A closer look around your house, room, office or the surroundings, will display a trail of belongings that one call his or hers. These belongings range from small personal effects like combs or toothbrush to big acquired assets like furniture, motor vehicles and built structures or buildings. A critical examination of these belongings portrays a great artistic professionalism that was employed in the creation of the same. Even though it’s legal for one to call them his/hers, the credit of ownership must be bestowed to the designers who devoted their hands and skillfully combine traditional and modern methods with devoted attention so as to come up with the same. This thesis delves into the review of a documentary movie “Handmade Nation” 2009. The thesis seeks to evaluate the ways or extend to which the aesthetics and functions of an object or environment`s design enhances the quality of life. The information will put into consideration the articulates principles and elements of design, evaluation of the effects of design`s aesthetics on the quality of life in the perspective of ergonomics, architecture, interior and landscape design and planned communities.
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Handmade Nation documentary movie was first screened in March 2009 in San Francisco, USA. Directed by Faythe Lavine, it explores the up-and-coming art of crafters community fueled by creativity, fortitude and net working. It is full of scenes of the author travelling across USA to interview this tight knit community and filming the works of noted and independent artist at either their workplace or appointed places such as improvised studios and homes. Majority of the crafters are women although there are few male crafts who are quilters and print makers. The crafters have varied knowledge and skills; some are university graduates, others are from craft colleges and the rest have mastered the art by observation through experience. As the movie unfolds, some of the crafters are seen sewing clothes or binding books while others are seen focusing on the printing of some rock band posters and bottle cap jewels. The movie explores the ways in which these crafters have become business owners with the autonomy of artistic exploration through combination of modern and traditional methods.
In an effort to bring out the theme of the movie, the producer has combined artistic skills to bring out or evaluate ways in which the aesthetic and the function of an object or an environment’s design can enhance the quality of life. Even though the emergence of revolution alerts the capitalist, the many do-it-yourself efforts in the crafts movement exudes a fighting back spirit since those involved combines business savvy and art skills to outwit them. There are also claims that there exist strong traditions of folk craft in the USA with relentless efforts to bring out the reflection of knitting, embroidery and quilting to be a much respected domestic amusement discrete from the fashionable civilization. This is well demonstrated in the movie at the scene where a young woman is seen selling kits used for making colorful hook-knot rugs but the template she is using for the stretch out is a nude portion from pornography rather than a renaissance painting as expected! This stylistic portrayal by the producer, which fully exhibits the ways in which aesthetic skills alters an environment and people.
The movie articulates principals and elements of design. According to Cindy Kovalik and Peggy King in their article visual literacy (2010), Design principles and elements are the fundamental description of ideas on good visual design which in most cases are based on intentional visual design strategies. The elements which forms the vocabulary of the design includes line color and texture among others while the principles, which is the structural aspects combines to give a well design. In this movie, the producer has shown some varied attitude through his design principles; as the movie unfolds, we are taken through some shaky cinematography that exhibits well the design vocabulary. The various arts that we are introduced to in various scenes differ in color shape texture and form but the overall results portrays a traditional art and skills on the display with a degree of adherence to unity, emphasis, balance, contrast, movement, variety and harmony. This, attest to the producer`s adherence to the principles and elements of design.
Throughout the plot of this movie, it can be noted that the design has an effect on the aesthetic of the objects portrayed and the environment. The film has also made effort to effectively capture the passionate approach by the people involved in craft, where hold on to the spirit of pioneering on art as away of life rather than an innovation. This has resulted into author’s use of shaky cinematography in order to reflect the subject matter. The movie is dotted with zoom-out sequences and blown out shapes which have affected the beauty or aesthetic value. Though the intended design of traditional crafts has been achieved, it has allowed some technical slackness.
The producer has shown that aesthetic and functions of the design has an effect on the quality of life for those who experience the environment or use that particular product. This has been achieved through several ways: considering ergonomics as the science of adapting the job, equipment and the human to each other for optimal safety and productivity, this item to some extent has been exaggerated in the movie. For instance at a point in the plot, a group try to organize a late public art mission in which they are seen carrying knitted craftworks, which they fix to a trees, buildings or wherever they find suitable. This is outrageous since it is not safe and efficient for grown up women to jump out of the car at night and also jumping on each other’s shoulders to place a hand-made craft on a particular area. Considering architecture as the design decision by the designer, the producer has decided to exaggerate ergonomics deliberately in a scene just described above so as to bring out a point. In that scene, the producer is to fend off the accusations related to vandalism by rebranding it to a lesser destructive image. Considering interior and landscape design, the producer has achieved the seamless harmony of engineering systems and architecture. This is portrayed in the scene where by some crafters are seen demonstrating the way their articles functions or are used (for instance how to make a latch hook rug) so as to erase elements of doubts or confusion on the users. Finally, the producer has put into consideration the element of planned community. This comes out well in the plot as the author tries to bring out a well organized craft community from the discussion on its key philosophies in the plot.
Judging the current market, it is impossible to find original commodity on the market, we are swimming in a junk of fake goods devoid of uniformity and culture. The movie homemade is an invaluable tool for advocating originality. The producer, through aesthetic attributes, has shown the uniqueness and value portrayed in originality. The movie has evaluated the ways in which the aesthetics and functions of an object or environment`s design enhances the quality of life by putting into consideration the articulates principles and elements of design, evaluation of the effects of design`s aesthetics on the quality of life in the perspective of ergonomics, architecture, interior and landscape design and planned communities.