Don't forget your roots, my friend, yeah
Don't forget your family, yeah
Don't forget your roots, my friend, yeah
Whoa, yeah
So Johnny was a good man
Armed with the power of his homeland
And with his boots laced tight and a ticket in his hand
Never to return home again
So he lost what he knows and what all is right
For a broken world and a world of lies
But the days were numbered, relationships suffered
He lost the faith of all those who mattered so
Don't forget your roots, my friend
Don't forget your family, yeah
Don't forget your roots, my friend
Don't Forget Your Roots" a 2011 song by Six60, a reggae-rock band from New Zealand
My Nainai would take walks with me and pick honeysuckle flowers for me to put in my mouth or to dry and make them into a tea for its ability to quell the 'fire' within me and restore balance.
My Baba's teeth would be a gross colour from the tabacco he smoked. I would recoil from him because I thought he looked terrifying.
Baba would work with a lot of wood, having learned carpentry before I was born. The garage would have a lot of it, and the house had a lot of his cabinet and chairs from that time in his life.
Apple trees dotted this property. I can still imagine the morning light hitting the dew from these trees as I would trundle along, picking at the grass and nibbling at the wild strawberries.

Me and my Mama love the smell of gardenia. The Pacific Islander community would sew live gardenia flowers into crowns and parade them into the store. Mama would spend some of her time drawing gardenia flowers onto white fabric for her customers who would embroider these designs. There was a cheap $2 fragrance that my mum would sell that was really good actually. But not as good as the fresh flowers that we'd eventually plant at our Parnell residence.
The Pacific Islander community would always smell of coconut. Their hair, their food, their entire being, would be blessed and drenched in the products of this giant seed. All of the sweet treats that we picked up from this community would be cassava or arrowroot stewed in sweetened coconut cream. Me and my mum love the flavour of coconut.
Across the street from the store, and turning right, I'd be able to get 12 deep fried banana fritters, these tennis ball sized banana bread fried batter things that would stain the brown bag clear and leave me beaming. I'd first really gotten into them from this caravan at the Avondale Markets, after the part where we'd be able to find amazing clothing.
Scented Vaseline, close to my lips, close to my mother's hands, would soothe the chapping that we'd induce upon ourselves due to our own obsessions. My own for the smoothness of my lips, My mother's for her determination to work to provide for the family.

My favourite treat from the dairy would be the Tip Top Vanilla ice cream tub with the little wooden paddle spoon. This would be my favourite part of the sausage sizzle fundraisers at Mellons Bay Primary.
Our property was lined with dozens of Feijoa trees, which would completely shed all of their fruit for us to pick and gorge ourselves on in the Autumns.
Laolao would steep white tea in her Communist-era ceramic mug until it had no flavour over the day - I would get the last steep every night.
My mum would stop on the sides of roads to pick some wild fennel to chop up and put in dumplings.

Coffee breaks would be a common thing around Parnell, where I'd relish at the thick creaminess of a flat white in my free periods.
My stress treat was for sure an AUT cafe ginger slice for those nights I'd work until 11 on standardised testing.
This was an academic time - saturated with books and paper.
I met Hope, who bought me apple cider after school at the Countdown in 277, and before the Fat Freddy's Drop concert at the Auckland Zoo. Remember, lads and lasses, that scrumpy is devious and you should and should not have it.
My memories are fallible. 
A lot of my values are rooted in the memories, the land, the food, and the atmosphere shared with myself and people who influence me. As I depart from my childhood to adulthood, I feel a sense that I'm departing a very fragile and precious time of my life, and putting it behind me as I face the present and prepare for the future. 
I recall not crying the first time I entered those gates with my carry-on. I left my parents, my city, my friends, and my country behind. I spent a lot of time in my life wishing I could escape my country - a small place associated with sheep, rugby, and greenery, and not a lot going on. I had no reservations. I had a sandstone seat of knowledge, more progressive people, and a life free from the restrictions of home awaiting me. My future was infinite.
A year happened. A whole lot of memories were made. Tears cried, euphoria shared, fountains hopped, kisses planted, nights ground deep in assignments, sunrises caught and dedication filling cup after cup of coffee.
Suddenly, after landing back through the long white clouds, I was back home. Back in the same damp greenery, thick with the sap and smells of flax, grass and mangroves. Back with the tint of the streetlights which illuminated so many of my solitary walks.
