Gaia’s Ikebana


Ikebana (生け花, “arranging flowers”) is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, also known as kadō (華道, the “way of flowers”). The history of ikebana dates back to the 6th century when Buddhism reached Japan, the floral offerings were used to worship at Buddhist altars. A tradition over 600 years old, it is still alive and well, and continues to be practised as a cultural Japanese art form in modern days.

Different from Western floral arrangements which put flowers in the centres to make round shapes, and everything well-arranged without any spaces. Ikebana uses empty space and asymmetrical forms, simplicity and graceful lines are the most important keys. In order to create a sense of harmony, the choices of container and space around the arrangement are crucial as well.

Ikebana makes use of natural materials, bringing the beauty of nature indoors, and helping us to calm the soul. Therefore, the practice of ikebana can also be a meditative process by taking the time to carefully look at the materials and focus on the arrangement to express ourselves. The time spent in communication with the leaves, branches and flowers provides a respite from the stressful and busy lives in nowadays. In addition, some of the modern styles of ikebana (avant-garde ikebana) have evolved with using glass, iron and other materials instead of flowers.

There are two main styles of Ikebana: Moribana(piled-up flowers) and Heika(standing flowers)

Moribana-uses a shallow, flat container and a kenzan. There are three common styles which are upright, slanting, and water-reflecting.

Heika-(also called rikkashoka, or seika) is a basic style of Ikebana arrangement that uses a tall vase and highlights vertical lines.

The word I got from the box was SPRING, so I searched online for ideas of spring style Ikebana.



If you look at your tongue in the mirror, you can see it’s covered in little bumps. And in those bumps are taste buds. When you put something in your mouth, they send a message to your brain to give you information about whether the food is salty, sweet, sour, bitter or umami (a meaty, savoury taste).

The sensation of taste can be categorized into five basic tastes:

Sweetness-is a basic taste most commonly perceived when we are eating foods rich in sugars; always regarded as a pleasurable experience.

Sourness-is something with an acidic taste, such as lemon juice, vinegar, green fruit; or someone who is resentful or angry.

Saltiness-is a taste produced primarily by the presence of sodium ions; tastes bitter with an excessive amount.

Bitterness-is the most sensitive of the tastes, such as black coffee, or Chinese herbal medicine; and always be perceived as an unpleasant experience.

Umami– a word from Japanese. It is a pleasant savoury taste and has been described as brothy or meaty.

However, taste is a product of more than just buds on your tongue. It’s a combination of the look, smell, sound, texture as well as the heat or coolness of the food.

Smell and taste are intimately linked, and the smell also provides us with the specific information on the flavour of food. So that is the reason why it is hard to enjoy our meals when we have a cold.

By the way, fat has become our sixth sense of taste. And hot and spicy feelings are not actually a taste, they are pain signals sent by the touch and temperature receptors in the brain.

In addition, I also did research online for dishes that create a taste of spring.




sketch model 1
sketch model 2

sketch model 3


Sketch Model 2
Sketch Model 3



I chose the second sketch model as my final model. At first, I had no idea about the material for the cone. After searching online for spring fruits and veggies, I decided to use banana, strawberry and broccoli to compose a cone shape. And I also wanted to use their scents to show the sweetness and freshness of spring. However, it made the whole model too complex. Less is more, according to the principle of Ikebana which is about minimalism, Cheryl helped me to simplify my model by removing the ‘cone’ part, and placing the asparagus(cylinder) and shuttlecock(cone) at the corner of the chipboard to create a void and put everything in a diagonal arrangement (can be seen from the top view). And the branch also became a part of the model as the dominant.

Here is the final model, it looks much better! Thank you, Cheryl!

  • Dominant: Branch
  • Subdominant: Asparagus & Shuttlecock
  • Subordinate: Bird nest & Yellow flower


White, green, yellow, brown


  • A branch with some tender leaves (broccoli) and a bird nest(dried grass)-birth of new life;
  • Asparagus-Spring vegetable;
  • Shuttlecock- people start playing outside to enjoy the warmer weather as well as the new look that Spring brings;
  • Yellow flower-represent Jasminum Nudiflorum, as a decoration to show the vitality of Spring;
  • Chipboard-use the earth tone base to act as the ground.



