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Creativity & Play Laetitia Le Meillour

The Pencil is the only tool that can turn back time. Erasability means that what once was, can be changed and the opportunity of possibilities are endless.

A lot of the time the pencil is used by our subconscious. When thinking, waiting, listening or on the phone we tend to be continuously active with our hands and whatever is in it. We fiddle almost constantly but most of the time we are unaware of it; it has become an everyday habit.

Going back to its main material (wood) and use it as it would be if one were to find himself fighting for survival or just camping. other uses: fishing or hunting

Based on this fact the pencil could be used as a time travel machine.

Before suspending judgement, I identified what to avoid (the obvious use of a pencil; e.g. to make a mark) which encouraged me to look at it differently and write down my ideas.

All the way from nursery to university you never fail to find people in their own little world, often chewing on the end of their pencils as their soft wooden exterior and the impossibility of getting ink in your mouth and on your face as you would with a pen. Why write with a pencil if it can be chewed?

Being aware that things make noise in times of boredom leads us to wanting to explore it by creating something new (a new sounds or composing a rhythm or perhaps wanting to play one that’s been stuck in our heads all day). We put aside how we use an everyday object and turn it into a means of entertainment as well as a tool encouraging creativity.

In some cases I looked at its original purpose to push that idea into something a little less ordinary. What proved quite interesting was looking at people and how they used it other than to write.


23:28 - Bored of chewing, she attacks the paint

22:38 - And it begins


Experiment of pencil used whilst a friend was working on a project soon to be handed in. I do believe that her level of stress (because her deadline was so near) affected how she used the pencil. Its almost like bitting your nail out of nervosity. My original idea was to see the pencil as a stress relief tool, although it failed to increase her concentration; it was successful at bringing back a playful childhood habit. 23:00

00:31 - I guess it's time for a new pencil

This is just one idea which I came up with whilst developing another group's idea. They had drawn a paint pallet with different coloured shavings inside. Using the same concept of shaving the pencil, I decided it would be interesting to use a potato peeler and doing it neatly; this way it would be possible to create a smooth flexible surface to write. This time instead of writing with the pencil, it could become the object to be written on. Other ideas included: -A retractable multicolour pencil based on the four colour BIC pen. -Creating a mosaic with the shavings instead of tiles with would be cheaper and more interesting.

My initial idea for this brief was origami, as it respected the limitations (paper, scapel and include a word; nothing else). I copied this origami alphabet into my sketchbook from a site called Origami ABC. Not being sure of what I wanted to produce, I resorted to researching designers such as, Robert Indiana's "LOVE" sculpture. Despite being over 50 years old this work is still seen as a modern icon. I thought I could challenge myself in using this 3D work as a starting point. Continuing my research for inspiration I came across Craig Ward a graphic and web designer. I was influenced by this work and its sharp constrast between its negative and positive space and how that could be developped. When making my sculpture I realised that the weight if each sheet (of which I had 2, different weights and shades of white) would have an impact on its balance. I decided on one idea (one side negative and the other positive and clips made our of paper since we could not use anything other than paper) and stuck with it to the end rather than compromise.

At the crit, a few people suggested using light with my sculpture so I did in order to expand further on my brief. Using nothing but a wind-up torch, I was faced with the difficulty of the light fading rapidily. I was pleasantely surprised with some of the abstract shadows, which are almost unrecogniable, mostly due to the light starting to go out. Another suggestion made was to work on an origami alphabet. I started by drawing it however it did not go very well therefore I decided to do things less traditionally by randomly fold A5 sheets of paper into something that could possibly look like a letter, without cutting. It is almost like typography made for interaction. A,A B, C

James and I were definitely happy with the outcome of our visual consequences brief; mainly because we were both dedicated. We were working as a team and our communication was fluent. The different responses we were receiving from each other, were really interesting and thought-provoking, as it is not often that you work in collaboration or even share initial ideas with others. It gave me an insight on James's way of thinking. I do not believe that this brief was about trying to be different, or thinking outside the box but responding almost without thinking, to an image, text or video. It felt like we were having an

uninterrupted visual conversation, controlled by a pair or dice. The images I chose to include on this page are (from left) number 17, 18, 19 and 20 out of 48. My reasoning behind having chosen these particular ones, was that these looked the most irrelevant to each other as a group, compared to all the rest. However there is no doubt that no matter what they look like, the fact that they were spontaneous responses to each other is a link in itself.

