Just out of a lecture from Kate Pickering and Fraser Bruce who were telling us about the opportunities that the Duncan Of Jordanstone M(Des) program has to offer. It was really nice to listen to Kates story; how she struggled in the ‘real world’ after her degree and realised just how hard it was to set herself up in business; how she wasn’t initially very good at talking about her work so faced a lot of rejection from craft fares; how she felt she was equipped  to make jewellery but not to actually be a jeweller.

What she was equipped for though was how to be a designer and after returning to DJCAD to do her masters degree she realised what she could do with her designer knowledge. She has worked on projects for Deutsche Telekom and was part of Dr Rosan Chows research into the RIP+Mix method of creating innovative ideas. Using the experience from her masters she is now working on setting up her own ‘Social Enterprise’ business Vanilla Ink. The hope is that it provised the missing link between University and the scary world of industry. It will support jewellery designers (and indeed other designers) by teaching them the skills they need for the business side of making jewellery.

It sounds brilliant, I’ve had a look around the blog for Vanilla Ink (which aims to have a physical space all set up by 2012). I was sitting there at one point thought thinking do they not teach little one year business courses at colleges? BUT what Kate is offering is actually much more refined. It is aimed at craftspeople, particularly jewellers  and as well as providing classes on ‘the business side of things’ it will provide a workshop where they can still make their jewellery. From reading the blog I can see that actually this kind of specialised support is actually something we really need. It has sooo much opportunity for growth as well. Thinking about it from a graphic design point of view she could set up a kind of ‘gumtree’ thing, where any of the jewellers on the course could advertise what they need. For example they would need business cards and websites – they could freelance these out to students like me who over the summer would have plenty time to work for them! It would be a chance for us to get some experience and possibly even money doing something to do with our degree, rather than working in Tesco.

Anyway, back on topic: What is RIP+MIX? Well, when Fraser Bruce first introduced it to use he showed us this video:

Good eh? It was part of a lecture from Professor Lawrence Lessig, who is a Law Professor at Stanford University, he has a blog but I don’t think he uses it very much! I am going to watch the full TED talk he gave, but the basic idea was, he wanted to make it legal to “re-create”. From my understanding of it today, he was talking about taking two things and combining them, using the media technology we have today, to make something new. He wanted this not to be seen as “copyright”. This is kind of how I visualized it:

Existing material *sparks new ideas + gets mixed with technology = new ‘thing’

This is where  RIP+Mix comes in. Fraser Bruce was telling us how the M(Des) team became ‘dj’s’ by looking at say a radio (this was his example), ripping out the “knowledge” (apparently every artefact has knowledge – this was something i’ve been pondering since the lecture and am trying to grasp the concept of. I think he means for example, my phone: what does it do? how does it do it? how do I use it? > we can ask or observe how things work and how people use them to learn about them and apply what we learn about them to other things) Then mixing it with the knowledge we gained from another thing – say a bus stop. This “mixing” will then generate lots of new ideas for products, such as a station that tells you when your bus is near or late or broken down.

That was obviously just an example and by the sounds of the technique will generate lots of crazy ideas. I LOVE crazy ideas though because sometimes within the craziness you find some sense. This RIPing and Mixing is something that I would like to test out for myself, perhaps with my current project on the charity Oxfam. So far we are just doing research but in a couple of weeks time we will find out what we have to design, maybe I could RIP up charity shops and goats? Irrigation systems and Arms campaigns?


2 thoughts on “RIP+MIX”

  1. Great blog post Jennifer.

    Rip+Mix is a really good method to use at the initial stages of design, you feel free to do what you want and do the CRAZY designs, but out of the crazy you find something worth using. You end up doing lots of designs in such a small period of time, eliminating the ‘designer block.’

    I used the technique in my masters project and it became ‘bitter sweet’ have a look on my blog the projects is described there. But it basically is a tool that I developed to aid the commissioning process of jewellery, using the Rip + Mix method. It can be used and altered in many design disciplines.

    Give it a shot, I’d love to see what you come up with. Blog about it later see if you can come up with something as crazy as the ‘coffin blackboard’, a coffin where loved ones could physically write messages to the deceased. Yes we actually came up with that idea!!

    Kate :)

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