Design away – Cameron Tonkinwise

Reading this article made me realise about the destruction that comes along with creativity and how destruction can be prevented through out all disciplines of art and design.

“The essence of design ethics lies in the fact that no act of creation can avoid also being an act of destruction”

This is suggesting that designs can be materialistic and are only ever made to societys demands, products are made because some designers assume that is what we need within our lifestyles because of the way we live our lives. When designing a product it can be quick, to gather materials for a wooden bench or table we don’t have to look far however the long term effects are much greater, because of the high demand for these designs, the environment becomes destroyed, effecting not only us but all animals that live within that area.

In theory the idea is that we ‘design something into existence’ something that people can adapt to, something that will become valuable. Although destruction to the environment is not good, it is virtually impossible to create something without some of it, the idea is occasional destruction. This suggests that initially the product may begin through slight destruction but eventually the destruction within the product will override and the product will become sustainable and effective.

“if it has significant value, it will offer that ecosystem and practices involved in that work value”

Overall this article is suggesting to consider the environment and its contribution to the ecosystem when designing. I believe that their is a naive take on things when it comes to something we want in our homes we become selfish and do not consider other effects. We have lost an attachment with the environment when it comes to designing products.

As a textiles student reading this I think it is very important to remain sustainable and true to the environment. When it comes to selecting fabric and dyes I believe it is good to way out the other options, for example natural dying of fabrics is more sustainable than chemical based powders for the environment and human health. Re-using and re-cycling materials, papers, metals are not all a waste they can always contribute to a new design or product. For me this is about taking responsibility for your actions and if something has been destroyed through design ask yourself questions, how can you make it more sustainable? how can you make this product last longer? and how could I use these materials/scraps again later on?


Post subcultural style – Postmodernism

Some would suggest that subcultures such as the Punk, teds, goths etc have disappeared within our society and would argue that more people pick ‘n’ mix from each subculture genre to form their own style. I think the idea of avoiding mainstream culture is still alive but a successful subculture like the goths etc are no longer. People tend to take iconic pieces and form their own identity without being so extreme. Clothing is manufactured; to a certain extent you are told what style is most fashionable this season just by window shopping. I feel like that something drastic would have to be created in order to rebel against society like most subcultures did, as in today’s society people are more open up to difference and are a lot more accepting. 

Postmodernism has broadened my knowledge, it is something I’ve always been keen to bring into my work, in the aspect of working and combining different disciplines within my work. I did this briefly within my field project, by combining elements of photoshop and stitch together and previously within my foundation.

I feel to combine various elements within a piece of work is a good idea because you learn as you experiment, you learn what works and what doesn’t. As a textile student I am interested in textures and often find that most textures I like are associated with with other disciplines, these can range from paint to wood work. Post subcultural style and subcultures has allowed me to broaden my knowledge and note that my work can be excessive, exaggerated and combine elements of other disciplines.

Hip-Hop subculture

When reviewing and understanding a subculture, it became clear that when looking hip-hop subculture that although their clothing is iconic, the background they grew up in all have influence within their persona, music and style. To be from a deprived area and to have made it within the music scene creates a theme of clothing that suggests they have made it such as gold chains and branded clothing, but styling it with clothing that suggests they respect where they grew up, for example including graffiti on clothing that was heavily influenced within their area. The D-I-Y (do it yourself) was an influence within hip-hop culture similar to other subcultures such as the punks.

Similar to other subcultures hip-hop subculture too exaggerates and enhances their attire by wearing excessive amounts of jewelry. Jewelry, where they have stolen logos off a car to then make into a necklace/chain, to show their wealth and show that that they don’t fear the consequences.

I think that with a subculture, I have found that although appearance plays a big part, I think the background and history of your childhood also helps play apart in creating a group identity. As most subcultures tend to be young working class, this is not something anyone can involve themselves in and if you have become successful within the music scene with a deprived background, it is their way of showing power and capability to other classes within society, maintaining a social position through success just like other working classes. Another example of this is, The Zoot suit. Through their ways of rebelling they wanted to gain respect through wearing a suit and feel power in comparison to other races and classes.

This has helped me develop my ideas more as a designer. I feel like it has helped me more in the context of research. Research and wanting to find out more on a personal scale,for example taking things further than appearances, I feel like if you take things further, you are able to capture the real point, allowing yourself to be more comfortable with what you wish to portray and that could become clear within your work. I’ve always had an interest within sociology and to combine that with textiles is a good way of creating potential awareness. I feel like it is good to have a piece of work that has a meaning, something that people can engage with and still find attractive.

Goth subculture

First of all we began looking into the Gothic subculture, beginning to define what characteristics are within this subculture and where their inspirations come from.

