What is intimacy and why is it so important?
Intimacy is about being emotionally close to your partner, about being able to let your guard down, and let him or her know how you really feel. Intimacy is also about being able to accept and share in your partner's feelings, about being there when he/she wants to let their defences down.
To be able to share our 'inner-world' with a partner we love, and to be able to share our partner's experiences, is one of the most rewarding aspects of a relationship.
Intimacy often doesn't need words, but being able to put feelings and experiences into words makes intimacy more likely to occur. Intimacy involves being able to share the whole range of feelings and experiences we have as human beings - pain and sadness, as well as happiness and love.
Most of us, however, find it easier to share some types of feelings than others. For example, are you and your partner able to let each other know how you feel about each other?
Saying 'I love you' is important. Assuming your partner knows about your love because of the way you behave is usually not enough.
- How do you feel when you are sad, a little depressed, in need of some comforting and reassurance? Are you able to let yourself be dependent and to receive some nurturing? Is this balanced in your relationship, or is one partner the 'strong one' who never needs to show any vulnerability? If so, is this really how you want things to be in your relationship?
- How do you feel about yourself? - when you've taken a bit of a knock and are feeling small and 'put down', or when you've achieved something that makes you feel good about yourself.
- How do you feel about sex? - what you like and don't like in your love-making, and about how your sexual relationship could be made more enjoyable for you.
- Do you really know what your partner thinks and feels, or do you have to guess and 'mind-read?' Are you able to be open with your partner, or do you feel that your partner would not be able to accept some of your feelings?
Richard Renaldi's Thouching stranger
You & Me wedding/eternity ring
Lucy Orta's Connection garment
These jewellery pieces designed by Naomi Flimer present the idea of touching the skin and holding the position very well.
Iris Van Herpen
The line structure of the 3D print garment is similar to my idea of finger-print.
The Five Levels of Intimacy
Psychologists have identified 5 levels of emotional intimacy we all move through as we get to know someone. They’ve been given several names, but for our purposes, let’s call them Level one through five, with five being the highest, or most intimate level.
Level One: Safe Communication
Level one is the lowest level of communication. We call it safe because it involves the exchange of facts and information. There are no feelings, opinions or personal vulnerability involved, and therefore no risk of rejection. This is the kind of interaction we have with people we don’t know well. It’s the chitchat we share with the clerk at the grocery store or a stranger at a party.People communicating at this level share minimal intimacy. An example of this level would be, “Lousy weather we’re having,” This is great pizza,” My team won last night.”
Level Two: Others’ Opinions and Beliefs
At level two we start sharing other people’s thoughts, beliefs and opinions. We are beginning to reveal more of ourselves through our associations. We say things like, “My mother always says…” or “One of my favorite authors said…” Such statements test the other person’s reaction to what we’re sharing without offering our own opinions. This is slightly more vulnerable than level one, but because we’re not sharing our own opinions we can distance ourselves from the opinion if we feel threatened by criticism or rejection.
Level Three: Personal Opinions and Beliefs
We start taking small risks at this level because we begin to share our own thoughts, opinions and beliefs. But like the previous level, if we begin feeling too vulnerable, we can say we’ve switched our opinions or changed our mind in order to avoid conflict or pain.
Level Four: My Feelings and Experiences
Sharing feelings and experiences is the next level of vulnerability and intimacy. At this level we talk about our joys, pain, and failures; our mistakes in the past, our dreams, and our goals. What we like or don’t like. What makes us who we are. This level is more vulnerable because we can’t change how we feel about something, the details of our past or current experiences. If we sense we may be rejected or criticized all we can do is try to convince others that we’re no longer impacted by our past. We’re no longer that person. We’re different now.
Level Five: My Needs, Emotions and Desires
Level five is the highest level of intimacy. It is the level where we are known at the deepest core of who we are. Because of that, it is the level that requires the greatest amount of trust. If I can’t trust that you won’t reject me, I’ll never be able to share my deepest self with you. Unlike the other levels, there is no escape at this level. Once I let someone see who I really am, I can no longer convince them otherwise. Communicating at this level means we offer someone the most vulnerable part of ourselves. And the greatest fear is that they could use it against us later. When we share things like, “I’m hurt when you don’t call,” I need to feel respected by you,” or “I want to spend my life with you,” we’re sharing not only our hurts but our desires and needs as well. It’s also the level where we let others see our emotional reaction to things, which if you’re like me, isn’t always a pretty sight. Maybe that’s why we save those for the ones closest to us, like our families.
