Magnhild Disington, 26. Kolding School of Design, Project for the Design Competition The Golden Fur Needle (Den Gyldne Pelsnål) 2009.
– specialism: Mixed Media Textiles.
I went to a high school specializing in art, so in many ways this prepared me for design school. Afterwards I studied photography for a year but realized that I liked to work more with physical materials. The fact that I ended up doing textile design was more of a coincident. A lucky one though!
During my fourth year in Kolding I did a five month internship in Italy. I worked as a design assistant at G.R.P Firenze (Florence). GRP specializes in traditional Italian men’s knitwear. It was a great experience and I had a lot of freedom to experiment with different patterns styles and techniques. I think I was lucky to get in to a smaller company where the system is more transparent, this way I got to witness every part of the process, from design to production and sale.
I also studied one semester at Design Academy Eindhoven in Holland. I followed the Man and Identity department and had Atelier as a side course. I learned and evolved drastically during that exchange, and for me it was a true eye-opener to see Eindhoven´s way of design thinking and their working methods not to mention their incredible work ethic. Although I found it tough at times it was well worth it for me in the end.
For the majority of my education I specialised in knitwear, but for my MA (2009) I specialized in Mixed Media Textiles. Focusing on material experimentation and developing materials for visual trend analysis.
What was the most valuable you learned before starting at your education?
Go into things with an open mind. You don’t always have to know where you will end up, but it will always work it’s way out.
The project can bee seen as a continuity of my MA project Deviated Evolution where I worked with the relationship between humans and their portable electronics, and the lack of emotional appeal these products provide. I was experimenting with how materials can evoke an emotional connection to a electronic device, and how this emotional value could persuade people to hold on to their electronic devices for more than a period of say- six months.
Where do you get inspiration from in general?
It really depends on the context. Sometimes with a feeling, or something intriguing like relationship between humans end electronics. I did not know what I wanted to make but I knew it was an extremely interesting field. That’s the more conceptual way, but I can often develop an interest for one technique or a specific kind of material. Also I find myself carried away by great colour combination or abstract collages.
How is your process when you design?
It is very experimental. I like going far out and create different materials and forms and afterwards finding the way to connect them together again. I start very open and playful and force myself to get that uneasy feeling and when I’m satisfied with my experimentation I become more analytical to narrow things down. This goes on in cycles.
What do you find most difficult about the design process?
The transition between chaos and order. Creating and overview of my experimentation phases and not getting lost in the microscopic details. It´s getting better with each project though.
What are your strengths?
Experimentation and concept generation, seeing possibilities in all the tings I am creating, even from cut outs, leftovers etc.
What are your weaknesses?
My weakness is how to communicate the commercial part of my design. Seeing the financial potential of my work. This is something I’ve come to discover more after I graduated.
Describe your collection with three words?
Delicious, exclusive and humorous.
What techniques did you use:
Mobile Phones: I hand cut the mobile phone models in modelling foam and sanded them. Afterwards I made a double cast in plaster, and then I cast the final product in silicone before applying fur off cuts. USB keys: The wood (sustainable FSC certified mahogany) was cut and customized by hand to fit the USB electronic components. Then the fur and other materials were sewn together and in the end adhered on to the wooden part using special adhesives. The wood was also treated with oil to bring out its natural colour.
Which technique was the most difficult?
With out a doubt; sewing of the small parts! Some of them are as small as 5 mm x 5 mm, as seen in the “rocket” looking pom-pom. Luckily I had a lot of help from Kopenhagen Fur’s accessories designer Lone Olsen, who is a genius on the sewing machine.
What is your impression of working with fur?
This was the first time ever that I worked with fur. After previously working on creating character in surfaces it was a great sensation working with fur, because it naturally has a strong identity and tactile properties. Of course working with fur will always be full of controversy. I found it interesting to work with a natural material, which also has such historical significance.
Do you have a technical or conceptual approach to designing?
I have a conceptual approach but the details are in the techniques.
Which object was most difficult to make?
The casting of the mobile phone shapes. Because I had to sculpt a model from a material I had never used before and cast the form in plaster and then in the end make a double mould to cast the silicone in. All in all it took me a week to make those three models.
Which object is your favourite?
The red fuzzy pom-pom, because it looks so wild and untamed, but it conceals a high-tech devise which is all about accuracy control and planning. I really love the contrast between the material and the object it is becoming.
What technique is your favorite?
I’m really getting a hang of casting objects and working with plastic materials and I love it more and more. It is one of those door openers, that all of a sudden gives you the possibility to make a whole range of new projects.
How long did you work on this project?
After generating the concept; I spent one week preparing making silicone models and wood bodies. One week making the furry objects and then two weeks preparing the exhibition. So in total one month. And it was quite liberating to work on such a quick project after spending half a year on my MA.
Is there something you regret not doing in your collection?
Not really, I would have loved to make more of them, maybe ten more but there simply was not the time for it.
What made you pursue your speciality?
As I mentioned before going to the Design Academy Eindhoven was in many ways an eye-opener for me. The Man and Identity department opened up a whole new way of working with materials, transforming and manipulating them.
What designers inspire you?
Hella Jongerius and her approach to designing objects. She has a more textile way of working than many industrial designers. She knows the value of good materials and keeps historical references in her work.
Which designer would you like to work for in the future?
Hella as mentioned above, Nike; because they are very visionary with their styles an materials and probably just as any fashion/textile designer; Martin Margiela.
Why did you choose Kolding Design School?
It was quite random, a friend of mine was moving to Denmark so I looked up textile design and Denmark on the internet and found DSKD (Kolding) and DKDS (Copenhagen). I liked the work I saw at the DSKD webpage and decided to apply. When I got the letter to come to the admissions exam I travelled to Denmark, took the test, got in, and the rest is history.
During your education, which project has been your favorite?
My masters project; Deviated Evolution
– What was the project about?
It was about creating a bigger emotional value between humans and their portable electronics trough surfaces and materials.
– Which techniques did you use?
Any technique I came by: latex, silicone, casting, flocking, sewing, tufting. The most successful were the ones I made up.
What advice would you give new students?
Just give your self the time to find your own expression. Do many things but always analyze in the end what part of it represents you.
Which fellow students would you like to highlight?
I would like to highlight Mille Marie Jensen who is graduating from the fashion department in January 2010. She is making a collection called “Elusive Man” which is a soft twist on the traditional male costume. Her sense of details are fantastic and her colour sense is exquisite. She has made a soulful collection with a surprising commercial range.
I would also like to highlight Betina Møller who has also recently been featured on this blog. I’m really looking forward to what she creates during her MA project.
Why do you want to be a designer?
Because I need to create.
What was your childhood dream job?
I think I have always wanted to be an artist, painter. And I strangely still have this vision of painting wonderful paintings, even though I never paint. I have come to realise through the years that I find it more comfortable making tactile objects that are contextually relavent.
Have you ever been nominated or won a design competition?
I was one of three finalist for the industrial design category for this years Golden Fur Needle (Den Gyldne Pelsnål) where I presented this project.
With one word, what is your best quality?
What are your plans for the future?
Search for future projects, or work with dynamic groundbreaking design companies.
Will you be selling your collection?
I’m hoping to get some collaboration starting so the collection could come out, even if it is in a limited edition. I have some meetings planed for the new year, so we will see what comes out of it.
Were can we find more information on you?
Tingvejen 4 st,