Due to being close to running out of free posts on this blog I decided to set up a brand new blog for my third year of my degree. Please check out my new posts which will firstly feature my 10 week internship in sunny Malta and then my work over the last year of my degree.

Click here to check out my new blog


Constellation – What? Why? And do I like it??

What is constellation? In modern astronomy, a constellation is a specific area of the celestial sphere as defined by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Well that is right but we don’t look at stars all night and discuss them, I wish, that would be way too easy. At Cardiff Met, constellation is 1/3 of our final grade in which we have to pick a given subject, sometimes not really related to Art and Design, go to taught lectures and then write an essay. Going to lectures is the fun part, learning new things getting to know new lecturers and people was exiting, the essay is the hard bit. We have to come up with a question related to the subject and lectures we chose and basically answer it! We need to use quotes from different books, articles, poems or web pages. The first one, the formative one (can be assessed and developed) was only 500-1000 words but the second one the submissive one (can NOT be accessed or developed!) was 2500 words! I’m not used to writing essays so I have struggled a bit.


For the first term term I picked Cognitive development of art and designed with Sarah which was just easy to listen and follow. Surprisingly reading the name you would think it’s about development of art and design, it’s not, it’s about children’s development. I am interested in children and their development because I want to work with children or elderly people in future as an art therapist or something on those lines, I’m not sure yet! I’m only 19! All the topic we touched on and covered were so interesting to me and writing the 500-1000 wasn’t to bad.
For the second term I got Sonic Arts with Alexandros. I haven’t picked Sonic arts and I am not really interested in it or even fully understand it. Alexandros is a great passionate about his subject lecturer but sadly, I didn’t really get anything he was saying. I was trying to understand it but I just couldn’t. Sonic arts is based on sounds and how they work together, of course I like to listen to music or dance to it but his lectures were just to much for me.


The second essay was 2500 and even though I was supposed to write about Sonic arts because Alexandros will be marking it I decided to write about cognitive development. Yes, I was allowed. So I wrote about how our childhood reflects on our lives later on when we become adults. I made all of the points I wanted to make, backed them up with theories from Arnheim, Piaget, Ingold, Barthes and Cohen, used few case studies like the IKEA soft toys campaign (which I have already blogged about) and a beautiful poem by Robert Graves. Fingers crossed it goes well.


So now the last question do I like it? Hmm that’s a tough one! I do like it, the lectures and the learning and the getting to know people from different courses part. Do I like the essay part, well no, but.. I do understand why are we doing it and why is it so important. In third year we will have to write our dissertation which has be 10 000 words! That is so much. And those 500-1000 and 2500 words constellation essays are a great practise. Would I rather sit all day and do textiles or draw? Yes! But this practise is so important and valuable to me because it will help me with my essay writing skill and it will help me in third year and possibly even after my degree.

Study Group – Barthes on toys

‘Children ought to be allowed to create their own games and play, not have them devised by adults.’

Cohen, D., The Development of Play, Routledge, 2007


‘In the eyes of the public the child was, all told, nothing but a smaller man’ Barthes

Each toy already has a meaning or a task, doll for a girl to get her ready to be a mum, cars, trains for a boy to prepare them to work. According to Barthes toys like that are created for adults and not for children. They are designed to help the child with their development of cognitive and practical skill.


Soft Toys for Education

The IKEA Soft Toys for Education Campaign idea is to let children to design their own soft stuffed toys. This good cause partnership between IKEA Foundation, UNICEF and Save the Children aim to provide quality education to children living in poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries. For every soft toy or children’s book sold from November 1, 2015 until December 26, 2015, the IKEA Foundation donates approximately $1.11 (€1)* to Save the Children and UNICEF.

Since 2003 the campaign has raised $102 million (€77 million) which improved education in 46 countries and helped more than 11 million children.

