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Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve SNR

thermo-chromic mug

Independent Project

2019.4

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Inspiration: the California poppies were originally deep orange, but changed to bright yellow as time progresses and as heat takes over.

As a volunteer docent at Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, I observed the color change of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica). They were deep orange in spring, but changed to bright yellow as time progresses and as heat takes over. I designed this mug with ThermoChromic pigments (which go through chemical reactions to re-equilibrate the thermodynamics when temperature changes) to symbolize the natural life cycle of the poppies. The flowers and seed pods on the mug are orange under room temperature, but will gradually become yellow after hot water or coffee (above 30°C) is poured in. This is very similar to how the poppies respond to heat. I was aware that tons of people stepped into the flowers to take pictures, stomping and ravaging them, so I would like to raise awareness of the normal life cycle of this beautiful flower.

thermochromic paint

Through our discussions and experimentation, we realized that light seems to always permeate and illuminate over an area that is hardly ever defined. It spreads out indefinitely and disappears. But what if we actually set a boundary? What if we were able to control its inherent nature? The shape of the globe acts as a type of magnifying glass which focuses light onto the ground, creating a controlled splash of light. The use of water creates an illusion that plate of light is washed on the floor. We then placed controlled drips inside the globe and when activated, it physically changes the way we perceive light coming out of it, creating a rippling effect, giving motion and fluidity to the straight and stagnant light that we often take for granted. Hence, it creates an effect and ambience which is seldom seen in interior light sources.

current status

After submitting a proposal to PRMDIA (Poppy Reserve / Mojave Desert Interpretive Association) gift shop committee, I was given permission to mass-produce the mug for sale in the gift store of the state park during the next flowering season. All profits will go to PRMDIA to sponsor research and preservation of California poppies, and improve tourist experience in the state park.

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