Riko E. ’23
Dishware Aligned with Lifestyle
My study aims to understand the evolution of Japanese dishware culture by comparing it with Western dishware culture. (I use the word “dishware” instead of “dishes” to distinguish it from food. By the term “dishware", I mean plates, bowls, and other containers we use when eating.) Since becoming an international student at Emma Willard School, I have found many intriguing differences and similarities between Japanese and Western cultures. This made me interested in understanding Japanese dishware culture through comparison with Western dishware culture. In this study, I first compared them from many aspects such as weight, size, material, and outlook. Then I analyzed what created the differences between Japanese and Western dishware, and why/how Japanese dishware is the way it is today.
For example, in both Japanese and Western dishware porcelain and ceramic are popular materials. However, in Japanese culture, wood is as frequently used as porcelain and ceramic whereas in contemporary Western culture, wood is used less frequently. Moreover, Japanese dishware tends to be lighter and smaller than Western dishware. Additionally in Western culture, people use dinnerware sets in which all plates and bowls have matching designs. In Japanese culture, people use plates and bowls of totally different designs and materials on the same table. I analyzed what factors contributed to those differences and found that different environments, climates, and geography played a massive role in the evolution of both dishware cultures.
Caroline G. ’23
Interior Design of Equestrian Facilities
This year in my Signature project, I tackled the question of how you can promote a horse’s wellbeing through the architectural design of their atmosphere. This is an important topic to equestrians, not only because the horse’s attitude affects how they are to ride, but also because we love our horses and strive to foster their happiness. I researched topics such as how to tame the acoustic level, the technology behind insulation vs. ventilation, the types of flooring that promote their physical health, and enhancing their spiritual wellness through the colors around them, their ability to socialize, the type of lighting, etc. Though it may seem that horses don’t pick up on miniscule details such as the ones listed above, they are incredibly sensitive animals. From using LED lights because the color rendering index is more natural on the equine eye, to using soft material for flooring to take the strain of their tendons, to installing acoustic panels in the barn to turn a cavernous space into a peaceful and quiet area for the horses; all of these things add up to have a huge impact on equine health. My final project is a completed floorplan of a barn that encompasses all of these ideas. I was able to get critiques and good feedback from an experienced barn owner, as well as interview an interior designer/architect. This project not only allowed me to understand more about the animals I love most, but also the profession that I’m interested in pursuing.
Hanshu Y. ’23
Upcycling Garment Waste: A More Environmentally Friendly Alternative To Fast Fashion
Coming into the project, I strove to make a difference by creating sustainable alternatives to fast fashion and developing insight into the mindsets of young consumers most affected by fast fashion. Through my research on Emma students, I discovered that younger consumers struggle to balance price and quality in their purchasing process. Although Emma students are conscious of the environmental impacts of fast fashion, there is a greater gap between the practice of consumerism and the mindset of younger consumers opposed to older generations on campus. For my prototype of a sustainable product, I decided to create tote bags through the practice of sewing and screen printing. During the creation process, I realized how hard it is to make the production process zero waste; most screen printing inks are hazardous as they contain harmful chemicals and formaldehydes that are detrimental to the environment and human health. Through research in screen printing and conversations with seasoned artists, I decided to use the eco-friendly alternative of water-based inks and create tote bags by reusing discarded fabrics on campus. The highlight of my project has been designing the graphics on the tote bags, coming up with different prototypes, and problem-solving due to the varying quality and abundance of the materials available to me. I also experimented a lot with color theory, layering, and negative space to minimize the workload of the screen printing process.
Overall, the project has deepened my understanding of ethical consumerism with the plus of experimenting with design software.
Liana Z. ’23
Sustainable Fabric and Design
My project is on researching, making, and learning about the process of eco-dyes and broadening the final topic into the fast fashion industry. Over the past year, I worked on research for the first half of the project, then I started the actual process of eco-dyeing during Christmas break using materials I could find in nearby grocery stores (and in nature). After feeling accomplished with the process of eco-dyeing, I started composing all my processes and understanding of eco-dyeing and fast fashion into a magazine. This will be the final product and will be presented during the final presentation. The magazine is broken into several different chapters: Clothing Production Pollution, Whether or not ‘Sustainable’ Fashion is Truly Sustainable, Unethical Brands, Eco-Friendly Brands, My Personal Experience with Eco-Dyes, and some in-depth explanations of the different types of eco dye and their functions.