The Apprentice(s)

Field: Mind Your Own Business

Surely the title of this years chosen field module needs to be changed to Mind Our Own Business, as we in teams.  Team five to be precise.  On day one, we arrived to our teams being pre-allocated, no school yard friend picking favouritism here!  I have been teamed with, in alphabetical order:

Ellen – Graphics

Giulia – Fine Art

Mat – Product Design (I know him:)

I always find it nerve wracking and stressful being put into these situations as I’m not the most socially comfortable person.  More of a hermit if you will.  A lonely tramp.  A gobblin, some say.  I have been very lucky, however.  My team are lovely.  Everyone has a strong opinion, but without being or rude or forceful.  I think we all want to do well with this project and are keen not just to agree and settle for anything, just because it is easier.  

First tasks, make acquaintances, discuss strengths and weakness – I am both strong and weak as a kitten, so that bit was easy – and then go onto our personal and design values.  Giulia was ill for the first of the two days this week, so this section was based on the three.

Valued Customer

We all (thankfully), agree with the points we were making regarding our descending order of values, with things such as environmentally sound, well made, and honesty being top of tree and greed, cheap and mass manufacture pushed into the metaphorical gutter.  Our top 5 values are:






What’s My Name

Next task was to come up with potential names for our business – tricky when you don’t know what you are doing as  business – based on our core values.  Holy conundrum Batman, to the thesaurus!  

We researched each of these words, looked at meanings, and what they could be interpreted as.  We all mentioned that we love things that have an inherent imperfection to them.  Products these days are faultless and pristine, but as soon as it gets a tiny scratch on it, it becomes imperfect, damaged, less desirable.  Surely this just makes it more individual?  No one else has that scratch, in that place, in that shape.  A beautiful wooden table is far more desirable with unique cracks, splits and shakes running through its core, rather than a faultless, oak laminate table top.  In my eyes anyway.  So surely, imperfections actually mean the item is more perfect?  More unique.  We ran with this for name one: Blemish, riffing on the issue people have with a fault they want to cover up.

From here we went into early concepts for products or a company ethos, and all mentioned we like the idea of re purposing old items or making something new from old – make do and mend mentality.  This then gave us the avenue into our second two potential names: Cobble (cobbling together), and Bygone, as in an idea from a bygone era.

We pitched these to the group and had a mixed response!  Some liking cobble and blemish, some liking bygone and cobble, so saying nothing.  Hmmm…

Decision Time

Cobble is the winner.  After some time away, we all agreed that this is the best name to run with as it sounds fun, describes what we (may be) doing with our business and is a nice word written down.

From here it was onto pitching business ideas.  Mine was to find abandoned items – such as something you would see on the edge of a river bank and think, how did that get there(!) – photograph it and rescue the item.  I would then sketch this photograph, as an abstract, put it in a frame, note done the gps coordinates of where I found this item onto the image, and sell it as a piece of art.  We could market it by using a large map of the area and putting pins in the map indicating where the items were found.  A visual indicator of the abandonment around the city.  We would then recycle the found objects.  Mat wanted to take natural items – such as beach pebbles, or beautiful bits of wood – and display them for all to see, such as on a keying.  Ellen, I’m afraid I can’t remember, nor did I write it down as was standing next to her whilst she pitched her idea and it seemed rude to be taking notes.  Perhaps my old brain is now dried up and refuses to retain information?  Like an old raisin.

In the true spirit of Cobble, we cobbled the ideas together!  We are going to take, old, broken and found items and give them a new life.  We intend to collect anything we find dumped, or in a skip, or left at the back of a room that someone doesn’t want, photograph it in situ, clean it, disassemble it and turn it into wearable accessories.  It could be jewellery, earrings bracelets, wrist cuffs, key chains, key rings etc.  Not just male or female.  Not just using one type of item (computer stuff for instance), but anything we find.  This is the issue, what we make depends massively on what we find.  If we find nothing then our business is dead, but then doesn’t that mean our city is clean and tidy, with nothing going unused?  Can’t see this being the case, unfortunately.


A Stitch In Time

20161024_150628.jpgBetween the days, we had a stitch induction.  I had some experience of sewing machines etc, but now I have access to the machines on site and am confident that I can make some simple items.  Thanks Maggie.


You Pitch

To sell our idea, we had to go into the lift with Richard and pitch our idea.  20 seconds, no more.  I pitched, as Richard filmed me, (do I really look and sound like that!!).  I fluffed the start, but got everything across in 20 seconds.  Phew.  Here it is:

New Life to old wares:

Our aim is to take old, broken and abandoned items, that are at the end of their existing life and give them a new beginning.  Rather than the item being destined to be poorly recycled or buried in the ground, we want to display it loud and proud.  

A as a business, Cobble wish to make wearable accessories – such as jewellery – from these beautiful waste items.  A dead product does not mean the end of its desirability.

We also gave him a prototype business card.  I don’t have a photograph of it, as we gave it to him, but it was a risky strategy.  He wanted something memorable, that he would look at for more than a second.  We took a piece of corrugated cardboard, tore off a section of the smooth face, revealing some of the corrugation, and then sketched our logo onto it.  Ideally, we would like to stamp or burn our logo into, but time was tight.  He looked at it for a good 4 seconds.  Mission accomplished.

Tasks for this week:

  • Market research into:
    • Things made from found stuff – G
    • Female jewellery – G
    • Male jewellery – M
    • Target market – M
    • Upcoming trends – G
    • Media. – M
    • Allergies – M & G
  • Source materials – finding locations where we can acquire stuff and actually getting stuff. – T
  • Price up and source manufacturing materials – i.e. clips, clasps etc. or find something that can do this job, e.g. leather shoe lace for male jewellery. – E & T
  • Initialise social media outlet pending logo. – M & E

To be continued…*

*keep an eye on this…


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