The four scents that my partner and I had were lemongrass aromatherapy, my mother’s perfume, star anise and seawater. While brainstorming, all these scents have a common ground to it which is something that is beach-y and have the possibility of being something traditional as well. As a fan of the island Bali and a fan of massages, I could link all these four scents to a Balinese spa and massage spot that is right next to Kuta Beach in Bali.
This then inspired our choice of materials and the accessories that we were going to make. We decided to create a cape as a representation of how someone would feel after getting a massage – invincible, just like a superhero. We also made a forearm accessory which is our modern take on the Balinese dancers’ bangles.
Our Full Material List
Complimentary Light Grey Cloth
20 Gauge Wire
Starting with the shoulder pads first, we drew out the shape or planar that we desire before cutting it out. The right shoulder pad is shaped with a very pointed tip and is hammered to give it a bumpy texture, just like how my trip to attain my mother’s perfume is. The left shoulder pad is a simple curve that was sanded all over to give it a smooth texture. The sides of the right shoulder pad was sanded too so as to not injure and poke the model as well as anyone who touches it.
I have inserted a wire mesh as well as a bended mounting board so as to create a “suspended” planar for the cape. The mounting board and mesh were inserted and heated up so that the mesh and board could bend and be slightly more malleable. The entire cape is done by hand-stitch for better accuracy and it can also yield the cloth from any open holes. I also sewed a few strands into the board and mesh to ensure that it doesn’t shift about.
The complimentary grey cloth is pleated in the middle to give sort of a drape-y feeling as compared to the batik which is stiff, rigid and sharp as it is pointing upwards. Once both pieces of cloth are done being sewn, I then started to piece them both together with the shoulder pads.
The arm piece is made out off 20 gauge wires, twines and balsa wood. The balsa wood is the main or dominant piece and it is a broken plane. The twines were braided so it had more support and would be able to tie the pieces securely. Once we have pieced together the balsa wood and twines, we then burnt candle wax and star anise, to create my partner’s unpleasant scent.
The final cape model clearly showed the pleasant and unpleasant elements in both the fabric portion and also the shoulder pad portion. The batik fabric is suspended in the air, feels very stiff and has a sharp pointy edge representing the unpleasant scents. Whereas the grey complimentary fabric is very flowy, drape-y and has a lot of curves, representing how calming and relaxing the pleasant scents were.
My final thoughts
This project really thought me how to handle different materials and using it to have a particular outcome. It also taught me how to troubleshoot problems or glitches almost immediately especially when working in a tight deadline. I faced with problems such as not being able to have my fabric suspend in the air with just the wire mesh so I instantly thought of using a mounting board which proves to be able to support the heavy fabric.
In addition, I realized how for every portion of both the accessories we made, I tend to always have the conscious effort and thought to include planars the best that I can and it kinda have been ingrained in the designer part me now so I in the future I think I’ll always include planars HAHA.
As we moved on from the simplicity and straightforwardness of the rectilinear volumes, curvilinear volumes strays away from perpendicular lines and are much more dynamic and interesting to make and look at. Although the process of cutting and sanding is pretty intricate, it is definitely worth the effort to create beautiful and interesting compositions with the models.
What is Ikebana?
Ikebana is the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. The name comes from the Japanese ike, meaning ‘alive’ or ‘arrange’ and bana meaning ‘flower.’ Ikebana consists of arranging, blossoms, branches, leaves, and stems to allow a finding of new life as materials for art making. In contrast to the western habits of casually placing flowers in a vase, ikebana aims to bring out the inner qualities of flowers and other live materials and express emotion.
Principles of Ikebana?
Ikebana has become an art form that is associated with a meditative quality. Creating an arrangement is supposed to be done in silence to allow the designer to observe and meditate on the beauty of nature and gain inner peace. This ties into other principles of Ikebana including minimalism, shapeand line, form, humanity, aesthetics, and balance.
How is a basic Ikebana arrangement made?
To prepare a basic Moribana arrangement, the ikabana artist will need to add water to a shallow container, then places a kenzan—a small, pin-covered object that keeps flowers in place—within it. Then, the artist selects two branches, one for shin and one for soe, and a flower, for hikae. Next, each stem is measured and cut to precise lengths (which are specified in the Moribana beginner’s manual) and fixed, one at a time, on the kenzan, at different angles. To complete the arrangement, supplementary jushi stems are added to hide the kenzan and fill out the arrangement.
Brief History of Ikebana
The long history of ikebana can be traced back as early as the sixth century with the introduction of Buddhism to Japan from China and Korea. Buddhist floral offerings, called kuge, were placed on the altar of temples. The offering consisted of three main stems gathered closely at the base and rose from the water as one. The three stems were used to represent the harmonious relationship between heaven, man, and earth.
