Shape 2017 Student Interview Transcripts

View Student Interviews for Shape 2017

Interview transcripts

Matilda Trebilcock
Nicholas Mooney
Willow Driver
Megan Johnstone
Megan Kennett
Sarah Hassett

Matilda Trebilcock

Hi. My name’s Matilda Trebilcock. I’m from Albury, and I went to Trinity Anglican College. For my design project for Design and Technology, I produced a system that allows an individual to install a nesting box up to seven metres off the ground, from the ground, so without the use of a ladder.

In the summer holidays before I started my project, my dad was installing nesting boxes around the house in our trees, and it was very hard for him, because he needed the ladder. It was on unstable ground. He needed a harness. And then holding the nesting box in one hand and a screw in the other hand. It was just very unstable and unsafe. And I thought I could reduce that risk of falling from the ladder by producing a system that allows you to install nesting boxes without a ladder.

Before I prototyped my project, I had to research a lot around the community to see if there were any other existing designs out there that would fulfil this need. And I couldn’t find anything that didn’t use a ladder or that didn’t have so many risks involved.

My initial designs, I always drew just with pen and paper and just drew anything that came to my head. I just drew it down so then I wouldn’t forget it. And then my best ideas that I thought I had, I would start producing them, and just with scrap pieces of wood around the house or around the school, I would start making those and see what they would look like and if they had any potential.

I realised I had to break it down into different stages, and once I got the stages of getting the nesting box into the tree, clamping it into the tree and then getting the poles down from the tree, then I had to figure out how to fulfil those stages, and that took a long time for me to work that out, and once I did work them out, how to fit them all together to make it one system rather than three separate systems. That was pretty difficult to do that. And I thought… I didn’t know if it would work or not at that stage.

Once I started realising the actual design and being able to fit all components of the design together and producing one system that worked, that was extremely satisfying, and being able to install a nesting box seven metres off the tree, which is four metres higher than the traditional spot to put a nesting box, that just gave me so much pleasure and happiness that I was able to fulfil a need for society.

Two major things that I tell all future Design and Technology students – first of all, you have to prepare for the unknown. I just thought it would be pretty easy, you know – I’d come up with an idea, I’d make it and then bam, that was it, that was my project done. I came up with so many problems I never envisioned from the start.

And second of all, just prototype. Prototype, even if you’re not sure what you’re prototyping. Just have to get your designs out there and start producing something, and then you can work from that.

I knew there was a need, but I didn’t know how I was going to fulfil that need. And what I found was really difficult was my design teacher, he didn’t think I’d be able to fulfil the need either. But just believing that you have a proper design and you have a real thing that can help the community and just by working and working hard and prototyping, you can really help out. You can help other people. And that’s… Yeah. It brings hope. Yeah.

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Nicholas Mooney

So, my name is Nicholas Mooney, and I went to St Mary’s Cathedral College in Sydney. And my Industrial Technology major project for 2017 was the creation of a video-infographic-type situation where I used 2-D animation, 3-D animation and a bit of virtual reality to try and tell the story about the life of trees and the life and death and destruction of trees. In the creation of my video, I was sort of inspired by going on bushwalks and looking at different forests and things like that, especially going to Queensland and seeing forests in Queensland, then realising how much deforestation occurs in Australia.

With the creation of my video, what I wanted to try and do was encapsulate a message, and the point of creating a story about the trees and how much is cut down every single year, I wanted to try and present that message to an audience while still having an engaging background. So what I tried to do was create… just try and send the message using as many different mediums as possible. So I used virtual reality and animation, which was the main form, but then I also tried to use physical aspects, such as 3-D printing.

With the creation of a project… Obviously, it’s a 6-month process, but to begin with, I started with a couple of months planning drawing sketches and storyboards. But then, previous to the actual creation of the project, I’d never used any 3-D animation software before, so a majority of the time in the actual production of the project, I just spent learning how to use different programs and different forms of communicating.

I wanted it to be interesting and to have, like, the same aesthetic, but at the same time, I wanted it to be different from each other, so, like, my biggest fear was having the fact that 2-D animation would be too different from the 3-D animation – it’d just look like I just chucked it in. So I tried to incorporate straight lines and… I guess it goes back to the whole basics of design, having the colours that are the same and lighting which is the same and not too different, which makes it look like a holistic work.

