Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Student Creative: Fiona McTaggart

I am a part time student in my first year of the MA Illustration course at AUB. I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity to promote the Museum of Design in Plastics. I seek to do this through the exploration of plastics in paediatric cardiac treatment and care, as well as their use in the manufacture of toys. I hope to design and make a small figurine that encapsulates the necessity of plastics in this field as well as symbolising hope and strength for young people enduring cardiac treatment.

My choice of subject matter is very personal as my son has a condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (the enlargement of the left ventricle, making the muscle stretch and become weak, impairing function). On his diagnosis at 8 months old, we were faced with the possibility of death, heart transplantation and/or life-long medication. The shock of this news sent me into overdrive, researching medical improvements, pioneering treatments and alternative therapies. This coincided with the meeting of families enduring similar situations, with varying treatment plans and outcomes. In one case, a boy required heart transplantation and spent many months attached to a mechanical heart as he waited for a donor heart to become available. In this case and with my son, the necessity for plastics was crucial in the administration of oxygen and life-supporting medications. Plastic tubing offers a sterile, versatile and flexible means of administering blood, fluids and medication. Plastic syringes allow for sterile, oral delivery of daily medications – easily washed and re-used and also recyclable in the home environment. My son spent some time being fed through a naso-gastric tube and it is difficult to imagine the level of discomfort he would have endured had he required rubber tubing which was thicker and less malleable. Historically stiffer materials were used such as metal and leather (Cresci, Gail & Mellinger, John. (2006). The History of Nonsurgical Enteral Tube Feeding Access. Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. 21. 522-8.). Plastic ventilator tubing and oxygen masks enabled sterile delivery of oxygen at a time when further infection could have proved fatal. Other uses of plastic involved the equipment used for conducting an echocardiogram or ECG (electrocardiogram) – two crucial procedures that our son undergoes on his outpatient visits to the heart failure clinic. These indicate any changes with his heart – improvements or deterioration. In turn, this determines his medication dosages that work to keep his heart functioning well enough for him to lead a near to normal life.


A series of personal photos illustrating use of plastic tubing, medical devices and oral syringes used to support our son on his road to recovery
So far, we have been lucky in that my son has not required heart transplantation. However, for those that require open heart surgery or transplantation, there is the new hope of more successful treatment and surgery resulting from the use of 3D printed images of their heart. This enables surgeons to assess more accurately their patient’s needs before opening their chest. It is even hoped that with this advancing technology, artificial hearts might replace the need for donor hearts. Without the printing in plastics, the development of this technology would be hindered, if not prevented. Scientists and engineers are now replacing 3D printing in plastic with more natural polymers such as silicone and even ‘Bio-printing’, where the digital image is 3D printed using materials that incorporate viable living cells:

‘Bioprinters work in almost the exact same way as 3D printers, with one key difference. Instead of delivering materials such as plastic, ceramic, metal or food, they deposit layers of biomaterial, that may include living cells, to build complex structures like blood vessels or skin tissue.’ ( https://www.science.org.au/curious/people-medicine/bioprinting)

https://wonderfulengineering.com/3d-printed-heart-saves-the-life-of-a-14-month-old-kid/
So, how do I use this information for this bursary?

I would like to produce a figurine that celebrates the use of plastics in cardiac care and also provides a child undergoing treatment with a toy that represents hope and strength – a sort of talisman. 

We spent six weeks in hospital and in this time, reassurance came from the sophistication of medical treatment as well as the love and support from friends, family and relevant charities. I took comfort in the little things – symbols of love, luck and hope. Photographs of our son when he was well and happy gave me strength. Additionally, certain books struck a chord. One particular book was an illustration of the E.E Cummings poem, entitled ‘I Carry Your Heart with Me’ illustrated by Mati McDonough. The British Heart Foundation gave my son a teddy bear and friends with faith sent candles, a Rosary bracelet made by a Polish Nun and placed our son’s name on Buddhist and Catholic prayer lists. Although I am not religious, these objects gave me something tangible to clutch, when feeling a sense of hopelessness. 


Images representing symbols of hope and comfort received.


Hospitals can be boring places, especially when you have to spend long periods of time there. NHS staff are tremendous in their methods of engaging and entertaining patients and their carers. I would like to contribute to this with a small offering that is this figurine. I take inspiration from my son’s journey, the toys he plays with and the medical equipment available and in the process of being developed. I will base my character design on my son, however draw on the simplistic and effective Playmobil characters, also made from plastic. These resilient toy figures are small enough to cherish, mobile enough to engage in play with and able to illustrate an idea without too much personal detail.

https://uae.souq.com/ae-en/playmobil-6661-doctor-with-child-play-set-24549592/i/

It is my intention to design my character through drawing, then sculpt my final designs with polymer clay. From this I aim to cast my character in resin and hope to add either a 3D printed element or visually refer to this developing technology in my sculpture. I am a Fine Art painting graduate, however have been teaching in secondary schools for over a decade. I hope that my multi-disciplinary skills will support my research and practical developments, whilst also working with new processes that will complement my current studies in Illustration.

Fiona McTaggart (Student Creative)


Monday, 7 January 2019

Blowing our own pTrumpet

Whether plastic or otherwise, maybe MoDiP does indeed need to be blowing its own trumpet a bit more than it has done of late – just like Lighthouse, Poole, has been doing during 2018, to celebrate its 40th birthday.

pTrumpet

As we launch into 2019, we reflect on how MoDiP has played an important part in inspiring young people to think creatively outside the proverbial plastic box.