This years collection is called SAGOSKATT. 

how is it all coming together video

more info about the campaign

Winners of 2015


Rosita – 4 years – Canary Island

ikea skunk toy

Dora – 6 years – United Kingdom


You-Chen Wu – 6 years – Taiwan



Karla – 10 years – Croatia


Koen – 10 years – Netherlands


Albert – 7 years – Romania

Terrence/Wan – 6 years – Malaysia

ikea flamingo toy

Stella – 6 years – Cyprus


And my personal favourite ones

Thymeo – 4 years – Belgium

ikea monkey toy

Maja – 8 years &r John – 5 years – Norway


Study Group – Private Language

Robert Graves wrote a beautiful poem about the difference between children and adult. Fairies and Fusiliers

How does Graves show that child’s mind is different to an adult’s mind?

– ‘Spring and Fairyland are his’ – child’s imagination is different, it’s more creative and it’s full of magic
– ‘Truth and Reason show but dim’ – adults have been taught to have structured truth, children tell you how it is because they have no ‘filter’
– ‘But spring for him is no more now, Then daisies to a munching cow’ – the older you are, the more life is about survival
– ‘ He;s forgotten how he smiled’ – children are happier than adults because they have less worries
– ‘ Wisdom made him old and wary’ – as you get older you learn more by facts from others, cognitive development changes



Private Language, Wittgenstein theory

Each person has a completely different private language which is unlearnable and untranslatable.

Wittgenstein made a great example for testing out this theory, it is based that we create the private language by memories and experiences.
‘when we are talking about something is ‘red’, is the color sensed by each individual the same?’

What he is proposing is that we have been taught to call this color red but others

might see the color red as we see the color blue because everyone has a private language and senses the color in different ways.

As a textiles artist and being inspired a lot by colors I’m not sure how I feel about this theory. I have my own personal sense of colors and I know what color and tones go together but also I was taught the color theory including the color wheel, complementary colors and what each color makes us feel so it is hard for me to imagine that people see different things to me. On the other hand I do know and understand that everybody is different so if we are so different then why not see colors different.

Another example that Wittgenstein is proposing is pain scale. In each emergency room there is a pain scale which is supposed to help the doctor’s examination but every person feels different.

Wittgenstein: ‘Similarly, if we ask people to put hands into hot water, the can feel the pain. We can symbolize this pain as ‘pain H’, and say ‘the pain you feel when you put your hands into hot water in ‘pain H’. Still, different people feel different ‘pain H’. For example, is it possible to have someone who actually does not feel any pain but comfort after putting their hand into hot water, then ‘pain H’ means comfort to then in this scenario’

Study Group – Child as a philosopher

Jean Piaget believes that cognition is something that can’t be measured ‘its origin, neither arises from object not from the subject, but from interactions- at first inextricable- between the subject and those objects.’

Piaget believes that cognition develops different at different ages based on child cognitive development.

Example: Different children will be playing with the same object in different ways.


Gender stereotype

– girl – fairy wand

– boy – a gun

Where a child is growing up

– a countryside – shepherd’s stick

– the city – a policeman’s bat

Child’s imagination is limitless

More examples :


– eggs – something to take care of, could be dragons – believing in fairies and magic

– cakes

– bombs

– treasure

– birds nests


– tent

– castle

– throne

– rocket

– train

Study Group – Visual Thinking

Rudolf Arnheim’s Visual Thinking theory.

Arnheim believes that everything that we take in must be processed in two stages. We must gather information and we must processed it.

All the quotes – ARNHEIM, R. (1992) Visual Thinking. California: California University of California Press.

– ‘Our entire educational system continues to be based on the study of words and numbers’ – break down the prejudice towards the Art within education at all levels

– ‘The arts are neglected because they are based on perception, and perception is disdained because it is not assumed to involve thought.’ and ‘unless they understand that the arts are the most powerful means of strengthening the perceptual component without which productive thinking is impossible in any field of endeavor’ – proposes that Art helps us in other subjects and it is strengthening and makes us more intelligent

Arnheim in Art/ Textiles / Illustration

Conclusion: I strongly agree with Arnheim’s Visual thinking theory. I do believe that we gather and process all the information and that creative subject in school are helping us deal with it.