I had to test so many different things, and there were so many different things which failed along the way because I had no idea what I was doing for 90% of the time. There were so many times when I just thought, “What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Why am I putting so much effort into this?” I’d export something and I’d have hundreds of files on my desktop and none of them would look anything like a tree, for example, which is what I wanted to create. About three-quarters of the way through completing my actual project, I could see that this scene, this scene which looked like a muddled piece of triangles, suddenly started taking shape. In the end, after, like, hundreds and hundreds of trialling different ways of exporting and shading and colouring, I finally got what I wanted to get. Even then, the export was still not exactly perfect, but, still, I learnt so much from the process. Upon completion, you feel so good about yourself and you know that you’ve done something which you can be proud of and that you can show to people and say, “I did this in the most stressful year of my life, and it looks pretty good.”

Next year, I’ll be pursuing a career or a university course in design, and I hope that that will take me somewhere and I can do something similar to my project, because I enjoyed it so much.

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Willow Driver

My name is Willow Driver. I attended Coffs Harbour Senior College. And for my multimedia major work, I did a music video called ‘It’s Time to Dance’, which is kind of a ’70s cheesy satirical comedy sort of thing.

My inspiration was mostly a lot of music videos and content from the ’70s. Like, I watched a lot of Michael Jackson music videos and a lot of that sort of early disco sort of stuff – really over-the-top, bombastic craziness going on. In multimedia, you’re sort of trying to be as showy as you can, to sort of show what you’re capable of, and I feel like that genre, everything is so visual that anything goes.

I tried as much as I can to sort of limit myself to the effects and the content that they would have had available to them at the time period, and a lot of those effects weren’t done on computers and that sort of thing, so I tried to re-create those effects as they would have been done in that time period.

I have been using After Effects for a long time, since I was about 12, and so I sort of know it inside out, and so a lot of those things, I could just whip up on the spot, but there were things that I didn’t do in After Effects, like part of that sort of video feedback loop that you see a lot in my music video was done practically. So I had a projector… The camera had a HDMI output into the projector. And so the projector was projecting exactly what the camera was seeing. So it was just sort of feeding back and back and back, and it just… Yeah. That’s how it was done in the time period. So it was cool to get that sort of genuine effect.

For the opening sequence, there’s a bit of an intro, and for that, it was all heavily storyboarded. I was sort of quite inspired by Spielberg’s work, like ‘E.T.’ and that sort of thing, and I tried to re-create the kind of Spielbergian look by using the smoke machine and a lot of blue light and that sort of thing. For the actual music video, it was actually very spontaneous. It was just, “Oh, this would look cool. Let’s try this.” It wasn’t that structured. Which was probably a good thing and a bad thing.

Because I’m a huge procrastinator, I didn’t actually really start the actual music video till, like, four weeks before it was due, which was a huge mistake, so I was just… All holidays before it was due, I was just…all day every day, like, editing. And I feel like at some points, it could have been too ambitious. My computer couldn’t handle what I was doing. And that was getting really slow and frustrating. It was taking, like, two days to render a 3-second shot sort of thing, and it was really painful. And in the end, I just had to replace almost every part of the computer, which was a huge setback, but I think it was worth it.

The most satisfying part of the project was the post-production, watching it all come together, because a lot of it was just shot on a green screen, and it’s so hard to feel what the end product’s going to be like. It’s just sort of stabbing in the dark, sort of thing. So when you’re actually compositing it and you see it sort of getting closer to the final product, it’s quite rewarding to watch it come together.

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Megan Johnstone

I’m Megan Johnstone, and I went to Bowraville Central School to do my high school. And I made a 1920s-inspired garment. It is a dress, fully lined, with a drop waist, in… The bodice is in a navy chiffon and below the dropped waist it has two tiers with a chiffon and pleated tier. The pleats are all done by hand and so are the tassels on the first tier attached to the hem. And I’ve also included scallop edging in my design just to accentuate the 1920s feel of the era, and the movement of women’s liberation with the V-neck and the open back and being sleeveless, just to show that women could wear what they would like and live a high life full of luxury after the traumatic experience of post World War I.