I noticed how precious the place I'm from was as I climbed up Mount Hobson amidst the dark clouds, a dormant volcanic cone near my house, to meet Skuddy there the night I was back. We shielded ourselves from the wind in a kumara pit to light a smoke. We hobbled down the timber framed walk down, weaving a jumbled tapestry of banter. As I was ferrying back with Ruby and sighting this long tapered sea creature, a shield volcano named Rangitoto, stretch its humped back to break the surface of a silver sea. As I put down a cardboard box of artificial flowers down outside Mama's shop in Otahuhu. As I sat outside Revel with Phodiso to drink some tea and flat whites with him. As I sat in the Hardware Meetup at the Grid in Wynyard Quarter and listened to Hanna share her wisdom. As I picked gaicai with Mama in the Avondale Markets and sighted the same dog in the basket trolley dragged along on the wet muddy ground from a year ago. As I sighted the deep green, dense bush that was the Henderson Ranges outside of a wooden framed window. As I sat with a table full of dim sum and across from my Mama and Baba. As I was turned away from some creeps in the Kong nightclub by Teresa. As I visited Pah Homestead with Renee out of spite of not getting the hot chips we wanted a decade earlier. As I practiced calligraphy with Baba. As I walked through the University of Auckland art studios with Waikohu. As I stroked the exterior of some durian with Amber. As I discussed feminism with Te Wai at Jamie's flat party. As I talked shit with EJ. As I discussed GMO's with Charlotte on a bus from Mt Eden. As I revisited the old studio and said thank you to Stracho, my old art teacher. As I explored some independent craft markets with Bliss and Simon. As I shared some prosecco with Jack over checkered tablecloth, whose hugs I miss.
I cried the time I left again. Held in my mother's nape, embraced by my father's torso. I passed back, lugging myself through the bent metal gate, padding through the burgundy carpet, into uncertainty. I never have faith that I can find my way through airports since they're poorly designed. How could I have faith that I could face life?
Will I forget my roots? Those which give me strength and confidence to carry myself into the future? I see myself losing touch of where I'm from in the way the vowels round themselves through new corners, how I say things more characteristic of Kiwi-isms than I used to, and being uncertain in how I used to say things. How red squiggly lines underline the way I spell things. How I'm unable to get used to Fahrenheit. How I'm not used to calculating in fractions of inches. I guess that's the most obvious tie I have to home - the jarring nature and jabs of adapting to here.
This project is an exercise in mapping my memories and providing myself with the tools to ground myself if I feel disoriented.
Finalise design, figure out the topography and apply it to the part. Create a drawing with accurate dimensioning, and print things out. Create CAD models of the cast parts.
Purchase materials.
Start with a wooden block, cut it down to size. Get trained up on the shopbot. Clamp it down, and use it create a wooden model of Auckland City. Finish the carving of small details, and maybe underwater details. Cut up the carved piece into four. Create draft angle sides to each of the four blocks. Create gates and runners in the woodshop. Attach to a pattern board and create fillets. Get everything looked at and approved by a TA.
Practice ramming up and seeing if this creates a clean pull. If so, go ahead and prepare for pouring. *(Ask when this happens - at which frequency)
Finish the outside with a mill and mill the right diameter holes for the two press fit pieces. File the edges intermittently, and keep them in a box.
Mill or drill the right diameter holes for the the press fit wooden dowel.
Press fit cylinder A (wooden dowel and o-ring wall):
Start with the right diameter rod. Face the end. Turn the ledged wall, and then drill the hole needed for the wooden dowel. Part, then repeat.
Press fit cylinder B (internal threads):
Start with the right tubing. Turn the external diameter with a lathe. Turn the internal diameter with a boring bar on the lathe. Create internal threading *(HOW???). Chamfer and part off to a bit more than the right length. Face the end of the next length on the lathe. Repeat four times. Mill to the right length and an even finish on the ends.
Press fit this in to each individual cap.
Put the rubber o-ring into the cap.
Start with a 3" diameter rod. Use an end mill to face the ends, and to drill a certain depth into the rod from the flat end. Turn the bottle neck on the lathe to 7/8 inch diameter. Create a relief groove and a chamfer. Use a die to thread the bottle neck. Close the metal cap onto the polycarbonate bottle and mark out where the sides of the cap lie where the bottle closes when oil  is put in there and see where to turn the bottle cap comfortably and still create a seal. 
Repeat 3 more times to create a series of 4.
Finish and sand down. Buff where you can carefully so as to not melt the polycarbonate.
Start with some kauri and cut them down to size as long oblongs. Put them through the dowel plate. Coat them in the right finish to create an oil-proof coat, wait for them to cure, and then use epoxy resin to secure them in the caps.
