There is a childrens book written by Marcia Brown called Stone Soup.
The concept of Stone Soup is to have everyone bring in items that they may have just lying around to contribute to this communal "Stone Soup". This is typically done in kindergarden classes to teach the children how to share but it can be applied to any situation like a introduction design class in college. My design 1 class at UC Davis had a stone soup day where we broke into groups of around 8 people and built a piece of art with random objects everyone brought. Using the concept of stone soup, where each person brought a piece of food to add to the stone soup we brought objects that we thought would be nice to make into an art piece.
My group started by putting the objects in a pile and having everyone start assembling together. We didn't really talk about a design but changed it as we went. This was a very different approach that other groups. When we started to put everything together it was a different design approach that I normally do but it was nice to try something new. After looking at everyones Stone Soups I wished we had talked and come up with a design first.
The design process of sketching and talking through the design is more my style than just doing. It was a good exercise and I learned a lot about the different styles of design. Something I observed when looking around at all of the stone soups was that each group didn't use every single object that they brought. In art and design negative space is very powerful and many people forget about this object. This art piece uses negative space well, where the designers thought about the piece and didn't fill every space.
By Sarah Smith
At the end of the class I was sad to see the art come down because it was a good demonstration of design and art using every day objects. I learned about designing with every day objects and materials and am now thinking differently about these when designing. This Stone Soup project has inspired me to start my own Stone Soup in my backyard to keep learning from this concept and experience.