Category: finished object

made by hand

made by hand | cardiff city hall | 2014

fab seeing my work out in public again. and i think the juxtaposition of ceramics and maker pieces really works. our booth is right next to one of the making spaces that will be used for workshops throughout the event so hopefully a high footfall.

ingrid said it was an intriguing object to have at the front of the stand which i’m taking as high praise ūüôā

crystal radio at made by hand

getting the piece finished in time for the show was a pretty steep learning curve. we managed to realise about 80% of what i was aiming for, which isn’t bad going at all. the plan was to have motion sensors on each side that would trigger one of 4 different audio tracks to play (each a world band radio recording) and we achieved that, with the nice added detail that we have a short “retuning” track that plays inbetween the “station” changes.

our downfall was power supply issues. jon had warned that this was likely to be the case, and suggested a mains input running through the plinth might be the most effective solution. but i was really keen to make the piece wireless so to this end the arduino, sound card and sensors are driven from a 4xD battery pack, while the speaker/amp is rechargeable. i managed to allow the power to run down overnight, so for th opening morning the piece is plugged in to charge, and those pesky power lines are still causing me consternation ūüėÄ

radio insides

what i am happy with is the decision to keep the underlying electronics visible beneath the radio cityscape. in one way they have their own beauty – and this could be refined in future by swapping out components for more aesthetically minimal alternatives. but mainly i love that you can see the messy heart of the piece, in the way that a city has a whole world of cables and sewers and tunnels below that keep it functioning.


final submission

i had palpitations when i went into the studio early in the week and saw how much effort everyone was taking to arrange their spaces, final show style. it hadn’t occurred to me that we should be doing anything along those lines. i was still at the making stage, just hoping to have finished work¬†to present and i decided it was a better use of my remaining time to keep working in that direction.

i did make an effort to present my work gallery-style, with mounted statements, separately from the background material/samples. the layout isn’t quite how i envisaged but i hope it encourages the viewer to investigate the work without being overwhelmed by the additional supporting content. the biggest thing bugging me about it is the ugly, ugly black speaker cable running to the radio. on reflection i wish i’d investigated wireless audio setups, but as i had to keep the ipod external¬†for switching on and off it would never be perfect in that respect.

i also attempted to lay out the background work in relation to the final pieces – here you see the radio research behind the work. i wasn’t sure whether it was okay to use a poem (not mine) as my statement for this piece, but it was written by a friend as a response to my initial ideas, a loose kind of collaboration, and it explains the piece much better than i could.

i wanted to present my ideas sheets next to the medal because this is my least complete work and i feel it needs the additional background information to convey the intent of the piece (whereas i feel the intent is visible in the work for my¬†raw & readymade projects, which pleases me immensely). i decided to present the book with the box lid open for the assessment as i didn’t want any confusion over whether the book was supposed to be read or merely looked at.

i decided to go for “less is more” in the way of supporting work, hoping to keep a clean/clear presentation. my sketchbook is particularly bare/poor for the first term raw & readymade brief because i really hadn’t figured how to make the format work for me – i rarely enjoy drawing and the blank page intimidates me. over the year i developed a practice of starting each project with a new, thin, book and using it as a combined sketchbook, journal and sample book. this scrap-book approach is one i’ll continue with as once i’d figured it out it worked really well for me in my field projects.

crystal radio

chuffed with this tbf ūüôā

there hasn’t been much in the way of project development since my formative assessment – all my efforts have been going into getting the thing made. little did i imagine how much time it would take in illustrator and on the cutter to turn out a case that matched the one in my imagination. this is pretty close.

i had hoped to include a more responsive audio element to the work – that by moving around the piece viewers could “tune in” to different voices/languages. but given the amount of time i devoted to the case , and my lack of experience with electronics and no time to learn, i had to have a plan b, which is to use a simple ipod/speaker set up in the base. it turns out that the easiest way by far to get a radio shaped object to play sounds is not to take it apart in the first place. who knew?

i’m pretty¬†happy with the cityscape itself. i had to edit potential elements to fit the small case size, and¬†i wanted to¬†leave space around the buildings to enable viewing¬†from different angles and to see the beautiful circuit boards underneath. so it’s rather on the minimalist side, but i’m happy with the soviet-bloc/retro-futurist vibe.

the best bit by far is obviously the trees ūüėÄ they really bring the model to life. i’ve had a positive response to the piece so far, hopefully tonight i can tweak the oh-so-wonky tower and add my little people.


zoe’s book

i volunteered to bind a book for¬†friend’s final year textiles (maker) show. it was a real¬†collaboration in terms of design, layout and choice of materials and i’m pleased with the¬†quality of the finished book, hopefully up to degree show standard.

decorative japanese stab binding | book cloth, linen thread, boards.

this is the first time i’ve used book cloth and boards and also my first japanese stab binding (a technique that more usually employs soft covers). zoe chose¬†the geometric binding pattern to reflect the art deco influences in her final piece, and the grey/red colour scheme to echo her work. it¬†isn’t an original design (source)¬†but i worked¬†out the stitch pattern¬†myself, which is the same front and back with no doubled threads.

endpapers are textured to reflect the text block which is alternate translucent and textured pages. in a twist on the traditional use of glassine interleaves the images and text are printed onto the translucent sheets, with the opaque paper acting as interleaves, reducing show-through from underneath.

this is my first commissioned binding project and i can see potential in¬†doing more. i should really have¬†documented how long each stage took in order to¬†establish¬†a suitable rate for this kind of work. it’s also inspired me to consider producing a series¬†of blank books in the same style for sale, something i might explore over the summer.