“All In One”
I was able to generate potential research topics from the mindmap projects we did in Studio Class. Along the process of branching out my interests, I was able to fine 3 topics that interested me the most. Which included food packaging, relationship between technology and our sense with food.
Out of these three topics, what triggered me the most was the combination of food packaging and technology. While thinking about how our new technology can effect food packaging and coming up with creative idea for studio project, my thoughts changed. I twisted my idea of food packaging and questioned to myself. Why does food packaging always have to be visually interesting? Can it be concentrated more on our sense of touch instead? And then I thought about who would need this type of food packaging the most. Then, blind people popped up in my head. From then, I started digging deeper into blind people for seminar class.
Trying to find the information to begin making food packaging for blind people, I began researching about blind people and their relationship with food. Along the way of exploring about blind people and food for seminar class my thought changed again. I began finding more about the difficulties blind people face with food, such as grocerying, cooking, labeling, or organizing and so forth .
At the end, my final thesis for seminar research paper came up like this: Blind people have a unique and challenging relationship to food and still many of them have become successful cooks by adopting a number of specific strategies and tools for buying, storing, preparing and consuming food. They are able to be independent and enjoy food much as sighted people do. However, there remain several areas in which new strategies and tools could ease and enhance the relationship of vision-impaired individuals to food.
Due to the changes in my seminar class, I no longer proceed in thinking about creating food packaging for blind people for studio class. But instead, I began new topic thinking about what can I create to improve their food experience in life. The very first idea which I came up with was creating a portable spoon case.
Why spoon case? I thought the very first step to take before eating anything is holding up the forks, spoons, or knives. With the excitement to taste a food, trying to find where fork is at for a long time will be very crucial. Therefore, I wanted to create a spoon case that is designed to have blind people easily locate, find, and carry.
However, this idea needed a back up because it is something which I think blind people need, but I don’t really know if they need it or not. I needed blind people’s voice and opinions. Therefore, I planned my visit to Lighthouse at 59th street, it is special center for blind and visually impaired people, and have actual interviews with them. However, I was not allowed to interview anyone inside the Lighthouse. Because I couldn’t get direct interview with them, all I have to rely was internet resources.
I couldn’t find any information about blind people having hard time finding spoon, fork, or knife. But after continuing my research I was able to come up with solution to this.
I was watching a video clip of blind man named Tommy Edison about him explained how he figure out the paper money. He arranged them from largest to smallest in wallet or he sometime folded the money into different shapes. He was able to easily identify the coins because they all have different sizes and textures but not the paper money. While thinking of that as a problem, I wanted to make a big pouch that are designed to help blind people locate paper money easily.
While trying to find more interview, video clip, scholar articles for bagging I learned that some blind people carry an envelop with bubble wrap inside incase of having fragile items, tie a ribbons to easily locate zippers, have bags with multiple pockets, and so forth. And I thought about why not creating a pouch that help these separate things to be put into one place?
Finally I arrived at my decision for studio project. I created a “All In One” pouch for blind people considering and carefully selecting what would they need on this pouch based off on my research.
(Original pouch sketch)
I learned blind people use contrasting plates, tablecloths, placemats, and napkins and Use light or dark colored plates, glasses, or cups to contrast with food and beverages. Therefore I chose two high contrasting color. The reason why I made a stich from the outside to close the top part was to create a texture to help them distinguish top from bottom, unless they are going to hold upside down. I learned textures help blind people from Tommy Edison’s video about figuring out the coins with texture, shape and size. I also hand made the braille for the blind user to figure out better, which pocket is which.
My concentration on this pouch was more about it’s functionality not the visual appearance.
Although I struggled and changed a lot during the process of research and face limitation with getting information, I am satisfied what I have created.