Due to the high number of responses we produced, I decided to show one response for each of the processes. (From top left, drawing, photography, creative writing, three dimensional, performance and whatever I liked) To see all the responses and videos go to:

Pinhole Camera

The pictures I took with my pinhole camera (on the left) and the ones taken with my phone (5 MP) are of the same subject in order to compare the two methods. I never thought I would be so pleased and excited about these, as I had no clue as to what to expect, especially without a viewfinder. The process of making the camera really helped my understanding, of the nature of photography and how simple cameras actually are, but most importantly how they work.

Experimentation with letters using various type fonts Research and illustration of typography in sketchbook.

This is displaying the sequence of my animation gif. The first part represents only 5 seconds, however I later decided to expand on it. I chose to have the two parts seperate, (one above and the other below) to make clear the difference between the work for the brief, and my decision to expand on it.

I tried to challenge my usual approach by thinking and doing on the spot. I did not watch the tutorial and ended up guessing how to bring to life an idea. I found challenging the enormous amount of layers but my I believe my perseverance paid off. It is not about how visually appealing it is, but about the determination to go all the way without compromise or shortcuts.

Concept Fan to get Balloon down.

I was working on two categorisations but realised that one was too complicated so decided to only fully develop "Varuety is beauty" The title simply means, the wider the range of letters in a word, the more beautiful it is. I made a fraction of the variety of letters in each word (not counting the same letter twice), and converted it in a percentage. I grouped the words by percentage and repeated the process with the words translated in french. To compare both languages, I created an average value and it proved that french words were more beautiful.






We went around Epsom Town Centre asking the public to contribute by drawing or writing in response to 4 things we had written ( "C", A red bus, "EPSOM", "28"). Counting the possitve feedback and estimating the negative (as we made the mistake of thinking it was not important to take it into consideration) we had an average of 35 to 40 interactions altogether. It was interesting getting out of our design cocoon and interacting with people who may not have drawn for years.

Personalised, life-size prototype of exquisite corpse.

Since the beginning of this academic year, my whole understanding of the purpose of design has been challenged, and put under pressure to expect something other than visually appeal or profound meaning. The pencil brief was the most challenging, because it was the first task where we were to put into practice, this new way of thinking concerning creativity. Slowly I have tried to be more open minded to briefs, and less expectant of a particular result, as it seems to increase disappointment. I thoroughly enjoyed the Visual Consequences challenge, as working in partnership allowed us, not only to learn from each other, but also it challenged me to depend on my partner even though there may be a risk of dissatisfaction, but I was able to embrace the change for once. Furthermore the pinhole camera challenge was also about lack of total control, it was almost like taking photographs whilst being blind folded and yet I found that exciting. I have learnt to take into consideration criticism, and used it to experiment further to avoid restricting my opportunities. I have definitely benefited from the tutors expecting us to learn the skills, required to complete each task on our own, as I was able to work at my speed (still within the deadline time frame) and take real ownership of what I produced.

It has had an impact on how I work; becoming more independent, realising that I will no longer be spoon-fed. The concept fan has been quite a revolutionary system for me. Although I thought I had misunderstood how to use it, I had grasped the way it worked, and it has helped to generate ideas. I have come to realise that ideas do not appear staring at the ceiling, but as I thought of one idea and writing it down, looking back at it on paper (knowing I would certainly not forget it), helped to create another and so on. No matter how crazy or unrealistic each idea may be, I now write everything down, and once done I am able to see my progress, how much I think and that I am actually getting somewhere. The quantity over quality concept, has been the hardest to take in, but the contextual studies lectures on mass production, and the Bauhaus school of design, has enabled me to understand the whole of point of design. I have also come to know its revolutionary effects on the world we live in today. Creativity and Play is about exploring possibilities, not limiting myself to expectations, seriousness (the most exciting inventions are through active failure and playfulness) and knowledge, as we are

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