What I learnt from Rajasthan

The Rajasthan trip has been a once in a life time experience trip, my expectations were completely different to the reality. The contrast in Jaipur and Udaipur showed me how diverse India is as a country which has given me the desire to experience other places within India. It was amazing to see the local people in Rajasthan’s outlook on life, with so little they make so much out of it. I think that this is one of the main things that I will take away from the trip. That with little materials and resources they are able to handcraft such detailed and amazing outcomes. This stood out for me in the Elephant Dung workshop, to hear his story of how he was born into nothing and managed to make something out of himself by moving across India and creating paper out of Elephant Dung. This shows the determination and an innovative approach that he had on life. By seeing how something is made and the process and skill set needed, provides a much greater appreciation for the design/object being made. This was apparent in not just the Elephant Dung Paper workshop but also all the other creative workshops that we attended. This is why documenting the process of making is so important within our work because an audience invests in the journey and expertise not just the design. By using Augmented Reality is another way that this can be done, you can present the audience with the final outcome but if they scan it, they can see the process of the journey.

Throughout this field project I feel like I have learnt so much as a creative. I have purposely explored other design techniques by expanding outside my subject area as I thought that this is a good way to develop myself as a creative person. I have explored wood carving, 3D making, photography, video editing, augmented reality, layout design, book binding, block printing, tie dye, ceramics, paper making, miniature painting, etc. Which has brought me out of my comfort zone but enjoyed every new skill which I have learnt. By having a wider skill set allows greater idea’s for further projects which I am very excited about. This project has taught me that as a Graphic Communicator it is essential to understand the subject of the brief, as you cannot fulfil it without a true understanding. I had a vision for my artist book when I was out there, but when getting to Rajasthan this changed as my expectations were different to what I had planned prior to the trip. This then led me to take a different approach on the subject area, by doing this I think that it created a more exciting and interactive piece of work. I found some senses easier to visualise than others, but by grouping the images together helped to communicate the senses further. By travelling with a range of different creatives, not only gave me the chance to see the creative industry in a new way but also met so many new friends. From the tour guide, to the tutors and students that I travelled with, these have all made it such an enjoyable trip.


Final Pieces

Spice Box

I have gathered objects on my travels around Rajasthan to represent my five senses that I experienced throughout the trip. The woodblock of the letter ‘I’ represents identity, being the first letter of my name. And the woodblock shows links between the craftsmanship in India and the wood-carved spice box that I made before my travels. The incense/josticks have been used to create an aroma, as the smells that I came across in India were very strong and diverse. Some that stood out to me were the calm smoky smell of incense, the strong polluted dusty air and the pungent smell of waste. These contrasting smells show the diversity of India as a country and it’s culture. The bell is an interactive object to suggest the sounds of India. There was never a quiet time; the loud noise of traffic and music constantly made you feel so alive. To communicate touch I decided to focus on the craftsmanship which is very visible in their culture. To understand their skills and feel their materials which they use creates so much more appreciation for the objects that they make. The materials everywhere were so bright and textured which added to the vibrance of Rajasthan. To represent sight I have collected a mirror, which creates the idea of me reflecting on my travels through Rajasthan. It also suggests the reflection of the water in Udaipur the Lake City and the detailed doors/windows which are visible everywhere around Rajasthan. And finally I bought some turmeric to communicate the tastes in Rajasthan. The spices were so strong in all of the food which made every meal taste different. The spices which they use are so diverse as they don’t just use them for cooking with, they use them for dying and pigments etc.

Final Spice Box Images

Gathered Material Artist Book

To go in the book which I made with different style pockets, I gathered a range of different materials gathered on my journey. These were then all placed inside the pockets to create a more interactive artist book. By the audience being able to take the materials out and read/touch them, creates a feeling of a more personal book. Although as I was focusing more the photographs I didn’t gather as many items as I would have liked. I would have liked to gather some materials which represent the Senses of Rajasthan rather than just collected objects. This is because I do not think business cards communicate the theme of my project very well. If I were to do this again and had more time after the trip I would have made the book after I had gathered the materials. This is so I would have a better idea on how big to make the book and pockets as some of the materials don’t fit very well or I’ve had to cut them down.

Ephemra Artist Book

Photo Book & Augmented Reality

For the Photo Book and Augmented Reality I have concentrated on capturing images, videos and sounds to bring the book to life. The layout of the photo book I have focused on grouping the images on each spread with a certain sense. I felt that by doing this helps to communicate to the audience more on the sense which has been visualised. Although some of the images could be interpreted as more than one sense, but I think that this is what makes the effect off senses so powerful. The images have all been enhanced and cropped to create more striking images but none have been manipulated as I wanted to communicate a true sense of reality. The experimental layout gives a good sense of pace throughout photo book and the use of negative space helps to focus more on the images. I tried experimenting with type, although I think that the images are strong enough on their own, and I think that the use of Augmented Reality brings the photo’s to life. By using these video’s creates a more interactive book to help the audience feel like they are experiencing Rajasthan as well. I have used sounds which I have recorded in Rajasthan and also some Royalty Free Sound Downloads offline. The sound helps to bring the video together and helps to communicate the senses more. If I had more time I would have gotten the photo book professionally printed and bounded it myself. I think that this would have made the images crisper and would have also looked more professional.