I was really stuck when I first started trying to figure out what I would do or my inspiration. But while in Year 11, I actually did a journal cover and it was inspired by the 1920s as well. And I just was really… I just felt like I could be really creative and imaginative with that inspiration and it also included, like, the historical, cultural, and contemporary components that I could really, I don’t know, make my major textiles project something different and unique.

When I first started, I wanted to… Like, I had it set in my mind that I wanted to include pleating, but my teacher said to me, “No, I think you would have to go to, like, a drycleaners and get it, you know, chemically set.” And I was, like, “No, I have to do it myself because I want it to be hand-done.” So I googled, researched, and I was, like, “I’m gonna do it.” So I did, like, a little test of my own pleating on different types of fabric to see what would set the best and what would stay… keep the pleats sharp as well. And then I actually made a toile in the holidays prior to the next year continuing with my Year 12. That really… I proved to my teacher that it would actually work.

I ended up making 100 tassels and I was busy doing that. Like, I’d do it in the car, even. Just on trips around, I’d just be sitting there doing tassels in the back seat. And with my pleating, well, I… I was gonna do a hand-rolled seam – like, hem – and then I changed my mind, decided I’d use it with, like, a rolled hem foot. And I had to restart, and restart my pleating all over again. And that was really hard. And I had to just, you know, keep going, even though I was, like, “Ohh!” You know, “I could have been done, like, you know, a couple of weeks ago.”

It was more towards the end when I could see that I would finish it that I felt that, you know, “I can do this. I’m gonna finish it.” Towards… I think it was a week away from when it was due, I think I just had to do my tassels, just had to attach those. And I thought it would be quicker than it was, but from then I felt, you know, “It’s gonna happen. I’m gonna finish this and it’ll be good.” Yeah.

You really have to think outside the box. Do something unique and creative. And even if you’re not gonna wear it, like, experiment. Do something that you may not wear or use in something… in clothing you see every day. It’s just… Yeah, experiment. And make sure you… Even make, like, a toile or something like that. And just have, like, a plan or, you know, some goals when you wanna get things done or achieve certain things such as embroidery. And don’t leave it too late to start. Make sure you start straightaway. And even if you can’t think of anything, just come up with a million ideas and show your teacher, even your friend or your family, and they might help you with, like, just to get what design you actually really want. And then… And don’t get upset or anything. Even if you feel like it’s not good enough, it might end up even better than you even expected.

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Megan Kennett

My name is Meg Kennett. I’m from Kinross Wolaroi in Orange. I’ve been… I was boarding there for four years. My major textiles project is a textiles costume that was designed to be worn in a political campaign against the mining on the Liverpool Plains. It was made of a raincoat made from vinyl and a swimsuit and hat made from ponte knit.

I’m from a farming family, so I was really passionate about that to start with, and I think it’s important that we preserve our farming land. So the Liverpool Plains was a perfect little inspiration for me to kind of get my voice out there on what I think about it. I always had my theme to start with and then I really wanted to show the natural aspects so I suppose that’s where the beauty comes in. And then I did oppose it with the industrial kind of mining aspect. And those two things worked together really well.

So the swimsuit was really about the water and the importance of the aquifers. And the hat kind of symbolised the Aussie significance of farming and the importance of the area. And the raincoat was, yeah, protection from the harmful events that could occur from the mine.

The print on the swimmers, I had to experiment a lot with different ink and painting to get those sort of swirls. I did that on paper first and then scanned it into the computer and manipulated it on Photoshop. So that was a lot of new sort of techniques.

Working with the vinyl was really challenging. We had to do a few drawings, because a lot of it had to do with the mobility of the plastic. It was really hard to move in. It was originally long, but we had to make it shorter so you could move in it more easily. And the reflective ribbon around the joints helped with arm mobility.

When I was doing the screen print on the back of the jacket, I originally had separate canola prints and I had to place them on, and that was… I couldn’t really get an image of what I wanted on the back because I kept just placing them on. And then we decided to scrap that completely – so start again – and a create a whole print and print it as a whole on the back of the jacket.

Using the plastic was quite challenging. Couldn’t use pins or anything ’cause it left holes in the plastic. And trying to get that under the machine and mobilise that through was quite challenging.

