Monday, 15 December 2008

New Project, New Probes

The new brief has been set by D&AD. We were given a choice of 3 - water, posh exploring and computers. Deciding that I want to improve my drawing and graphics, I picked the third, as I thought that I could do the most with.

The brief is to create something that enhance creativity at computer workstations made by HP.

So first of all, I have to do some research - books, the web, and of course, cultural probes!

This time around, I have made the research packs a lot sleeker - more professional, better materials etc. as to hopefully get better results.

Pics will be up soon!

Saturday, 29 November 2008


"Straight Up Chess has just the chess board to fit today’s life style… a wall mounted chess board. The chess board tiles become the back drop to the chess pieces sitting on narrow acrylic shelves. The decorative frame adds the finishing touch to this fine art for your home or office. The chess board is off the table, out of the closet, out of the way and beautifully displayed on the wall. Let the game begin!

There are no time clocks when you play on a Straight Up Chess Board. This is a casual game. As you pass by the Straight Up Chess board, you make your move, mark it with the “last move” marker and continue on your way. Later, your opponent passes by, makes their move and marks it as “last move”. And the game goes on."



I feel that I've not given enough attention to one of my modules, engineering design, as I am studying for a Bachelor of Science degree!

This year I've really enjoyed it - maybe it's because I'm seeing some physical results from the work that I'm doing, but anyway, here's some of the results!

This is a project using microcontrollers and c programming (a bit dated I know, but it's similar to the Arduino platform). We had to design and build an object that incorporated a light dependant resistor (LDR) and four light emitting diodes (LEDs) using C programming, printed circuit board (PCB) design software, Solidworks and a rapid prototyping machine.

This is the result: a picture frame that protects the vaulable painting within it from harmful light levels (as strong light can degrade the pictures' colour quality). As the light level increases, more warning lights turn on, indicating to the user that the picture should be moved.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

After the competition...

Yesterday, I competed the selfish self service competition run by NCR. I managed to get into the final 16 which I'm very proud of, but what I'm even more proud of is what kind of designer I am becoming.

The Design for Industry course won the main prize, but that was exactly what the competition was - designing a service for an industry. Although their students came up with good ideas, they were all very "safe" in terms of the brief. Our course on the other hand challenged the brief, and came up with some crazy ideas and pushed the boundaries of what a self service actually is.

This is where I believe design has to go - there is no point going round in circles designing boring run of the mill stuff, we need to move forward and by thinking outside of the box we can do this!

Introducing Frame

This is Frame, a result of nine weeks work. Don't let the simplicity fool you, it has a lot of potential in other areas such as public transport and the environment.

This project managed to get to the semi final in a competition run by NCR, so I'm very happy with it!

Back in action!

Sorry for not posting as regularly, it's been a busy couple of weeks, so I've got a lot of catching up to do!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Wireless Router Vase

A nice way of hiding technology. Well, when I say hiding, I mean making it a bit more human. Anyway it's a wireless router in a vase by company STC.

Saturday, 15 November 2008


A great way to learn programming through the program Processing. Here's the link.

100 to 1

After creating 100 ideas, I wittled down the list to 20 - broke that down into four categories; the home, control, truth and harm. I then selected my best one from each of the categories and showed them to Anab Jain and Bill Gaver, who then decided which one I should take forward as the final concept. The concept in question is in the previous post. The waiting is almost over!

The future is here!

Coming soon...

Thursday, 13 November 2008


Here's a project I did in second year for an industrial design module - A one station radio tuned into BBC Radio 3. The result is Sprout!, a radio designed for use outside when gardening. Just stick it in the ground, turn its head and away you go!

It's all falling apart!

Yesterday I had a seminar about dissertation topics, and in short it got torn apart! I'm being too vague with what I want to do, and now I'm starting to second guess myself. I'm going back to basics by researching the people how do electronics as a form of craft and trying to find a common factor and asking why that happens. Fingers crossed!

Bros Mind Studios

Some really nice illustrations from the Mingarro Brothers - especially the anatomical drawings. Big Fan!