Pandora Box-Cantilever

Foundation 3D: Pandora Box-Cantilever

The word I got from the Pandora’s Box was Cantilever. I have searched on Wikipedia about this word: A cantilever is a rigid structural element, such as a beam or a plate, anchored at only one end to a (usually vertical) support from which it is protruding. Cantilevers are widely used in construction, such as in bridges and buildings. After a preliminary understanding of what is cantilever, I composed 2 sketch models on week 2.

  • D: Dominant
  • SD: Sub-dominant
  • SO: Sub-ordinate

3 views of Model 1:

Front view-the sizes of SD&SO are quite similar.

Side view-the widths of D, SD&SO are similar……

Top view-SD cannot be seen; the size of SO is too big.

3 views of Model 2:

Front view-the sizes of SD&SO are similar; the length of SD is longer than 1/2 length of D; the left side of the model is too flat.

Side view-the sizes of SD&SO are similar; the width of SD is longer than 1/2 width of D; everything is centralized.

Top view-SO cannot be seen; D&SD are shifted.

The feedback I got on week 2:

  • Keep rotating 3D sketch model while assembling it, make sure D, SD & SO can be seen from all angles;
  • Avoid similar sizes of SD&SO, and SD&SO won’t be shifted from different views;
  • No flushing, avoid flat looking of the 3D sketch model

With these points in mind, I tried to improve the two models above and explore some more different composition of Cantilever on week 3.

3D Sketch Model 1:

2D Analysis of Model 1:


3D Sketch Model 2:

2D Analysis of Model 2:


3D Sketch Model 3:

2D Analysis of Model 3: 

3D Sketch Model 4:


2D Analysis of Model 4:

The feedback I got on week 4:

  • Avoid putting everything along the central axis, try to make the model more interesting
  • Think about the materials that I am going to use

I decided to choose Model 4 as my final model.

Final sketch model:

Final adjustment:

  • The thickness of SD&SO are quite similar, SO should be cut in half. And after that, I decided to place the SO along the principal axis of SD.
  • Shift SO&SD to the left 1/3 point of the length of D.


  • Dominant: Chipboard
  • Sub-dominant: PVC sheet
  • Sub-ordinate: Rectangular ring

Considering the future application of this model, I decided to use chipboard(D), glass(SD), and metal wire(SO) as my materials at first. However, during the final model making process, I wanted the SD to be double layers, so I used transparent PVC sheet to replace the glass as it was in lighter weight and easier to cut.

My idea was inspired by Mash Bar. Mash is one of the smallest bars in Amsterdam, the designer used chipboard all around for the interior to create a cozy and warm atmosphere.

The main materials I can see from the bar’s interior are chipboard, metal, glass, and fabric.



1. Note board with a LED glass clock

The control buttons are placed at the edge of the note board. As the glass board is double layered, the user can put a paper in between and then write notes on the glass board.

2. Table

When you are not using the table, you can lift it up for more space. And now, it becomes a glass note board again…

Mark making Experimental Process

Foundation 2D Project 1 process-Mark making experiment 

For the second and third week F2D lessons, we experimented with different techniques and tools to do mark making on paper! It was a process of discovery and exploration.

Tools I used for the second week: Leaves/Rocks/Roller/Paint brush/Monoprint/Soapsuds


The first tool I experimented with was different kinds of leaves, which was the tool that I posted on week 1. At first, I coated a leaf with block printing ink and stamped it on the paper.








Then I tried experimenting automatic technique, I dipped leaves in Chinese calligraphy ink, dabbed and swirled them on the paper without conscious control, just allowed my hand to move randomly across the paper.








Experimented with the same tool but different techniques, I tried monoprint technique with leaves.










The second tool was rock. I tried different mark making ideas by playing around with a rock, such as zigzags, loops, and scribbles.









I also experimented with soapsuds mixed with Chinese ink.













-Paint brush

Moving on, I tried playing around with a paint brush. Compared with leaves, paint brush was definitely a tool that easier to use and control. I tried spinning it on the paper to express the emotion of “glee”.









The last tool I used was a roller. After coated the roller with block printing ink, I tried stamping and rolling it on the paper.








I had a lot of fun during the first experiment exercise and really enjoyed it. I will try to explore and experiment more mark making ideas with different tools and techniques after researching on emotions.

I decided my six emotions on the third week.

– Aggression






The idea was inspired by action movies. I used two palette knives with block printing ink to draw on the paper by using their sharp tips, edges and diamond-shaped bottom surface. Tried to create a scene of an intense fighting.