Putting it on the model and seeing it being walked down the runway was definitely a highlight. Yeah, seeing the prints come back from the digital printing company in Sydney was amazing – unravelling that fabric that was so vibrant. And it was just amazing. Turned out exactly how I wanted it to, so that was really good.

Definitely took a greater interest in the Photoshop. I love designing my own little prints and everything. And I’m really into photography as well, so I take some photos sometimes and turn them into prints. So, yeah, that might be something in the future that I look into.

My advice for the incoming Year 12s would be definitely start with an idea. It makes the whole process a lot easier, makes your folio a lot easier to talk about. Be flexible in your thinking. Don’t be too set, because otherwise you might get disappointed. But yeah, you’ll make something amazing.

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Sarah Hassett

Hi, I’m Sarah Hassett. I went to Frensham School, which is in Mittagong. It’s about an hour and a half south of here. And my major project was Industria, which is a solar bag. And my solar bag project was aimed to help people charge their phones when they’re unable to access a power point. And it’s paired with an app and a promotional movie and promotional packaging.

There are solar bags out, more for camping and outdoor living, but I was really trying to target it at a market that otherwise wouldn’t purchase these products.

Since we’re in Year 7, it’s just drilled into us the two words in design and technology – aesthetics, function. Aesthetics, function. So trying to successfully blend the two was quite difficult.

I kind of found mentors in different areas. With sewing, I went to a local upholsterer who we kind of knew through family and approached them and started taking sewing lessons every so often. And they kind of guided me through that process which was extremely helpful, because I cannot sew. And in, like, electrical engineering, I attended a camp in January which was a computer science camp at Sydney Uni, and through that, I met someone called Jim, who I later got back in contact with because he had done a bit of work in electrical engineering. And that was just insanely helpful because I wouldn’t have been able to access some of the technologies that he knew about or had access to. He helped me with what resistors to add, how to… So I added this thing called a buck-boost converter which helped boost the voltage in low lighting, so then it would work even as the sun started to go down. Even if it was just converting a little bit of power, it’s better than being completely unable to be used. And he also had a mill where I could make my logos and my little keyrings. So I wouldn’t have been able to make the product without those two people because I just wouldn’t have been able to either put the bag together or the technology inside it. And both of them fitted together seamlessly.

I love Design and Technology. It was my favourite subject. And I spent so long on this project that every time a small success would happen, it was just, like, “Oh, my God, it’s coming together!” And I would get really excited. Even just when the wireless charging pad perfectly aligned with the phone case, and they magnetically attract and I felt it go in. And I just stood there and I was, like, “Thank you! It’s working. It’s coming together.” And it was just so many little moments. Handing in different sections of my portfolio, getting just a page done of my portfolio, was just so exciting.

I feel like there’s so much inspiration that can be had just being part of different cultures and immersing yourself. So I’ve always wanted to study overseas, and I’ve been accepted into Edinburgh University in Scotland, so that sounds like it’s gonna be the go at the moment.

I want to pursue my design and technology in – and my love of physics and maths – in the field of engineering, doing as many design courses in that as possible because I really want to combine the two. I feel like a lot of the time the designers work separately from… Obviously I think engineers are designers and it all overlaps, but a lot of the time, the more science-focused people work separately from the more artistic, and I love both fields and I really want to combine them, and so I’m going to try and pursue that.

Our Design and Technology class was quite big, so giving words of advice for people to come… I saw so many people go through so many different hurdles because of such an array of interests, but one that I found stuck out the most for me and for most girls in my class was that time management is very difficult. Most people are there, working right till the last hour, still printing off pages of their portfolio at the last minute. And I felt like for me, that was something that I avoided just because I’m very organised and onto that. But I saw so many girls really struggle with staying on track, and even me at times – I was so worried that I wasn’t gonna get it done. So I think, you know, we make all these Gantt charts, we do all these time management action plans that no-one actually sticks to but they’re just requirements of the portfolio. But actually sticking to that makes such a difference, because you get it done and you get it done to the quality that you want and it’s not rushed and it’s not… You know, you can print off pages on lovely paper if you want to, because you have the time. It shouldn’t be something that needs to be half-done just because you leave it too late.


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Meet Meg Stevenson

MAAS Volunteer Meg Stevenson, winner of the 2017 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award and Senior Volunteer of the Year Award for Sydney North, reflects on almost 30 years of work at the Museum.