To become a subculture the general idea is to avoid mainstream culture, Gothic culture is a success of this as to an outsider goths tend to wear black clothing, black/vamp make-up, elaborate jewelry and have fetish styles, including both men and women. These are breaking rules within society and prove that this is a success in avoiding mainstream culture, for example, breaking rules within make-up, the general rule within make-up is to wear enough so it looks natural, pure skin and natural eyelashes, however within Gothic subculture, the darker and more unnatural look is much more convenient. To have a running theme of decay and death within your attire is not something that would necessarily conform with society, only within a Gothic subculture.

I also found it interesting that on a gender basis in Gothic culture, the males also wear excess amounts of make-up. I think to certain extent that this to would of been something that would not conform within society a few years ago, now I believe that there is more influence of males and make-up.

Once we got to grips with the characteristics of Gothic subculture we looked into their influences. Gothic subculture took influences of Victorian fashion, otherwise known as ‘victoriana’ . Borrowing items such as the corset and then adapting the corset to suit their appearance as a subculture.

Adapting the corset through the use of material. Changing the materials to PVC something the Victorians would not associate themselves with, I think this is a way of differentiating the two eras/cultures. Using materials such as PVC, shows their love for fetish style clothing and again shows how they were not afraid to break norms within their society as originally corsets were known as underwear not outerwear.

As a textiles student with the love of fabrics, I think that the choice of fabric was carefully depicted to suit the dark vamp style. The choice of PVC does not have elegance or rhythm to the fabric as does original underwear. PVC is tight and has association with fetishes and bondage wear.

If I was to take Gothic subculture as an influence, materials would be a starting point, I would consider heavy weight fabrics and textures such as lace and dark velvet’s. Throughout understanding a Goths wardrobe, for me this has become a way to understand material and fabrics, what fabrics would I use to create the best effect? Like a subculture, what fabric would gain the most reaction? and how would you be able to differentiate the influence and the present?  Fabrics are all a way of creating layer and depth, I feel like Goths succeed in creating layers and depth within their style, by combining vast amounts of fabrics. Textiles is a way of researching materials to work with the best dye technique, to then use the fabric that is most suitable to a sofa, bed or dress.


Academic strengths and weaknesses:


  • Prioritising – I am able to prioritise tasks in to order of the most significant and relevant. Keeping a timed schedule in which i will follow until project is completed.


  • I find that when it comes to reading, reading can become daunting and therefore puts me off the work. However i do always find once i start reading i begin to enjoy it and get stuck in.

Understanding colour

It is important to understand the significance and power of colour. Colour can reflect meaning, emotion and develop something so simple to something more exciting.

Artisits i have selected to look into during this colour workshop are, Byron Kim and Jasper Johns.

Byron Kim 

Synecdoche 1991

Oil and wax canvas



A work in progress of Byron Kim. This piece will eventually be continuous slabs of different skin tones. The work began just looking at the shade and tones of his family and friends then has slowly escalated to the shades of people he came across in the street.

What i like about his work is the various shades he has managed to record and portrays the physical difference between the people he has come across. i also like that from afar it looks as if it is a pixel image, it could potentially become a mosaic of peoples faces. I also find that this piece of work is able to allow your mind to see further than just black and white monochrome. However what i do find with this layout is that it looks as if there is repetition of the same shades but on the other hand if these slabs were to work in gradual i don’t feel as if the painting would be as interesting.


Jasper Johns

0-9 Colours


Jasper johnsWhat i particulary like about Jasper Johns work, is the mind set. i like how he tried to beat the idea of artists working with the same colours. To me it looks like to succeed in this idea the colours chosen should repel to then raise the question could it be artists don’t associate themselves with these colours because they don’t compliment? what i don’t like are the mixture of warm and cool colours i think this is because the way they are used, I think he could of kept the same mindset and portrayed the colours in a different way. i also think realistically once used these colours with that mindset, you will be associated with that colour palette.

From jasper Johns i have learn’t to see that its not necessarily what the colours, it can be the way they are presented that is how and who it appeals to.


A Makers Perspective

During this lecture i learn’t how to transform and extend a meaning of a piece of work. I learn’t how different techniques can add more value through sometimes the simplest forms.

What does the material do to change or extend your work?

For example through a textiles perspective to add colour within your work can change mood, which can then extend your work by intriguing people and inviting people to view your work and that can then later lead to various reactions.

Techniques can be a way to make a piece of work more personal to you.

This reminds me of a previous piece of work where i looked into hoarders and to create the confusion of a hoarders i used a range of colours and techniques such as print and stitch to extend my work. Similar to the artist Anne Gibbs who was inspired by collections and landscapes and tend to use everyday items to extend her work. I too used everyday items within my hoarders work to develop my work.

Techniques allow you to change the meaning of something so similar.