behind. With the failure of removal, I began to fill in the gaps with watercolour, to depict the form of nature again. This design would work well in a medical sense, with a tactile feature, allowing the work to become a Positive Distraction, capturing the user’s subconscious mind, enough attention to suppress their worries.
In the later weeks of my practice, I realised that my making had become depictions of embodiments, and I had neglected my key aspect and intention of Spatial Experience and Person-Centred Design.
Keeping my initial work in mind, I began to re-think my practice and methodology at a spatial scale; How could I create a model of these watercolours? How would users interact with these shapes? How would the design interact within a medical space? As well as involving my developed research question of;
How might taking the design theories of Hygge and Biophilic, leveraging their calming materiality and atmospheric practices in relation to a Telehealth Consultation space, re-imagine the daunting healthcare encounter to a safe and therapeutic experience for local communities?
Continuing to articulate my thinking and research surrounding the notion of Totafortis’s proposition of ‘humanisation of the beauty and recovery of humans and nature (2018), and the direct access to an environmental scene can block and reduce stress and anxiety for patients (Ulrich, S. 1984). I began to explore how my original ideas can steam into physical access to nature and investigate the emotional response created by these forms.
I became inspired by Hannah Sames ‘Communicating in Colour’ (2020) co-design workshop that explores her theory of painting as a tool kit to humanise hospital spaces. Within this Person-Centred Design workshop, she undertook a couple of exercises to get the participants to think back on memories of good and bad days, using colours that relate to their memory and creating markings with similar energy felt in the memory. This encouraged my own approach to a Person-Centred Design methodology to understand how users would perceive and interact with my concept of a safe and calming hospital environment. I created a little workshop using the methodology of paint as access to emotions. I trialled two three minute exercises using watercolour paint, exploring how users responded to emotions and hospital spaces through colour and marking. After these two workshops, I wanted to capture the emotion and perspective of Biophilia within a physical form to understand how users may interact with the concept within a contained space. So I had the users interact with clay, a key material of making in my practice and easy to mould and shape. I instructed the users to create forms solely relating to concepts of Biophilia, to understand how they experience this connection to nature.
From working with the method of painting to discover emotions and forms, I then developed this method within my practice, creating the methodology of materials as emotions. Using my ideology of Biophilia and Biomimicry, I worked with creating resemblance and layering from water as emotions to clay. Using the framework of Repair and Contain to create the context of the space’s place and purpose to reconnect the patients to the environment, and the terms Local, Restore in the interaction of the distribution of the impact the patient’s experience.
A key influence in the later weeks of my making is Lisa Cahill; her work investigates how illusive depictions of finely sculpted glass artworks create the experience of pulling the viewer’s past associations of their memories concerning landscapes portrayed in her works, fabricating a meditative and emotional response for the viewer. Specifically, in her series of paintings, ‘ Escarpment’ (2020), she uses harsh paint markings to fabricate intense and heavy placement of the ocean. These abstract markings of the waves create a visualisation of the scene, picturing the dark, calm ocean, emitting this emotion into the atmosphere.
These findings made me re-assess my research question to fit better the purpose and intention of my practice and making; “How might taking the design theories of Positive Distraction and Biophilic, leveraging their calming materiality and atmospheric practices in relation to a Telehealth Consultation space, re-imagine the daunting healthcare encounter to a safe and therapeutic experience for local communities?”
From these discoveries of using materials as emotions and emitting emotions of a natural scene into spaces through embodiments, I developed this method within my practice. Using my ideology of Biophilia and Biomimicry, I worked with creating resemblance and layering from water scenes as emotions through varying materials.
I began with creating markings and forms of water with emotions undertaken in medical spaces, each taking 10 minutes. The work that effected my emotions the most was the depiction of repose in water, creating dripping forms similar to water ripples and currents.
I then explored my new practice within different materials and explored how wire and materiality/fabric could depict this reposed emotion within the constraint of 30 minutes. These structures created an intricate experience of movement and reflection of water ripple and currents.
I began exploring the emotion through clay to imagine the almost soft and smooth nature of the ripples, specifically as a fabric. The work’s incorporation of tactility had the most soothing effects on the viewer. I began to create sequences of these rippling shapes to capture the authentic experience of the work. I then considered the spatial element of the work, with an understanding of the scale and physical interaction of the structure.
The overall design of the rippled sequence depicts the abstract embodiment of the calm ocean, displaying six forms hanging horizontally down the side of a wall, fitting with a scale around 10 by 10 cm per drip, creating the perfect size to touch and feel the forms, imaging the nature and experience of the design. The form’s currents interact with the movement and pathway of the user’s mind and the light of the space, creating a distraction from one’s worries but not the entire mind.