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Front Cover Rajasthan Photobook

Second Page Spread Taste

Third Page Spread Taste

Fourth Page Spread Touch

Fifth Page Spread Touch

Sixth Page Spread Smell

Seventh Page Spread Smell

Eighth Page Spread Sight

Ninth Page Spread Sight

Tenth Page Spread Sight

Eleventh Page Spread Sound

Twelfth Page Spread Sound

Senses of Rajasthan

My expectations of India was very different to what I experienced when I was there. By looking at images of Rajasthan prior to going on the trip, I had a vision in my head of how the food and colours would be. Although, it was very different which made it difficult for me to complete my artists book exploring into food and spices. This showed me that in Graphic Communication it is very important to understand the client and the brief. If you do not fully understand the brief and have clear knowledge into the subject area the work may not fulfil the brief and the client may not be happy with the work. I was imagining food markets full of spices and exotic foods, but in Jaipur this wasn’t something which was very apparent. Therefore, after the first week of my travels I decided to change my theme slightly as I didn’t think that just exploring the food and spices showed enough of my journey in Rajasthan. To keep the spice box that I made relevant I decided to change my theme to ‘Senses of Rajasthan’. This then allowed me to communicate my experience of Rajasthan through the five senses. Not only did this give me more scope to explore, but it also gave me the opportunity to show the amazing culture and visually communicate this.

Photobook Research

Photobook research.jpg

To document the variety of food that I will experience on the trip I want to capture my experiences through photographs. This will provide a story behind the spice box and ephemera collected so the audience can feel part of the experience. Above I have gathered a few images of existing photobooks which communicates some kind of journey. This shows how the layout and composition is so important as it has an effect on how the journey is communicated to the audience. I want to explore a range of different layouts to keep a good level of pace throughout the photobook. I have written a list of photo’s which I would like to capture whilst on the trip, as a guide of what I visually want to focus on.

  • sacks of spices
  • close up of someone’s hand with street food
  • henna on hand with food showing the culture
  • close up of bubbling hot food
  • cooking class
  • take photo of every meal
  • close up of food with the scenery in the background showing different locations

Within all of these photo’s I am hoping to capture a strong vibrant colour palette and focus on traditional Indian dishes. I also aim to visualise the different senses that is effected by the food. I could experiment with augmented reality to help communicate these senses by adding sound. This could create a more interactive and engaging photos. Below I have planned out some idea’s of layouts which I could explore in the photobook. These layouts could change depending on the images I capture, but by having a rough template can help when designing the photobook. I also want experiment combining image with type, this could help provide greater context to the audience which will create stronger communication to the audience.

editorial layout plan
Pink = Image, Black = Type, White = Negative Space

Artist Book Development

artist book steps.jpg

Originally my plan was to collect pieces of ephemera to do with food in Rajasthan and heat bind it together when I get back. Although, as I will be working on the photo book when I am back from Rajasthan I thought that I may be pushed for time. Therefore, I decided to make the artist book before the trip so this would be more time effective. I still wanted the book to hold all of the ephemera, so the artist book could act as a pocket for the materials collected.

All of the artist book workshops have given me inspiration for elements which I want to include throughout my project. From the spice box, to the photo book and artist book holding ephemera. I have bound the book using skills from Cath’s workshop and turned each page into some kind of envelope, using different cutting and folding techniques. I think that this creates an interactive piece allowing the audience to take out the ephemera from the pockets. And the different folds creates pace throughout the artist book which will engage the audience. I am leaving the pages plain as I want the ephemera to stand out well against the pockets. Although, the spices and materials gathered may begin to stain the pages, this is something which I will have to experiment with on the trip.

Indian Culture

The workshop with Anna was very interesting as we focused more on India as a culture rather than focusing on Artists books, which is a difference to most of the workshops so far. Due to Anna being half Indian and going there most years, it was interesting to hear to her advise. She spoke about basic etiquette that we should follow when we are out there. Such as greeting people with namaste, and addressing the locals of an older age as sir and mam. I felt that this was useful as going to a different country and understanding how to respect their culture is very important. She also went into a very brief history of India as a country so we have some knowledge before going over there. We began to explore individually some descriptive drawing and writing of what we expect the streets of India to be like. This can then be compared when we are back to see the difference between our expectations and reality.

Indian street expectations

  • Colourful
  • Noisy
  • Strong Smells
  • Cows on the street
  • Sack of spices
  • Chaotic

A common word throughout the group was the expectation of noise. Therefore, Anna taught us an Indian method of meditation, this is something which we may find useful coping with the chaotic nature of India. By doing this we were able to engage with a traditional Indian method.

Book Binding Workshop

Artist book collection.jpg

The workshop with Cath was interesting to see the contrast in Artists books in comparison to the ones we previously looked at in the library. These were very conceptual artists books that also explored a range of different styles and techniques. This showed us more possibilities that could be explored with artist book making.

book binding work shop

We tried making a couple of different book making styles. The traditional form of book binding which we tried first is a method which I am familiar with. The other methods we tried were by using just folding, I found this surprisingly easy which has shown me that once you understand the folds how quick it is to form a book using these techniques.