The idea was from a literary work called ‘Robinson Crusoe’, as the word ‘isolation’ reminded me of a small island in the ocean. The colour of dark grey also assists to emphasize on the feeling of fear and hopeless when someone is isolated and disconnected from the world.

This is the second attempt, I was trying to move the focal point to the left side by following the rule of thirds, instead of placing it right in the middle of the strip.












I think it is a feeling like the skin is being pricked by thousands of needles, and also comes with some feelings of fear and stress.











I was trying to emphasize the sense of pressure by cutting off the parts without black paint at the top and bottom.



The idea was inspired by nature. I used tissue with black acrylic paint to represent the rotten stuff. Then I paste some dried, finely cut leaves of tea on the strip to simulate the scene of swarms of ants gathering around. This kind of scene makes me disgusted when I see it in real life.

















Blowing bubbles was one of the things that I loved to do when I was a child. I think it was full of joy and brought me a lot of happy memories. Also, the circular shape is an element of joy. Therefore, I was trying to convey the emotion of ‘Amusement’ through an amusing way, which was blowing bubbles directly onto the strip with a straw.






















Torment is a kind of feeling with severe mental or physical suffering. Personally, I am a person who is prone to headaches.  When I got a headache, I would become irritable because I cannot do anything even fall asleep. All I did was scratch my head vigorously. Therefore, I decided to use scratches to convey the emotion of torment.








Project 1-My Line is Emo

Foundation 2D Project 1: My Line is Emo


  • Aggression 

Definition: A feeling of anger or antipathy resulting in hostile or violent behavior; readiness to attack or confront.

Self Interpretation: Angry feelings and associated with violent action, which remind me of weapons used in the ancient wars. The tools I used were Chinese ink, and palette knives with their sharp tip and edges.

The tools I used were Chinese ink, and palette knives with their sharp tip and edges.

  • Disgust

Definition: A feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.

Self Interpretation: Things make me uncomfortable or make me tremble when I see it. Like vomit, rotten food, and dead animal or insect body, and swarms of flies or ants are attracted and gather around.

The tools I used were tissue with Chinese ink and a bag of dry tea. The final result also looks like the bacterial infection.

  • Amusement

Definition: Anything that amuses; pastime; enjoyment

Self Interpretation: The Circular shape is a kind of fun element. I was trying to make this mark through an amusing way. So the thing I did was blowing bubbles directly onto the paper strip with a straw. Tried to create an atmosphere of happiness and enjoyment with different sizes and opacities of bubbles. The splashes around also helped a lot.

The tools I used were Chinese ink mixed with liquid detergent and a straw.

  • Isolation 

Definition: Far away from others or little in common with others

Self Interpretation: Different and distant from others and helpless, like a small island in the ocean. I placed the ‘island’ on the left side of the strip by following the rule of thirds.

The tools I used were tissue, Chinese ink, and a sponge.

  • Embarrassment

Definition: A feeling of self-consciousness, shame, or awkwardness

Self Interpretation: A feeling like being pricked by thousands of needles, and also comes with some feelings of fear and stress.

The tools I used were Chinese ink and cleaning brush.

  • Torment

Definition: A state of great physical or mental suffering; agony; misery.

Self Interpretation: A feeling of suffering or torture; like a fierce wild animal with unhealed wounds and being imprisoned in darkness.

I used a penknife to create the scratches on the paper covered with black acrylic paint.


Everyone has their own interpretation of emotions. Doing research is definitely one of the most helpful ways to open our minds. Besides, there is also another way to help us get inspiration, which is observing life. Art comes from life. : )









Assignment 1-Research and Process

4D Assignment 1-Research and Process


Rinko Kawauchi, a photographer from Japan. Kawauchi as a photographer has developed the skill to create poetic moments and purity from everyday objects. As I decided to choose an apple as my object. So I was also trying to achieve what she does in her images to create a beautiful picture out of an ordinary object, with a light, pastel tone and shallow depth of field. That is also the reason why I chose the plain white background.

I have also inspired  by another Japanese photographer and director, Mika Ninagawa. She is known for  her vibrant and brightly coloured photographs. In her works, I can see that she is an expert of using high saturated colours. Her unique photography technique creates a fantastic world and the result is extremely wonderful.


Apple was the first one appeared in my mind when I was thinking about an object to represent myself. For me, apple is not just a kind of fruit, it is one of the necessities of my daily life since I was a child. It does accompany me for quite a long time.