One great – if we do say so ourselves – example of this is when we hosted pupils from Ferndown Middle School for a drawing session at MoDiP back in November, under the expert eye of Martin Brown, illustrator of the infamous Horrible Histories


Martin Brown outside MoDiP

We showcased objects from the MoDiP collection that epitomised artists and performances that had appeared at Lighthouse, Poole over the last 40 years.

Objects that were selected from MoDiP’s collection included:

‘The pTrumpet, the 2016 winner of the Horner's Award for Plastics Innovation and Design -the world's first fully plastic trumpet with fully plastic valves and adjustable tuning slides. Made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) the trumpet, at 500g, is less than half the weight of a brass trumpet yet very durable.’ 


'A cream-coloured British Telecom telephone circa 1980s. The telephone is made of injection moulded ABS with a transparent acrylic dial.'


‘A 1990s AM/FM radio in the shape of a classic microphone and stand with 'On the Air' sign across the top, as well as dials for volume and tuning along with a headphone socket on the side of the round black base. This radio was manufactured in China using injection moulded polystyrene.’

‘A pair of men's lace-up platform shoes.’ 


Objects from the collection

The trumpet represents the BSO performances at the Lighthouse.
The telephone represents the type of telephone at the Lighthouse that apparently Michael Jackson used while he was there for a concert.
The microphone shaped radio represents the many iconic microphones favoured by George Michael, who also performed at the Lighthouse, and
The platform shoes represent pop groups like Slade, who also performed at the Lighthouse.


The pupils from Ferndown Middle School made detailed sketches of the objects, with the final pieces being exhibited at Lighthouse, Poole.

It was our colleagues at Widening Participation, AUB, who had asked us to host the drawing session at MoDiP, which enabled us to showcase objects from the collection and inspire these local school children - the future students of AUB - resulting in some truly unique and imaginative work.

So rather than just blowing our own trumpet, collaboration is definitely key in creating an impressive show – one that will hopefully be remembered just like the shows that have been performed at Lighthouse, Poole over the last 40 years.


Julia Pulman, Museum Engagement Officer.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

#1minuteLamp


A few weeks ago, the MoDiP team visited the London Design Fair.  One of the exhibitions caught our eyeand we asked them to tell us more abut their project.

Julia Pulman (Engagement Officer) 
 

 #1minuteLamp: a world of discovering materials

Installation setup. Photo © Marleen Sleeuwits during TodaysArt 2017
 
#1minuteLamp (1 minute lamp) is an interactive installation that uses light and technology in an entertaining way to show how creativity and participation can influence social behaviour. It is an instrument that informally connects people and helps them relate to one another.

The installation allows everybody to experience the story of everyday objects. People can use various plastic and non-plastic materials and combine them with their own imagination to make ephemeral compositions on the interactive surface of the installation.

You are free to pick your favourites from the cloud of various coloured objects hanging above the  base.  This has a weight sensitive surface made up of rectangular modules. The rectangles light up, acting like a switch when they are tipped over by the weight of the objects positioned on the surface. This enables you to play with materials and make the most of your imagination. In this easy way the installation reduces lighting to a gesture of addition and balance, transforming lamps into spontaneous assemblages.

Spontaneous composition. Photo © Rick Rossenham during
Salone del Mobile Milan, Fuorisalone (Ventura Lambrate), 2017

Learn about sustainability

People think that once something is broken, it’s garbage. It doesn’t have to be like this. #1minuteLamp enables people to learn about materials and sustainability. Plastic has become an important component of our life, integrated in most of the objects we currently use. This consequently generates waste. In order to teach people about sustainability #1miunteLamp makes a library of about 150 materials available for participation (different types of plastics and also textiles). Most of them have been discarded for different reasons. With the installation, they are brought back in use as parts with aesthetic potential. Making a spontaneous lamp invites people to understand material properties and how light propagates through different densities, volumes, or colours.

Assemblage lamp two plastic pieces from solar panels transport, blue and red resin pieces of different densities, plastic cylinder © Studio Catinca Tilea

Create & collaborate

#1MinuteLamp empowers the creativity of every individual and boosts team work, especially because making a beautiful object is so effortless. You don’t have to think too much; you just assemble, remove, or even add to somebody else’s composition; if you don’t like what comes out, you can easily redo it in a different way. In this game-like setup, ideas emerge informally. They get improved in no time by experiment and get transferred organically between participants.

The composition below is a good illustration of this effortless team work, during the Salone del Mobile exhibition in Milan. A diverse composition resulted from the participation of multiple visitors during the exhibition. Each one contributed to this collective work by adding or subtracting according to their own imagination, while interacting with one another and broadening their understanding on how materials and light actually work together.

Composition on weight-sensitive surface. Photo © Rick Rossenham during Salone del Mobile Milan, Fuorisalone (Ventura Lambrate), 2017

Social behaviour by participation

#1minuteLamp is an installation created by Catinca Tilea. Catinca is a multidisciplinary designer based in Rotterdam and her work philosophy is that design could and should be accessible for everybody. This is why the studio seeks to engage audiences as (conscious) participants in the creative process.

As a representation of this philosophy #1minuteLamp started from the belief that everybody can make a change; an educated citizen is a better citizen. The installation empowers people by participation: anyone is encouraged to co-create and tinker around. #1minuteLamp helps people reflect on design, production, and consumption in a constructive way. Making a spontaneous lamp lets you discover on your own how you can make a positive change in the world.

Detail of its weight-sensitive surface; how it works © Studio Catinca Tilea
  
Alina Turdean (Interior arch. – Studio Catinca Tilea)