Purchase perfume oils soon and mix them in various measures to get them just right and not gross.

Why you should be following me on Instagram on @k.euanyang for this quality content!

I started with a belief in my ability to creatively execute, and a willingness to spend most of my hours in the PRL. I’d been so affirmed just by being a sophomore being allowed into this class - what an honour! I’d turned up an hour early last time to get the 2nd sheet and wrote a very long-winded and sentimental thing about how much making meant to me last time. I came in this time to get the 1st sheet and wrote some very pragmatic reasons for how it was crucial I take the class now this time, and I realised that it wasn’t enough for me to give a shit - I had to really convince others.
I was excited to get started. I’d intentionally structured my quarter to be as chill as possible besides this class, with an independent study class with Bill Scott, a yoga class, Chinese, and coleading a club for its first quarter.
I would get seriously humbled by this class though. I’d be enjoyably spending as much time as I could in the PRL, and was consistently happy to be caught with my safety glasses on my head outside of the PRL.
I’d had so much fun writing the autobiography, and was so taken by the task that I wrote a couple thousand words beyond the expected amount. I have a habit of writing often so this was no biggie for me. In doing so, I recalled so much of what was precious to me in my life, having spent all of it in Auckland, New Zealand.
In a train ride in SF a quarter ago, I’d drawn several perfume bottle designs in my tiny A6 sketchbook. I particularly liked the ones that had geodes as tops, or had landscapes as tops. I wrote down various smells I liked and felt incredibly nostalgiac about in duos, and kept referring back to these drawings for inspiration. Little did I know that this idea would persist as if I had no choice but to make these bottles in this class.
So in sketching my initial ideas, I really went for it. I sketched out a lot of ideas for the sake for filling the page, but the one I really developed in presentation was the Auckland topography sketch. I knew that I had to pursue this one as I was already obsessed.
I was zealously excited about the structured labs. 
Mark taught me how to turn on the lathe. I was initially really frightened by the prospect of engaging on the half nut to cut threads, and was freaked out by reading distance on the dials.
Pajnucci taught me how to channel my anger into hitting the butt to pack sand. Misogyny was on my mind that day and Pajnucci told me to shout out something that made me angry.
“The fact that Trump is a sex offender!”
“HE. IS. SUCH. AN. ASSHOLE!”, she shouted while bringing the butt down. Classic. 
Loren taught me how to use the mill. When he took out the Dykem and said, “Now it’s time for this really good smelling stuff,” I lost it.
Marshall taught me how to bend sheet metal and oxy weld, which is incredibly fun and feels like a superpower.
Coming into the PRL became a ritual for me, and it was a crazy feeling to become reconnected to what I think I do best - transferring will to action. I felt like an artist again after being disconnected from this at Stanford for so long.
Coming in early to finish lathe turning for the magnifying glass was supremely useful, and gave me a lot of time to do things at a leisurely pace with less congestion in the PRL. Finishing the plaque early felt really good, and I took a lot of pictures for my Instagram because of course this was something I was super proud of. A shiny ting. 
Unfortunately I suffered my first big loss - my plaque was missing. I learned to not take the loss too seriously as there was nothing I could do so I just emailed who I could and I sent in the pictures I took.
My biggest loss though was losing my sketchbook, laptop and prototype, all in one fell swoop theft of my backpack, which was really upsetting, as I'd put in so much effort into the sketchbook.
Showing up became a really good practice, and the change in context was just very good in helping engage me in the thinking through I needed. I learned to solicit advice from the TA’s as often as I could and I found that leaving my ego at the door was super useful. I was able to become friends with several of the TA’s and it was cool to get to know them.
Switching to texting Chase instead of emailing was also a great move. I found that he was super prompt in his responses, and very in depth. It was very useful, and his grace and lenience really saved me from feeling anxious throughout the project. If you’re reading this, Chase, you are the man and you are the shit! Keep on creating and don’t sell out dude!
(As I type, I feel like a tiny animal is about to jump out of my shoulder as there’s like this creature-like bulbous bulging feeling from overexerting my shoulder from sanding.)
Time behaves differently around ME203. Since there were three distinct PRL sessions in the day, I knew that there were chunks of time that I had to abide by. I got more sleep out of the need to stay alert and not hurt myself or my projects.
I recall that all of my big fuckups were when I’d not slept as much as I could have.