It’s important to understand that true intimacy in a relationship happens over time…not in a day, week or even a month. Think of your best friend…how long did it take before you felt at the highest level of intimacy with them, where you were able to trust them completely, or share your deepest self? It’s the same in romantic relationships…true intimacy develops over time. But another important element is needed for true intimacy…both people in the relationship need to move through the levels together. If I’m sharing at level four with someone (feelings and experiences) but my partner is sharing at level three (opinions and beliefs) we’re not experiencing true intimacy. I may feel closer because I’m sharing at a higher level, but in reality what we have is a false sense of intimacy. In truth, intimacy is measured by the person with the lower level of vulnerability.
Jewellery Fall/Winter 2014-15
What's Love Got to Do with It
This is an exhibition in Hayward Gallery in Southbank until Aug 31.There’s nothing quite like it to put a smile on your face and skip in your step. Coinciding with the Southbank’s Centre’s ‘Festival of Love’, the Hayward’s Project Space has gone all gooey-eyed with this group show about how we express love.
Intimacy is a journey of discovery in a relationship
Many couples start out their relationship sensing they have achieved a new dimension of intimacy which they have not experienced before. They are in love, it is exciting, and they cannot imagine a greater degree of intimacy.
Yet, as the years pass and couples go through some of the highs and lows in their relationship, they discover a series of deeper levels in their intimacy. Each discovery makes the relationship more rewarding and fulfilling.
How can I achieve a greater level of intimacy in my relationship?
Intimacy does not happen by magic. It must be built up over time. This takes some people longer than others. Often the harder you work at intimacy, the more valuable and rewarding it is. The following are some steps that may help.
- Be positive about what you have in your relationship and let your partner know what you value about him/her and about the relationship. Put it into words, don't assume they already know. Everybody likes to be told that they are appreciated and loved.
- Create opportunities for intimacy. Make times when you can be alone together in a situation where you can focus on each other and on your relationship. The harder it is to do this because of the children, work or other commitments, the more important it is that you do it! Try to plan a regular evening, day or weekend for the two of you to be alone.
- Practise making "I" statements about how you feel. This avoids putting your partner on the spot, and may help him or her do the same. For example "I feel hurt you didn't ask me before you decided" instead of "Why didn't you ask me first?"
- After an argument look at the deeper feeling behind the anger, hurt, anxiety, or your sense of being let down. Talk to your partner about these feelings and ask about their feelings.
Creative coupled rings
It started with a kiss : twenty years of Mexx,
The idea of extend in this design inspired me to develop my mask idea further to become a head piece.
Intimate Worlds: Exploring Sexuality through the Sir Henry Wellcome Collection
Shoes for bound feet
Rubber beauty masks
Plastinated body slice with frontal cut
We All Need Some Intimacy in Our Lives
There are 5 ways you can build your own intimacy so that, no matter where you are in life right now, your well-being can benefit:
- Open yourself up to new relationships. Intimacy involves a willingness to trust and confide in others. You cannot be truly intimate and fear showing your foibles to another person. You may not be able to jump headlong into every new friendship you form (and probably shouldn’t). However, if you have that willingness to share at a deep level with someone else, you’ll gradually be able to build that trust.
- Strengthen your own identity. Being sure of who you are provides you with a solid basis for relating closely to another person. Intimacy without identity creates its own set of problems in living. If you become so close to another person that you lose your sense of self, you’ll lose touch with what really matters to you. Keep your own priorities and principles strong, even as you allow someone else into your life.
- Don’t give up on intimacy. The people in our study didn’t necessarily remain with their same partners through life. Being high on intimacy may mean, to the contrary, that you don’t stay with your partner. If you really value intimacy, you may continue to search until you find the person whose desire for closeness matches yours. When that happens, the chances are that the relationship, and your sense of well-being, will flourish.
