Resent Inspirations- Urban Exploring

Recently I’ve been looking into urban exploring again and focusing on my dreams of places I want to visit before I die and mostly before they die. After purchasing the book: ‘the ruins of Detroit’ by Marchand and Meffre I have always kept a close eye on there website and looking for any new work. My birthdays just passed and my mum is sending me to Paris for a weekend and this is the perfect opportunity for me to see their work exhibited, which I am really excited about. However, they have also done a book and series of exhibitions based on Gunkanjima.

This is an island of the south coast of China. During the wave of industrialisation in the nineteenth century, a coal seam was disovered on the tiny island. It was first opened in 1890 by Mitsubishi Corporation. For decades coal production sustained Japans modernisation and helped establish its position as an industrialised nation and imperial power. Workers settled on the island and the population increased causing them to build further apartment blocks, a school, hospital and even retail stores and restaurants. The island eventually became the most densely populated place in the world per square metre with other 5,000 inhabitants in the 1950’s.

The concrete wall separated the land and the water, to protect the island from sea damage, giving it the appearance of a battleship riding the harsh waves. Its silhouette earned it the nickname of Gunkanjima. Gunkanjima’s fortune began to decline in the late 1960’s when the rest of Japans economy soured and petroleum replaced coal. The mine eventually closed in January of 1974, six months later transportation from the island decreased and all inhabitants were forced to leave. Since then the island has become an abandoned ghost town.

‘Gunkanjima thus seems to be the ultimate expression of the relation between architecture, culture of labor and the principle of industrial modernity, which aims not only at innovation and growth, but also at the abandonment of any obsolete form of activity.’  Marchand and Meffre.

For some reason I’ve become really interested in travelling there. But during my time in China, I did attempt to contact a few explorers to ask how to get there but they discouraged me and said it was far to dangerous. But with all my travelling recently I’ve had time to search online about new explorers and I’ve come across a guy called Steve from Boston, who made this awesome video about Gunkanjima, and he was nice enough to message me back allowing me to write about him on my blog.  Be sure to watch the whole video, there’s some awesome footage.

Seeing people travel there recently makes me think it might be possible to travel there myself. Although I have been told its very dangerous. I see online they do short tours which the Japanese government control, which might be my only option because I can see from various sights that they predict it could deteriorate very soon. But I’m still on a mission to get there in my lifetime.


Feeling Blessed


Today I realised how lucky I am to be enrolled at such a modern and beautiful university in one of the most stunning city’s in the UK. Watching Videos of Cardiff met now that I’ve been in china for nearly three months had made me realise what a beautiful place it is to live in. I feel blessed that I was accepted into this university, and I am blessed that they offer me so many different new and exciting opportunity’s on a daily basis. I don’t think I can ask for a better university experience. Meeting people from all different backgrounds and living with people I maybe wouldn’t meet if I hadn’t of come to Cardiff Met. I am so thank full for my teachers especially Kerieine Canavan for accepting me onto this course and giving me the opportunity to go to China.

I wanted  to write a little about my experiences on my blog so perhaps other potential students can see what a great place it is. Being able to move into your own space with during that first week where there are many new people around you and you all want to be friends is a lovely feeling. That first week you meet so many new people its full of potential to meet your new best friend. Cardiff Met offers so many great opportunities including beautiful accommodations and facilities on campus. The week one welcome being a great experience, where you get to meet with the dean and your student union representatives. You also get to meet with all the different social and sports teams where you can take part of just make some friends. It was a very warm welcome.

The university its self is so modern. I think teachers are so kind and helpful, but still professional. In comparison to BIFT the teachers are there for you, and always the last to leave. They really care about your welfare and your your learning experience. The campus is so clean and everything is available at the tip of your fingers. You just need to experience it and ask lots of questions.

Transport links in the city are brilliant and the city it’s self offers some of the best views and exciting things to do. There are so many historic and creative things you can do even if you just had a weekend in Cardiff. And although people always say it rains, I only have memories of the sunshine. You have Cardiff Castle, town arcaded, Principallity stadium, Cardiff bay, Cardiff museum, St.Fagons, the botanical gardens of wales, bute park, river boats, music festivals, the hot air balloon festival, Cardiff sports village and so many more interesting things to do. If you make the most of it you will be so impressed with how many things Cardiff has to offer to a student or anyone for that matter.