There were two occasions where I’d been drilling holes on autofeed in round stocks of polycarb and had been so engrossed in the act of counting in viewing the little needle make revolutions around the dial, and had not stopped at the point I’d needed to stop, and let the boring bar or drill go in 150 or so thou more than I’d predefined. The only sign for me to stop was being startled by the sound of the bit shuddering after biting more than it could chew. Obviously, I was horrified both times, and I was especially horrified after the second time when I was convinced, on my final piece, that I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. 
I told a TA that I got into a meditative state while counting. (Another reaffirmation that creating is my form of meditation and therapy.)
There was an occasion where I’d completely forgotten to secure my final cast piece in the four jaw chuck and had turned on the lathe, and the freaking piece got flung - some chunks chipped off and I had to just deal with it. I asked various people including Matthew, Tita, Ash and Chase about their opinion on the fuckup - I was thinking, maybe I should fuck the other ones up? Should I imbue this little mistake with a narrative explanation that I’d created magma pockets in reference to the volcanic nature of Auckland?
I was told ultimately to not fuck the other ones up so I just carried on as though it didn’t happen. Ultimately that was the better decision because I had no time to recast my part since ramming up usually took one or two sessions to do completely. I also didn’t want to make the chunking off obvious and practicing scarring up a test aluminium block would have been a lot to do. 
I think staying ambitious and focussed on my goals was really empowering, and this class did an amazing time of creating intentionality, especially in the writing exercises. Being able to spend time in thinking things through more, making plans and setting expectations made this class really smooth as the game plan was set. I should really look more into ways and questions to learn again. I should create a game plan with my teachers and TA’s to become more intentional in every class I take now, and set deadlines for taking more initiative and checking in. Gotta reinstate the arbitrary deadlines. I wish I had as dedicated TA’s as Chase.
I had some major complications and have gotten less and less sane with regards with using vernier calipers through my steel press fits. I’d bored press fit holes with the lathe before but found that each time had at times nonsensical results, but they all required a lot of force. Three to four people’s worth. I guess the lesson to take away there is that sometimes there are just no measurable factors that lead to variance.
I realised that I need a lot of emotional support as a human being - For the tasks where I’d needed to thread using a die or where I’d needed to tap into a steel pipe, I asked people like Loren who’d be there to help me start the thread so as to not get a crooked thread on the way down. I think that if I had more money to have the privilege of prototyping and going through a tonne of material in a reckless manner, then I would and I would have artefacts. Then I would develop the confidence to not need as much support - I would get away with more, and know that there would be a backup. I think I just reached a very real thesis of the nature of equity for disadvantaged people.
I learned that polycarbonate is really freaking tough to sand. I spent one and a half days sanding the polycarbonate alone. I developed some pretty severe shoulder pain as I’d been sanding in the same figure 8 for two days prior for the aluminium.
In writing this, the night before I had only taken a couple of 30 minute naps in order to power through the sanding and re-making the last dowel which must have fallen out of my bag. I’d been using a wood carving knife and a broken small fine file, kind of like a metal nail file, to cut a new dowel which took more than an hour, when a vertical bandsaw was going to be 5 seconds max. I simultaneously wished that I’d made more manuka wood blanks and I don’t. I think the limit of having so little material makes you more scrappy. 
Anyway. By the time I made it just to Meet the Makers having rushed through making the presentation document, and having swiped all of my fragrance bottles and power walked to the to hastily mix all of my perfume on the table.
I think there are a lot of design considerations that I could have gotten deeper into to ensure that my perfume oil wouldn’t drip.
After two presentations around the table with Camille, I’d noticed that my pieces had leaked a giant pool. I was really shocked - the polycarb had reacted to the oil that I’d filled it with and had broken. Either that or because I didn’t measure before, I maybe overfilled the oil cavity and tightening down on the threads created so much internal pressure that the walls, even being as tough as polycarbonate, cracked.
Maybe that was the case.
I feel remorse, as polycarbonate, I know is not so reactive to a lot of things.
I was so far gone in my mind that I don’t recall being so, so, sad about this. It was just a thing that happens. Like the time my plaque got stolen. Like the time my dumb ass didn’t tighten each of the jaws on the chuck. Like the times I drilled in too deep for my stuff. Like the time my bag and my laptop and workbook and various dimensions and plans in that book disappeared.
That's life and I have to move forward.
I really loved a lot of the pieces of the other students - especially the projects of the people I’d been invested in. It was cool to get into the community.
I feel like I’ve built self-efficacy, like the jumping Dave Beach had said. (Dave has become one of my favourite humans and I must make an effort to visit him at least a couple times a quarter).
K. Euan Yang
Back to Top