For hundreds of years, priests continued to make floral offerings to Buddha, but there were no set rules used to make the arrangements. Ikenobo Senkei, a Buddhist priest, created the earliest form of ikebana, called tatehana, or “standing flowers.” The arrangements were meant to be displayed in the tokonoma, a recessed area in a traditional Japanese home used to display art objects. The tokonoma was a central feature of the new Shoin architectural style. It was after ikebana began to be displayed in the homes of the aristocracy that its purpose changed from that of a religious offering to that of a decoration of the home.
Currently, there are over 3,000 different schools of ikebana. Ikenobo, Sogetsu, and Ohara are the three most popular. Ikenobo is the oldest of the three and still retains the classical concepts of ikebana. Sogetsu is the most modern and emphasizes self-expression. Ohara relies on tradition, but also pays special attention to each season and flower to bring out its natural beauty, creating a modern interpretation of the classical forms.
A tradition over 600 years old, ikebana is still alive and well. The different forms and styles of ikebana strive to harmonize with the contemporary spaces where people live, work and play. Arrangements make use of natural materials, bringing the beauty of nature indoors. The tradition has evolved into a modern art from that can be enjoyed by everyone.
SEASON AND FOOD RESEARCH
The season that I drew was spring and the first thing that came to my mind when I hear the word spring is colourful and blooming. Although Singapore and many other countries in Southeast Asia doesn’t really have a spring season, I decided to look at the occasions that fall during the spring season which is March 20, 2018 to June 21, 2018.
The festivities that are happening in Singapore during the spring season would be Good Friday, Easter, Vesak Day and Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Lebaran).
As I am very familiar with Indonesian/Malay food, I decided to take Lebaran as my main food concept when making my model. Lebaran is translated to “a celebration” and it is a day where Muslims celebrate the end of one month-worth of fasting and doing deeds. In my family, we have a family recipe of Nasi Tumpeng, a yellow glutinous rice dish served to share in a big tray with many other gravies and dishes such as rendang, spicy liver, serunding, sambal goreng, etc and is decorated with banana leaves, salad leaves and many other decorative leaves.
The colours of the Nasi Tumpeng are very vibrant and it is to compliment each other. My family usually prepare this dish for Lebaran, wedding occasions and even birthdays as this is considered to be one of the most intricate and tedious dish to create. To relate this back to my model, I would be adopting elements of Nasi Tumpeng such as the big yellow cone glutinous rice, rendang and fish cracker as well as similar garnishing decorations.
Churning out a sketch model based on my second sketch model, I further improved the concept and created this:
To translate this into the actual food model, I required alot of preparation in order to create the glutinous rice and its elements perfectly.
The yellow glutinous rice, which is the Dominant element in my model is made by soaking the uncooked grains of rice with tumeric so as to gain the bright yellow colour. After soaking it overnight, I then steamed it in the steamer for an hour before sculpting it into a cone and letting it rest in a cup. It was pretty hard to sculpt the rice as once it sets, it gets pretty hard and it will be difficult to fix it.
Next, I started to fry the fish ball and rendang ball so as to solidify them. I fried both the fish and rendang ball so that I could pick the more suitable one to place in the final model. This ball would be my Sub-Ordinate and spherical piece, which is the smallest curvilinear item I have in my model.
The fish cracker would be my Sub-Dominant piece in the model and initially, I tried frying it myself but could never get the shape that I want and it is quite flimsy so I had a back-up pre-made one ready to fry. The diameter of this cylindrical cracker is smaller than the cone, making it a good match to be the Sub-Dominant.
I have also made my base which is the other Sub-Dominant element in my model out of glutinous rice as well and it is to also support the rest of my elements as I would be assembling my curvilinear volumes with toothpicks and satay sticks. The red chilli flowers would be my other Sub-Ordinate as I would be placing them on the base as well on the branch.
Tumpeng Spring Final Model
One thing that I took away from this project would be the importance of identifying the Dominant, Sub-Dominant and Sub-Ordinate really clearly. This is because, as these are curvilinear volumes, sometimes it is possible to forget that some of the radius of the surfaces might be similar to the height of another element. As such, sketch models are very important in recognising if any part of the elements needed to be enlarged or decreased.
I also realised how the branches in Ikebana as well as my model gives the whole model a “magic touch” meaning it is much more dynamic than before and it gives the model “life”. To end it off, I will definitely keep in mind the idea of Ikebana and movement and use it in the next coming project!