- Think of intimacy as a dynamic quality, not a trait. The way we measured intimacy specifically tapped the idea that it can change over time. We did not look at intimacy as an inherent, inborn part of personality. Intimacy is not the same as extraversion, but instead reflects the extent to which you value closeness in your life. Therefore, as your life changes so can your intimacy, and vice versa.
- Remember that intimacy is important. We tend to hear so much about “finding yourself,” especially as applied to young adults, that we forget about the importance of finding others. Being open to intimacy doesn’t mean that you’re weak, unable to fend for yourself, or pathologically dependent on someone else. Intimacy is an essential component of the healthy personality that you should cherish and foster.
It’s hard to imagine a life without relationships. With some effort and commitment, your life can include relationships that both allow you to express your true identity, grow and change, and ultimately reap the rewards of self-fulfillment.
My final outcome is from my unexpected discoveries. My concept is to cover up the intimate area – neck, as well as create a personal space. It also high-lights the eyes (which are attractive signal) and lips (which are very intimate area) to present my opinion that intimacy is personal and special. When I first arrived at the drawing of my design and went to workshop, I had to change the shape for balance but made it become too costume like. Based on my concept and design drawing but with an adjusted structure, it came out an abstract beautiful form. Although I tested a lot of different materials such as acrylic sheet, fabric, metal wires, plaster and so on in experiment. I decided to make the final model from silver wire and black leather. The choice of wire is from my pattern research of touching feeling – fingerprint. Leather represents the human skin. Black and silver are both cold colors that present the distance between people. The whole piece is to keep people away as anti-intimacy but left the gap of special intimate areas.
When I finish my final model, it is lucky to have our tutor, Tim to help us taking the photos for our final. I was looking for someone to be my model but Tim suggested me to be my own model because what I made is perfect to put on me. When I was working on the final, I made it following my face's structure so it is my size. So I agreed with Time to be my own model. It came out with some nice pictures.
When we are working on our final model, we also need to work on the publication at the same time. With tutor's help I came out an introduction for my project. It might be the introduction to present in the publication.
Intimacy is about how to get close to your partner, being able to let your guard down and feel comfortable in the relationship. In my project, my aim is to identify the importance of intimacy and why it is personal and special.
From my research, I learnt how people have intimate rituals and instincts -- what they do to show their feelings. I did some interview with people to talk about their understanding and feeling of intimacy. With discussion, I found that different personalities made everyone’s intimacy special.
With experiments, I tried to explore people’s feelings of intimacy. During my study, I found that intimacy is something very personal so it would only feel right with the right person. This is proved by one of my experiment --intimacy between strangers. I asked several classmates to help me do the experiment and allocated them in pairs by random. During the experiment, I asked them to do something usually couple would do, like hug, hold hands and kiss. And I recorded their reaction by film.
The final idea came from an unexpected discovery in my experiment when I was trying to create a jewellery piece with a special space for intimacy. I develop it to keep others away at the same time while I am exploring the possible shape of it.
My final design is a jewellery piece that creates a distance between people whilst also leaving a specific space to suggest intimacy, a gap that encourages touch. The finger-print represents the feeling of touching by the lover.
Based on Edward De Bono's thinking hats exercise, I have thought about what I want to achieve and what I have got in this project.
White hat: My final is going to be a 3D jewellery piece bases on face and head. It is made by metal wires which is an important element from my project research -- fingerprint and metal is a strong material to create and hold the shape I design. For my photography I want the model to have red lips on. Hopefully I can find a couple to be my models and ask them to kiss though my jewellery to show the concept of intimacy.
Red hat: I am really worried about my time arrangement about the project. We only got 6 workshop days to finish the model making and I am still not happy with my design so I keep changing my design during the process. I have done a lot of research but too many information become overdesigns. What I should do is selective in all the ideas and analyse a good idea and design rather than put everything onto the jewellery design. On the other hand, I am so happy to working on my own project. This is a project that I created on my own and I chose an topic that is interesting to me. With 6 weeks working on the topic – Intimacy, I do not get bored but still exciting to observe it further and deeper.
