capability statement… first draft

To write a capability statement about myself, I first feel I need to reveal my journey to this point. That is, I feel the need to highlight the events in my design career that make me who I am.

I studied hard in year 12. Had a great folio. Great marks. Thought I could take on the world. Had dreams and knew where I thought I would be in the future.

I applied for Industrial design at several institutions and didn’t get in. I am a determined person. If I set goals, I need to achieve them. Not so much for the marks or the recognition, but for my own satisfaction of not being beaten.

I enrolled and was successful in gaining a position in Furniture Technology, knowing that it was a pathway to my goal of studying Industrial Design. I certainly did not find comfort in the Furniture course, but what I did find was a challenge.

I delved into the world of manufacturing, plant management, GANT charts and costing. From my experiences in TAFE I gained a solid base for the creative work I would complete in the future. I learned time management. Being able to sit down and look at all the tasks that need to be completed and at what stages they would be required. I completed a business plan for a TAFE exhibition space within RMIT that could showcase and market objects being produced in the university. I was part of a team which designed, costed and manufactured a piece of furniture which was finally exhibited in Furnitex in Melbourne. I played a large role in the organising of the Furnitex stand, from displays to bump in/out. I stood at the stand and discussed our piece with passers bye, full of confidence that I knew the piece in-side-out.

After one year of the furniture course I had the option to move to Industrial Design through an RMIT course pathways. I chose not to. I felt the need to complete what I had started.

In my second year of TAFE I was granted 1 of 2 places in the 2005 Manufacturing scholarship in conjunction with Schiavello Furniture. I had to stand in front of Schiavello board members along with heads of the RMIT TAFE sector and tell them what I had to offer. I have a strong understanding of the work that goes into a piece of furniture, the processes of manufacturing and the workmanship. But I also have a creative mind. I told them I could offer a rounded package- someone who could design, be creative and present a manufacturing solution. I worked at Schiavello for approximately 6 months, eventually presenting a proposal of the future office. I experienced first hand the workings of a large company, and gained much knowledge from the Schiavello team.

In 2006 I finally stepped into Industrial Design. Over the last 3 years I have tackled many design problems and feel that my experiences and learning within TAFE have been very beneficial.

Our first task, on the first day, was a way out request from a lecturer who knew that he was going to scare the lot of us. We had to make a ‘machine’ which had something reflective, embodied energy, something that spins, shows your identity, is no bigger (and I quote) ‘…than a rabbit’, and so on. I was really daunted by such a request, however at the same time so energized to fulfil all of the requirements. The task of completing something that is seemingly impossible gives me such a buzz. Getting to the end of a project and having a completed outcome that satisfies the requirements is the biggest rush and I am forever looking forward to hearing the next challenging brief. I came back to class the next day with a machine that did all that, and the lecturer didn’t even look at them… but it didn’t matter- I still have my ‘machine’ as a reminder of an impossible task.

I am a person who is constantly seeking clarity. I like to have an understanding of what I am doing personally as well as having confidence that I can communicate my ideas to others. During a furniture studio, I came to the realisation that the construction that needed to be done for my piece, was far greater than what the workshop at RMIT could handle. I had to approach various fabricators to have the work done, and negotiate on various items including design, price and materials. Approaching a metal fabricator with a piece of student furniture is not always an easy task, and I had many raised eyebrow looks heading my way. I was determined to be clear with my ideas and to have knowledge about the materials and process needed. After asking for ‘… the 30mm solid steel tube cut to 400mm lengths, welded into the pre-cut recess’ in the bent steel tubular framework- here are the technical drawings…’ I was greeted with a little shocked but willing fabricator. And the chair was completed within a week and handed in on time.

Creativity. I have always prided myself on being a creative person. I balloted for a ‘wood/timber’ toolkit early on thinking that I would naturally be suited to the tasks. When I actually started to take on the projects I realised that I would have to push myself further because of my background in working with timber. We had to design a piece of furniture as well as a smaller timber project focusing on unusual ways to use wood. I have always used dressed timber and so, decided to tackle ‘wood’ in its natural state- bark and all. I collected ghost gum branches from Red Hill and began to analyse each piece for its potential to be a component of a chair.

This was not an easy task and required a large amount of creativity to get a practical outcome. I also used the timber to produce ‘wood’ jewellery. I noted that branches were generally round and that a section of a branch had potential for being a ring. Getting the bare wood to form practical items took an amazing amount of time and patience. I completed hours of ‘exploratory design’, testing and failing and re-testing ideas. Eventually what came from the studio were very strong and unique pieces.

I have always been a problem solver. My last studio presented no problems; I simply designed a ‘relaxing’ chair. Whilst this was very fulfilling and the outcome was great, over the semester I became aware of my need for purpose within design. That studio helped direct me into my final year of study- of purposeful design. Within design I aspire to solve a problem that can make a difference on any scale within everyday life. I believe that I have many great attributes for an Industrial Designer. My unique pathway to Industrial Design makes me different from my peers. The learning I gained from TAFE makes me strong in the area of time management and understanding that there is more to design than the model at the end. I strive for clarity and to understand the tasks presented to me, and believe that I can communicate my ideas well verbally and visually.

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