Friday, 7 November 2008

Go Team Fundraising!

To help our year pay for new designers when we graduate, we're holding fundraising events throughout the next two years such as speed dating, sponsored climbs and t shirt drawing...
Watch this space for more information. We'll probably set up a dedicated blog so I'll post up the link soon!

Web design at its finest. Genius!

Change of plan

After attending the workshop in Mono on Wednesday, I have decided to change the topic for dissertation - how would the combination of electronics with craft affect the relationship between humans and products... still a working title!

I have came to realise that this topic is more suited to my subject and it will help me in my studio work, and plus I'll actually be able to research this one! What a nightmare it is trying to talk to ghosts!

Thursday, 30 October 2008


I've recently had a theory from watching You've Been Framed! that a lot of comedy comes from objects - either breaking or people using them the wrong way. I've thought about this and I'm wondering if a "breaking factor" should be included in the design of objects. Or even an ability to repair them very easily? Who knows... just a thought!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Anatomical Drawings of Japanese Movie Monsters

I love fictional anatomy! Click here for more.

100 Ideas

Last week, we were given a task of generating 100 ideas from the insights we took from our completed packs. The ideas can be as crazy as we like. So far I'm up to idea number 60 - not too bad considering some of my really dodgy ideas, such as one that involves killing cats!

I am really enjoying this part of the project as I get to empty my thoughts out onto paper and start being creative!

One of my inspirations for this has to be Wallace and Gromit! Genius!

Monday, 20 October 2008

I Love Glasstorm!

On Saturday I surprisingly received my first probe pack back! It was the one I sent to glass-blower Brodie Nairn at Glasstorm glass studio up in Tain (near Inverness), and it is pure gold! I am so grateful to him for completing it and am currently thinking about what to send him as a thank you.

Things are looking up! I also recommend looking at their project called "Lamppot" - my favourite piece of work from them.

You want flies with that?

A very nice exhibition by (graffiti) artist Banksy -
The Village Petstore and Charcoal Grill

Makes you think about the relationship between animals and the food they are ultimately made into for us. Lovely!


I think it is very ironic how I am exploring the world of craft and uniqueness when I am currently employed by possibly the most anti-individual company on earth - McDonalds!

Although they are very good at being efficient (and sometimes energy saving), I don't think humans are meant to be efficient. How boring would life be if all you did was go from A to B without a bit of banter, a laugh, even sadness? We're not robots! It's made me even more determined not to make mass produced objects.

And following on from a comment, if a craft is doing something over and over again, then I must be a master craftsman at making Big Macs! I think there's more to being a craftsman than meets the eye.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Faith and Beliefs

Following on from my dissertation topic, some of the topics I will research will be:

White noise/E.V.P (Electronic Voice Phenomena)
Tarot Cards

I will look into how people have changed their ways/channels of communication to spirits, God etc with the development of new technologies. Spooooooooky!

It's a sad day...

So far, after sending away seven probe packs to the participants, two have returned their packs uncompleted, one has said she will complete it on Saturday and I've had no word from the other four. Needless to say, my cultural probes have been a complete disaster... or has it?

Although I've had no real responses from the participants, I have noticed a common factor between them - it doesn't matter what discipline or country the craftsman is in, they all have no time! They are all too busy to do anything , but work. Could this be a driving factor for my project?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Say Whaaaat?

A nice project from the European Ceramic Workcentre -
"Ceramics and Sound"


Just coming out of a DHTP (Design History, Theory and Practice) lecture about choosing a dissertation topic, I think I have a few contenders:

The affect of popular culture on crafts
Mass manufacture v craft

But the topic that stood out to me was - The affect of design on spirituality and beliefs.

I've picked up a couple of books for researching this topic, but the most interesting one is
"Voodoo - Mounted by the Gods" by Alberto Venzag. I love it! It's scary yet intriguing.