Black hat: My final idea development did not go very well. I did an experiment about people’s reaction about intimacy with strangers that is related to my starting point (the film—First Kiss). The awkwardness between two strangers doing intimate gestures proves that intimacy is something very personal and it only feels right with the right person. However, I analysed people would like hide their faces in the hands when they are embarrassing and tried to add it onto my final design. This idea is about people’s reaction with intimacy that is a little bit deviating from the core theme.
Yellow hat: I think I still achieve some goodness in my project. The topic is interesting which has so many possibilities to explore. And I got good comments about my drawing to show my idea and design clearly. And I am also happy with my model making technique. When I am in the workshop, I got the understand how the machine works quickly and get on it soon. What I am expecting to do for the final model is a really good quality piece of jewellery because I know I can do that.
Green hat: During my whole project, I keep experimenting different ideas and materials to find what I can achieve. I keep developing my idea but some ended up not very good or valuable to go further.
Blue hat: I do not think it can be easy to make the model because it is too complicate and there are a lot of details. It really needs a lot of time in and out of the workshop.There are only 6 days workshop before deadline and I still need to test on different materails to make sure which is good for my model.So I have to get a good time arrangement. I need to have a plan before the workshop opens and work effectively in the workshop.
For my final design, it was a little bit overdesign.I made a nice structure of the shoulder part which is good and bad as well. The shoulder part is to create the pesonal space to keep people away. But my main point is to show the intimate area -- mouth. But for now the shoulder part would catch too much attention which became a disturbtion.
In the illustration workshop with John,we have experimented about position samples on model and then illustrate it creatively in the abstrast way with mixed materials. It is totally different way to draw rather than I usually do but it is really helpful.
John asked us to draw quickly which can push us to get more design ideas in limited time. It is not about drawing perfectly. It is like brain-storming and observation from things we can see and explore it to be creative. Sometimes I would get stuck in finding ideas because I did not think out of the box. This illustration workshop really helps me to make a change. Explore the sample from different positions on body and observation drawing. I have tried to not being obsessive in perfection and let go. This abstract and creative drawings really made me explore more ideas to develop my design.
Final model testing
I had recorded my experiment-- 'intimacy between strangers' into my sketchbook. I asked several classmates to assist me and paired them at random. During the experiment, I asked them to do something a couple might do, like hug, hold hands and kiss. I recorded their reactions on film. It is also the most influential research in my project. By watching this short film time by time, I learnt the process of people getting intimate and their awkwardness afterwards made me think about why it is special and develop it further.
So far I have developed my project to agnist other people to be intimate to you but left a intimate space for the special one.
When I am reading some article about intimacy, I realized that what I have done so far is visualization of intimacy like people's reactiong,body communication and so on. However, intimacy is something mentally. It is more about trust in a relationship. Intimacy is about let down your guard and being yourself in front of someone else.
What should I think about now might be 'what makes someone special?'
Today I had a turtorial with Nicola which is really helpful to my project. Before the turtorial, I was happy with myself. I have developed to the final idea and all I need to consider about is how to make it. However, Nicola gave me a lot of questions to think about. My research is need to be more imaginative and unexpected. Even though it is the final design stage, do not stoping experiment and question myself about it. I think things too easily and not circularly. With Nicola's help, I think I need to evaluate my project with more consideration. What research can I do to push my research indeepth and let my work evolve and become stronger.
In the rest time of project, I need to continue on working for final ideas but still continue discover and explore more to develop it.
Part 3 Process Turtorial
I am happy that my mark for the process turtorial is low risk to pass the project.It confirms my working so far. I think I can pass the project and course because I have worked hard and achieve the tasks. However, what I want is not just passing the course but also try my best to explore the capility of myself.
I think my project is clearly presenting my work, process and train of thought going through. What I should do now is continue making and developing my project. Try more possiblities and be unexpected. At the same time, this is the 4th week for this project. By the end of this week, my request to myself is to achieve the final idea stage. I think my project can go successfully because I had a clear schedule at the beginning and pushing myself to follow it during the whole time. It is really important to manage your time and work on it. I was not very good at time arrangement before, by this experiment, I learnt the importance and skills to arrange my time and I am sure this would be very helpful in my further study life.
