One of those big questions that college graduates have when they graduate is “Will I ever use my degree?” As someone who graduated with a B.F.A. in Industrial Design, but is currently volunteering as a YAV in Korea, this is definitely a question that plagues me some. I still get questioned about why I’m not doing Industrial Design, but that’s a whole other topic all together. The point being that my degree has not gone to waste even though I am not actually an Industrial Designer, but rather a volunteer.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to speak at English Chapel in front of a mostly sleeping crowd of students (it’s a mandatory class). I had free reign over the topic, I just needed to provide a verse and try to make my speech about 25 minutes long. So of course I take the chance to use the verse Isaiah 2:4 –
He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
…and talk about design! Specifically “Peace through Transformation and Design”
You can check out my wordless presentation in the link above. It’s probably less interesting with me talking for 15 minutes over it, but knock yourself out. I argued that we should be using our skills and the gifts we’ve been given not as weapons but as tools for peace. It’s very easy to bring up examples from Industrial Design, but any skill you have can be used towards peace for people within your sphere of influence.
And while I may not be doing Industrial Design work, my ID skills have influenced my work in a lot of ways throughout this year.
Within my house I made our chore chart for the year. We divided our chores for the 5 people who live in our house.
This hangs on our wall in our kitchen. The back wheel with our names written in Korean rotates every week so that we all switch chores once a week. Probably the most useful thing I made this year.
For our house I also made us some cute ornaments for Winter and Spring. The photos inside are left over photos we had from getting our foreigner ID cards. The photos are removable and replaceable so you can switch them from one ornament to another.
The flowers are currently in a bottle on our living room table with paint brush stems. Hopefully bringing our house a little joy.
I’ve also made my own Halloween costume which were just some cat ears I could bobby pin into my hair.
Occasionally I’d do my own relaxation with art projects as well and I made some cute little doo-dads that don’t really do anything. I was pretty happy I found googley eyes.
I gave the bear to my bosses’ son, Sahn, and the bunny to my friend Hanbyeol who used it as a guide for a craft when she did some volunteering in Cambodia. But these types of things aren’t really very useful, and I made them mainly for my own satisfaction. More importantly have been the things I’ve made with or for my kids – either at Sunday school, the Migrant Women’s Shelter, or my children’s center. My methodology for lessons definitely started out with what I know best, which is arts and crafts. One of my first big lessons at my children’s center was puppet making.
(Sorry for how silly this is, for the privacy of the children at my center and the women’s shelter, their faces will be covered by adorable stickers!)
My site has also hosted crafts. One of which was a cake decorating day. It was Peppero day, which many people have as a couples’ holiday, but I had a lot of fun decorating a cake with my buddy, Seong Eun.
One of the fun projects I did with the women’s shelter children (with my roommate Emily’s help) was a garbage bag fashion show. I made a few things myself, but the kids had a good time making their own clothes.
Above you can see some photos from their fashion walk. Me on the other hand, I made a garbage hat for myself. Perfect for a fancy day out!
We’ve done some origami together, and I’ve made them flowers.
One of the girls at the women’s shelter brought out tweezers for this one so she could make increasingly smaller fortune tellers. It was quite a thing to see!
I also created a few English lessons around art projects.
The kids had a chance to make some of the paper food (and I provided some of it) and we made “Our Restaurant.” They took turns ordering the food we all made in English and filled up their paper trays. It was a nice mixture of Korean and American foods
My roommate Alexis and I had a lesson on clothes where we filled a suitcase with clothes for a trip as well. The kids got a chance to made some clothes to put in the suitcase. If you notice there’s an inner tube for when they go to the beach up there.
I wish I had photos of the books I made with the children at my center too. One of my kids used his book to write a long list of Pokemon.
At church I’ve made some stick puppets and classic paper snowflakes with the Sunday school kids.
The thing I do the most in Sunday school though, is illustrate the Bible stories for the kids while they listen.
Maybe you can recognize the Bible stories I’m drawing? I’m sure there are a few projects I’m missing from the year. Though I’m not an Industrial Designer, a lot of the work I do involved my art background. Thankfully I’ve had the opportunity to apply my skills in creative ways. I do think it’s been an enriching part of my experience and a part that continues to give. I do think that we can all use the skills we have towards more peace in the world – whether it’s transforming swords into plowshares, guns into garden tools, or just using whatever skills we have towards peace.