I have been obsessed with the choice of colours of the apple. Comparing to the red one, I decided to choose a green apple instead in the end, as colour also help to convey the message. Red is an intense colour, it is not only associated with meanings of love and passion but also some contrary meanings of rage, danger and temptation. Green brings with it a sense of hope, health and growth. In addition, green apples usually taste sourer than red ones. I want to use it to show that I am trying to step out my comfort zone and accept the sour in my life.

For the location of my world, library is a place that is significant to me. During my childhood, I spent most of my time to go there to study with my friends. Therefore, I decided to take photos of the library in NTU.

Here is a part of experimental photos that I did not choose as the final images. I have tried various vantage point. I cannot see clearly what I want to express through these images.





Picture Story-Cruating Self

Assignment 1: Picture Story-Curating Self

Task 1: Object and representation of self.

As the saying goes, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. My dad kept telling me about the benefits of apples tirelessly when I was a little girl. Apple is not my favorite fruit, however, now it is more than a fruit, and it has become a necessity of my life.

For the first mid-range shot, I put the apple in the center and took the photo from the top down. I did take photos of the apple from various angles, and I decided to choose the photo above because it looks like the apple is floating in the air or falling down.  

When I was in primary school, my mom put an apple in my bag every morning I left for school. Every day, there was an apple lying on my desk, listening to the lessons and watching me solving questions, just like deskmate. And it also became a recognizable symbol of my seat in my class. Hence, here comes the second image. In this image, it is obvious to see that I  am sitting a little bit far from the apple to show that I didn’t really like eating apples.
This photo was taken following the rule of thirds.

Now, apple is one of my daily necessity. In the third image, I cradled apple in hands and placed it at around the same position of my heart. I was trying to use this close-up shot and focus on the apple to show my love for parents, I want them to know that I cherish everything I have, and I am able to take care of myself even though without them by my side. On the other hand, it shows that I wanna step out my comfort zone and I am learning to accept the sour and face the challenges in my life.

The group of the photos taken above was inspired by Rinko Kawauchi, a photographer from Japan. Kawauchi as a photographer has developed the skill to create poetic moments and purity from everyday objects. I was also trying to achieve what she does in her images to create a beautiful picture out of an ordinary object, with a light tone and shallow depth of field.


Task 2: My World

Library is a place that is significant to me. It is a place where I go with my friends after class, and with my mom on weekends. Although I spent most of my leisure time in the library during my childhood, I am not a bookworm. But my mom is, she likes reading and she dreamt of becoming a writer when she was young. Personally, I really enjoy staying at a place like a library where has extra-high ceiling and huge windows on the walls. And I like such a quiet place and everybody there seems like they are immersed in their own world. It provides a kind of invisible power for me, which makes me concentrate on my own work and be more efficient,  therefore I prefer to go to the library to study.

In the first photo, I tried to make things in symmetry.

One point perspective shot to show how organized and tidy the library is. All the bookshelves arranged in lines, and all the books are neatly laid out.

The third photo was taken following the rule of thirds. I use the green apple to represent myself in the library. The photo was taken in ADM library to show that I am currently a student here.

For the three photos above, I tried to make the library look like a ‘wonderland’ by increasing the saturation and contrast of the image to show that how interesting and magical the world is. As reading is a way for traveling as well, we can see everything and go anywhere we want in our mind through a book. Therefore, the library is a place for me to create my own world.

The last photo was taken following the rule of thirds and using the contrast of lighting to show that books can guide us and light up our lives. Sometimes, I feel that reading a book likes we are passing through a tunnel, probably we cannot see and understand anything at first, it is a process of exploration and discovery. In the end, we will see the light and the fascinating world out there.


2D Analysis

2D Analysis of a key chain with a little monkey.

The interesting 3D object I brought for the first 3D lesson was a keychain with a little monkey. From the picture, we can see that the proportion of the length of the chain is about 1:1 to the height of the monkey. The little red monkey is really eye-catching, as it creates a weight down there. For the chain part, it creates a negative balance.

Now, let’s take a close look of the monkey. Here are 3 views of the little monkey.

Front view

Picture shown is the front view of the monkey. We can see that he is in symmetry completely. (except the black spot on its left foot…)

For the colour of the monkey, vibrant red as the main colour which attracts our eyes first is the dominant, and the light yellow of its skin acts as the subdominant. Black is the subordinate, although it is quite less which is only applied for eyes and nose, it can be seen clearly as well from the light colour face. I think it is also a pairing of contrasting colours.