Reflection on process
In the intimacy project, I am in order to discover the communication of people in intimate behavior. I have found this project compelled me to analysis from my research and found inspiration by using my practical knowledge. Unlike the projects we did before, this one is more independent and we have more freedom in it. But it requires us to have higher studying skills and critical thinking.
From research, I learnt to select things that is useful. Because I am really interesting in this topic, I was so exciting to find many resources about intimacy at the beginning. But not everything I found interesting can be useful in the project so I should select and analysis my resources regularly. By analysising research, I found it is really helpful to understand my topic and discover the concept. I am clearer than before about how to process my project. I think what I did not do very good in research part is I did not come out my idea that relate to the research immidately. When I realize this pronblem, I have paid attention to get some ideas quickly once I have further research.
I really used the workshop days very well. I would plan about the experiment I might do in workshop in advance. And I have been in metal workshop, casting workshop and plastic workshop for this project already. What I found really challenging in the workshop is that sometimes the ideas is really difficult to make out. For example, I went to metal workshop to create a neck-shoulder piece but it is really difficult to make the arc and changing angles from the neck to the shoulder in hard materials. I discussed with the tutor and technican and they advised me to slightly change and develop my idea and they are willing to help me to finish the experiment. What I learnt is we need to use all the resources we can find and be flexible about idea development. If I was stubborn in my initial idea, I would not finish the experiment. And by working in process, I developed my idea to more interesting and related to my concept -- intimacy even better. I think it is really important to be open mind and accept the unexpected effect/ results in experiment. By evaluation, I can see if this unexpected result useful/successful or failed. In both ways, I can learn a lesson and develop my project better.
This week is about a idea development week. Based on the research and experiment I have done, I started have some idea sketch and development. But it did not go smoothly. I am not sure if I have done right on idea exploration so I went to have a talk with Georgia. She helped me to analysis my research and told me how should I do to find ideas.
How should I find ideas and record ideas?
Actually I made a mistake before until the talk with Georgia. I took too much care of my sketchbook. I consider too much about what should I put into the sketchbook. Actually, sketchbook should be the tool to help us recording our ideas, thinking and evaluation. It doesn't need to be perfect. So, recording ideas doesn't need to be detailed, beautiful drawings,what should it be is to write down what is in your mind and quick sketch to express it. And then, we pick up the good ideas to develop them and test the possiblities.
Finding a idea maybe about record your feeling and understanding of your research and experiment and what is in your mind. The possiblity and relation to your pathway are what we need to do in development.
Today is the workshop day and we were asked to experiment in workshop and made some model by 3:30. I have already done the plan of making models in workshop today. I want to make a sample about the jewellery piece that cover the intimate area but have the finger-print texture inside that is like being touched all the time. I told the technican about my idea and I want to make the waist piece as I drew in sketchbook but out turtor- Helment came to me and had a look on my sketchbook then discuss with me about my idea, we work out something more interesting. Helment advised me to make a piece of jewellery that cover my personal intimate area but leave a space as a finger size on my most intimate part that someone closed can touch me. Because my intimate area is the back of neck which I can take use of my hair that tie up to show out the gap of toching area or put down my hair to cover it when I dont want anybody to touch me. It become a very personal and interesting idea.
I did a intial sketch about a neck-shoulder piece.When I really experiment with the idea, I found it was really difficult to make the curves from neck to shoulder and from back to front neck. So I changed it into a neck piece which cover the whole neck and go down to chest. Even if I simify my design, it is still difficult to make the form that following people's body shape's change. It took me a lot of time to make the framework of the piece then I will finish it later when we can use workshop again on next week
What I learnt from today's task is sometimes some unexpected things in experience can turn out to be a good development of the project. We experiment with intial ideas and it always finds something new from it. Sometimes, it doesn't come out with a good effect so the experience failed but we learnt a lesson. Sometimes the unexpected effect is really exciting and interesting which can help us to develop the ideas.
I went to the Welcome Collection this morning for the exhibition 'An Idiosyncratic A to Z of the Human Condition'. It explores our idiosyncratic A to Z illustrated with a curious combination of Henry Wellcome’s weird and wonderful collection of objects, medical artefacts, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and some equally intriguing contemporary artworks. I do find some pieces of work might be useful in my project to discover human's body which relate to my theme 'Intimacy'.
