What I Learned This Year

Making ideas into real life is my main motivation to carry on with my artists education. Sometimes we like to think about the conceptual instead of the factual. To me, making something or brainstorming something are great ways to realize the potential of your design and to take you skills into next level. I’m please to spend my college years at Parsons. This is the place where I found my passion, learned about the world, and also, found out who I am. I started as a communication design major and ended up became a product design. Right now, I’m a raising sophomore and I’m planning to apply communication design as my minor. If I have not tried, I would never know my passion is not to sit at computer all day, but to make concept  into real life that would benefit others. Both communication design and Product Design are crucial parts of design element. You need the skill to make things and you also need to communicate through your work.

First semester of my first years were mainly focus on communication and defining identities. In Time class, I learned how to convey my ideas through video to my audience. In Writing for Multilingual, we wrote about a lot of current news topics and debate which taught us how to think critically. For seminar and studio(the theme is avatar), I learned about the relationships between the identity, and the world. A lot of material I learned were mainly about  communicating to the audience. For my studio, I did performing art, mural, writings and so on. They were the ideas about what I thought about who we are. On the second semester, I learned a lot about making ideas into real life. I learned a lot in Space and Materiality, Product, Packaging, and Promotion class on how to make models and templates. These two classes brought me to another new world, where I can make objects and learned to solve problems alone the way. Sustainable System is a great course to teach me to be conscious about how my artist decisions will impact world. Still, visual communication for from seminar and studio still made me conscious about our identity and cultures that I’ll always take consideration into my work. What makes all my project exciting, is that I can see how many problems that I solved along and way and also find out what kind of problem that I love to solve. In the future. I want my job to cause a lot of great impacts in the world, not just for myself, but also for others.

This year I have several projects that I think they are quite significant for my first year here at Parsons:


For Product, Packaging, and Promotion class I made a packing for a tooth brush holder. I chose this porcelain toothbrush holder for one reason: it’s a simple, clean, and elegant tool that only does one job—- hold the toothbrush. This little thing basically sums up the characteristic  of most modern utilities. We always trying to make something useful and portable, so it’s convenient for us to carry around.  I decided to turn my focus on the characteristic of this tool itself. It’s a simple clean tool that only does one thing. This is a down to earth porcelain tool with one purpose. So I decided to use cloth, recyclable paper, and strings as the packaging. The packaging focuses on the concept of “going back to Mother Nature”. Everything about this packaging is bio-degradable and recyclable. I made a chinese name for the logo”朴器” (Pu Qi), means: “Humble Tools”. I chose chinese because I like the way it looks and the pattern of the characters looks similar to trees and tools. This is really close to the concept that I’m trying to illustrate—- down to earth. At the end I chose the last one, and deiced to put on blue to remind costumer that the holder is in blue. I chose cloth also because I want my package to be used too—as a handkerchief of the holder. I used blue dye, and white cloth initially. In order for the light blue to turn into turquoise, I added in green tea to the mixing pot. It looked really similar to the holder’s color. To illustrate the earthly feeling of the product, I hand-carved the stamps. I weaved the strings out of the cloth I had. I chose white because it gives out a clean and clear. In the end I used traditional Japanese Furoshiki style to fold the package, and added evergreen as decoration.

I also made designed a match box for an Italian restaurant at East Village called Three of Cups in product, Packaging, and promotion classThis is a family owned restaurant opened since December 1992. When I first entered the restaurant, atmosphere was very dim and mysterious. As if you walked into a speakeasy bar. Overall, The restaurant is quite cozy. The match box design are mostly white since the interior of restaurant is very dark, white does stand out under the dim lamp light. The inner design resemble the vintage and cozy family restaurant vibes to remind people of what they are serving and they are going to serve you well. This is not only a way of making things but also a way of communicating messages through what you make.


For my space place, I made a dumpling maker, which I learned a lot. I always miss my mother’s cooking. She made the best Chinese cabbage and pork dumplings and I remember she used to teach me how to fold dumplings hand by hand. This tool is inspired by these memories.  This design was initial three times as big as it is right now. I learned a lot from this project, not just on wood work, but also about revise and ponder on the ideas. This machines only requires pressing. I think clapping hands really resemble the pressing movement. I chose oak wood as the material not only for its patterns and color but also for its durability. Initially I used the pulling mechanism and made a fairly successful prototypes but I realized I can reduce the size with simpler operation. I also changed the handle from two to one, and made the operation simpler and faster. This simple dumpling machine, is created by trials and errors,  and in the end, it is a usable tools that makes your life in kitchen easier.


A lot of things I made are functional things that will make our life easier. I think, sometimes, I subconsciously design things so people can enjoy them. In the future, we always are looking for something that function well and interesting. When you are making your work, you have to think about so many possible ways these design will turn out. Will there be any problem? How do we solve the problems. My motivations derives from passions and problem solving, yet at the same time, I want to communicate too. In the future, learning about product making is the main goal so I can bring my passion into real life.

Leave a reply

Skip to toolbar