Selfish Self Service

Yesterday, our class received our brief from global ATM (and other things) company NCR called "Selfish Self Service". This has to be the most open brief I have ever had - Design a self service for yourself! The best thing is since there are no restrictions, boundaries we can pretty much do whatever we like. For example, this is a picture for a sunglasses vending machine:

It's only been a day, but I was throwing some ideas around in the meeting yesterday and I think I will pursue a more intangible direction to this - such as well-being, spirituality, etc.

Although this is just a thought, I will have to carry out some research on myself regarding daily routines and such, and the insights I will get from my probe packs will also help - if I ever get them...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Design Studies

Not about digital craft, but a good general design blog from Jonathan Baldwin - a lecturer at the University of Dundee.


The things you can do with craft!

All quiet...

So far no responses as of yet from the probes. Getting a bit worried!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Inspirational Image

For our project with NCR, we have to bring in either an image or an object "that is based on what inspires, motivates or influences you". I am stuck at what to do, but one of the main contenders for the picture is from my previous project with Microsoft. I think it sums up what I want to do.

I want what I make to bring out the personal side of the induvidual, to be an experience for the person. I want it to be less about the product and use it more as a vehicle for content, such as memories. The things I want to make are unique to the person, crafting it to their personalities making it an extension of themselves. None of this mass produced stuff!

The Cloud

I found this over the summer while listening to a Core77 podcast on a UK design company called Troika. One of their projects was a kinetic sculpture for the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport named "Cloud".

I think the way they have incorporated old school flip dot technology with modern electronics is amazing! The result is a number of fluid like patterns that ripple over the sculpture. I love it! The best thing is, you don't even notice that it's all being controlled by a computer - it feels so organic and natural, even alive.

This definately has to be one of my inspirations for doing what I do.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

My cultural probes

The contents of one my cultural probes.

Just waiting to hear back from the first of my participants. Exciting stuff!

Knitting is not dead!

I feel bad for taking a picture of this because everyone on that bus probably thought I was a creep!

But I was amazed at this girl - in her early twenties on a bus at half seven on a Sunday morning... Knitting! I can hear the lawsuits already!

The Future of Craft

It's a bit late, but here is a link to the Past,Present & Future Craft Practice website. They had an exhibition of craft with Deviants in the Matthew Building.

The piece that stood out to me was a giant glove created by Freddie Robbins called: "Hand of Good, Hand of God". The quality of the machine knitting was incredible.

Monday, 6 October 2008


Here's some other drawings I did over the summer. Paddy and I found an amazing Japanese bookshop in Vancouver and bought some comic books. Although we couldn't read what the characters were saying, the pictures said more than enough. The strange thing we noticed in the bookshop was the layout - boys on the left, girls on the right.

Sunday, 5 October 2008


I found this the other day and I love it!
I personally recommend Worm Songs - it takes my breath away!

Cultural Probes

For our product design module at uni, we have to carry out research. But we have learned a new approach to gathering information from random people - cultural probes.
These probes allow you to ask more personal questions but not in an obtrusive way.

My probes are focused at local craftsmen, women and electronic engineers to see if there are any similarities/difference between them. The packs contain:

a disposable camera
a rule sheet
a recipe book
4 postcards

I am sending these probes away tomorrow, so hopefully by next week I will have some results!

Pink Anatomy

Here are some drawings I did over the summer when learning some anatomy. Hope you like them!

The origins of my interest

The subject of "Digital Craft" started last semester while participating in a competition set by Microsoft. I wont go into much detail about it as our team created a website for it -

This project helped me realises the route I wanted to take with my studies and hopefully my future career. Here's hoping!

Monday, 29 September 2008


Pottery, glass blowing, woodwork and knitting - these are all different types of craft, which have been around for hundreds (even thousands) of years. But what happens when you add into the mix electronics - a recent creation of man, linked with all things industrial and mass manufactured? The result is what I want to find out.

My aim is to study and create unique digital products by combining traditional methods of manufacturing with the modernity of electronics. By crafting the digital aspect of the object along with the physical, the result will be a unique solution for an equally unique problem.