In the afternoon, we were given a presentation about working on sketchbook and prepare to create a population by the end of the project. We have looked at a lot of past student's work and populations they did. They were so good that I really feel a lot of presure that I have to work hard and analysis my work with more consideration.
Today I did a primary research of interview people about their views of intimacy (ie, intimate areas, prefer intimate position,and jewellery that represent intimate relation). I am surprised that my classmates are all happy to help me to fill in the research, because these questions are quite private and they all treat it seriously rather than make jokes with it. I am glad that I have these great working partners. This research is really helpful because I found people personally have their different feeling, understanding and preference about intimacy. And I also have an idea about design some jewellery for people's intimate areas.
Today I had the turtorial with Tom, he pointed out that my bibliography should be typed in Harvard style and I need to rearrange my time plan because this week si supposed to be research week and next week would start ideas, as well as experiment and development. The more effective I have done, I can process quicker then leave more time to finish my final and make it better. We were given a form of framework which can be used to plan our research. I used it to plan different areas research I would like to do and experiment I can do from that.
Working on this project so far, what I have learnt mostly is planing. With planing, I think I push myself harder to catch up the time schedule and work more effectively.
Today is the deadline to hand in proposal. Because I already had the draft yesterday, and I did research to complete it last night, basicly I finished it early this morning. So I have more time to start my research advanced.
I think it is really good to have a schedule before starting working. Because I listed the bibliography, I know where to start my research. I went to library to refind the books I recorded yesterday then started to read them and recorded notes and photos of research. With these research, I can start working on my sketchbook on the weekend.
When I went to turtorial with Jo this morning, I have already done the draft of my proposal as Jo asked me to do yesterday. She said it was great because it would be clear and easy to understand what my concept is and what stage I am and what can I improve better. I agreed with her because I have the draft so Jo can help me to recorrect some grammar mistake in my proposal and help me to analysis more for my bibliograph list. After the turtorial, I went to library to start my research of bibliography. Because my theme is 'Intimacy' ,I research about body connection,connection,kiss,sexual and wedding rings, etc. I have arranged in different areas of research which is good, but I think I can research more specific in jewellery.
Today we have 2 workshop with Georgia and Katherine about how to write the proposal. By summarizing the project introduction and brain storm in different areas, I surprisely find out my topic has so many things to work on. And Katherine helped me to summarize my topic to be "Intimacy", a project that explores how jewellery can connect and encourage intimacy( personal intimacy, friendship intimacy and relationship). I would like discover the process of people from strange to get intimate.
There are a lot of jewellery is a symbol of intimacy like matching friendship's jewellery, couple jewellery or products and different types rings are also represent different meanings. I can also think about the connection between people and how the relationship got complex(eg, cheating or new born life).
Process of working in a project
Time plan for the project
Today we had the presentation of how to write our own proposal for unit 7. From the presentaion, I understand that the more specific my proposal and plan the project better, the more successful my project will go. In the afternoon, we have the group tutorial with Jo. At the beginning,I shared my two ideas of the final major project, one is "Under the muslim's veil" which would discover about the culture about Islam and the other one is "Reaction of intimate behavior" which I was inspired by a short film"First Kiss". Jo advised me to work on the muslim one at first because it has a lot of cultural research to do and I can do primary research by interviewing some muslim. But after chose the topic, I kept struggle myself is this muslim topic interesting me enough to work on it for 6 weeks. And the answer is no. So I have another conversation with Jo after the group turtoial. I told her the muslim one might be easy to do but I am more interesting in the intimate behavior one. She was so ethusiastic to help me analysis what my topic can do and develop in the project and guided me to do some research about body connection. It is really helpful that I decided to do something I am really interesting in and have a direction to start with now.
Today I had the assessment with tutor, and that meant I had finished my part 2 study in FAD+, and going to start my final major project.
I had discussed with Tom about my new project's theme. One is the muslim's culture. I had this idea after I went to V&A museum on my weekend. The other one is inspired a film called 'First Kiss'. Both of them are interesting and attractive to me so I still need to consider which one to be my concept.