Not to forget the night life. I’ve had some of the most exciting fun nights out in Cardiff with many of my friends who I’ve met from halls, or sports teams. Its just an exciting place to be where last minute you can plan to go out. Flat parties, organised bar crawls, celebrity meet and greet nights, or just going to a bar for a few drinks. The night life is Cardiff is next to none. Something to do every night of the week and you’ll always find someone to go out with if you want to.

I think Cardiff is one of my best decisions I’ve made and although I can’t tell you all my stories on my blog, I just want to let you know its such a fantastic city to live in and be part of the proud welsh team. Even if I’m not from wales, I’m happy to live in a city where pride is glorious and you can see this all over the city. Take a look at some of my photos of my experience from my first year:

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Week 4 at BIFT- Garment Manufacture

Today was a much better lesson then last time. We were making a pattern for a suit. Not exactly sure how its a suit, but next lesson it should all come together.

It looks really confusing, but its all the sums on the outside making it look hard. Its really simple once you get the hang of it. Trust me.

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Beijing Zoo

Today I went to Beijing zoo with Lucia, Sue and Dylan. After hearing many bad reviews online, I still wanted to go see what it was like. I really like seeing different animals especially giraffes. Plus i’d never seen pandas before and I was in china, so pandas were a must.

When we arrived there was a ridiculous amount of people waiting for tickets. But we were soon in the zoo. Beijing zoo is an incredibly old zoo. It was opened to the public for the first time in 1908, but suffered greatly during periods of war. By 1937 many of the animals had sadly died. During 1949 the zoo was rebuilt and was open again to the public in 1950.

The layout of the park seems very confusing, and many of the enclosures did look old and uncared for. This was very sad, but I understand the point of the zoo is to learn about animals and keep the species safe to re create and keep them all alive for a very long time.  I can understand why many Tourists may think this zoo is bad but China has many different laws about how they can keep and treat animals. I assume it will take time for them to create new enclosures for all the animals but I believe this is sufficient.

My favourite parts of the day included seeing the giraffes (My favourite animal), Lamas (Lucia’s favourite animal), Monkeys and Pandas. It was defiantly well worth seeing the pandas. They seemed so happy sat eating bamboo. I was super shocked to see kangaroos and polar bears though. In comparison to my zoo back home (Colchester zoo), the zoo at home seems much more animal friendly.  And I much prefer being able to feed the giraffes and elephants. But I was happy to see the zoo here.

Back to reality… Second week at BIFT

Although I am still thinking of the trip as a vacation, I seriously need to get in the mindset that I am here to study.

Mondays lesson of Garment Manufacture, we learnt how to make a flare trouser pattern piece. This lesson was totally confusing. It was very similar to the trouser pattern piece last week however because it sat below the below the waist and was tighter, we needed to draw out a pattern for the waist and then remove part of it, in order to get the shape. Then to make it even more confusing you needed to copy the new waist line of the trouser pattern piece onto tracing paper and place this on top of the trouser which would then we inside inside the trouser. I’m still confused. However, by drawing these each week I am beginning to understand the basics of fashion drawings, drawing curved lines and measurements. My teacher tries so hard to communicate with me but I do not understand her corrections very well.

I hope to understand it more when we look at actually putting the garment together and understand the symbols.

On Tuesday we became got our students cards, making us official BIFT students!!!!


On Wednesday we continued with English corner, however, not as many people turned up as last week. We had lots of fun with new word games including word association and picture games. And we seem to be bonding more with the students who came along and hopefully we can help them to read and write more words and find out what they want to learn. Sally’s looking like she’s having a blast in the photo below (but she really was).


Finished Digital Print with Screen Printing

After creating my screen and receiving my finished and washed piece of digitally printed fabric I then wanted to screen print onto it. Although the fabric had shrunk making it awkward to match with sizes, I still went ahead with the screen print with bright orange foils. I knew the intricate design would be a problem but I thought it might look slightly better then it came out. I’m glad this was just a test piece, but seeing others work makes me inspired to keep trying with this idea.