A character with bigger head, shorter and smaller arms and legs is definitely very cute and interesting. Comparing sizes of the head of the monkey with its ears, arms and legs, it shows the pairing of contrasting volumes. And the head of the monkey is almost half the size of its whole body, which makes the proportion of the head to the lower body part is about 1:1.

Side view

Different from other views, the side view of the monkey is asymmetrical. The interesting point of the side view is that its ear, arm and leg are all placed along the principle axis.

Top view

Same as the front view, everything is symmetrical. Ears and nose of the monkey are on the principle axes and, it is obvious to see that the nose and ears create an isosceles triangle over there.


Another interesting point is that all the three different colours of the monkey can be seen at the same time from the views above.

Mark making research

Mark making research

Mark making is a term used to describe the different lines, patterns, and textures we create in a piece of art.  It applies to any art material on any surfaces and with any tools. Mark making is a fundamental element in making any type of art and it is how we begin to express emotion, movement, and other concepts we wish to convey in an artwork. It can be structured or uncontrolled. Most artists work with various kinds of marks in every painting, but there are also some styles just with one type of mark. It is easy to think of a mark as a building block for whatever we choose to create:

  • A single mark creates a dot.
  • An extended mark becomes a line.
  • A cluster of marks become a shape.
  • A series of repetitive marks become a pattern.

Mark making artists and techniques

Jackson Pollock, an influential Action Painter. He is one of the leaders of the avant-garde Abstract Expressionist movement, and is considered as one of America’s greatest artists. He became particularly well-known for drip-painting, a radical new technique that he developed. But his painting materials and methods are not limited to brushes, and instead dripping, splattering, and pouring house paint from the can, also using sticks, knives, and trowels.

Many of Pollock’s paintings also display the “all-over” method of painting. In these paintings, there are no clear focal points, and everything is equally weighted. For Pollock, it was more about the rhythm and repetition of movement, gesture, and mark within the vastness of space as he conveyed primal emotion into abstract painting.

Convergence –

There are some mark making ideas that I am going to experiment with my own tools. Such as broken lines, interlocking lines, loops & scribbles, jagged zig zags, etc. And I hope that I can explore some more interesting mark making ideas during the experimental process.


Bubble print/Marbling Techniques

There is an another interesting technique of mark making which is by blowing down a straw into a bowl of ink mixed with washing up liquid creates a number of ink bubbles. Placing paper in contact with the bubbles will burst them transferring a perfect, mirror image of the bubble structure. Similar technique and outcome using marbling inks.
Paper Marbling –


Painting with candle smoke

Painting with smoke or fumage is a technique by using the smoke from a lit candle to create images on canvas or a piece of paper. The technique is thought to have been invented and popularised by Austrian-Mexican artist Wolfgang Paalen. This technique can be used alone or combine with other traditional painting techniques to add more form and meaning to the artworks. And the effects can be stunning and interesting.

Candle smoke painting –
Monoprint techniques

A basic overview of monoprinting is that a monoprint is a one-off print technique in which an image, produced on a plate, transferred to paper. The printing surface can be any type which is flat, smooth, and non-absorbent. For example, plexiglass or thin sheets of metal such as cooper or zinc is a suitable material. The beauty of monoprinting lies in its spontaneity and its allowance for combinations of printmaking, painting and drawing media.

According to the research online, there are 3 main monoprint techniques:

  • The additive or light-field method, in which the image is painted by adding pigment onto the plate. so you can create your image directly on a clean plate.
  • The subtractive or dark-field method where the entire plate is covered with a thin layer of pigment using a roller, which the artist then works out his image by selectively removing or wiping some of the pigment with brushes, sponges, sticks, or other tools. Paper is then directly placed over the plate.
  • The third method is a combination of the two.


L: Basic etching, printed before the additional ink was applied with brushes.

R: Final print
Rapsodia, 2001
© Colleen Corradi




Automatic techniques

Automatic technique is the process of creating art without any rational thinking, which also can be described as “expressing the subconscious.” In automatic drawing or painting, the hand is allowed to move ‘randomly’ across the paper. This unique method of art making has been largely used not only by surrealists, but by other modern and contemporary creators as well.

Automatic Drawing by André Masson

I hope that I can enjoy and learn through the experimental process. Create some interesting mark.