Monday, 9 November 2009

Cybraphon wins Scottish Bafta for Interactive Category

Last night I was lucky enough to attend the Scottish Baftas in the Glasgow at the Science Centre. It was a star studded event and while the company Dynamo Games whom I was a guest of did not win their category I was very proud to say that all three nominations for the games category came from Dundee based companies. As I live and work in the fair city this type of exposure goes along way to raise the profile of creatives in the area. So well done to all who were nominated and to the winner Proper Games for their game Flock:)

Another award winner (for the Interactive category this time) was Cybraphon an artificial band with a huge ego created by Ziggy Campbell, Simon Kirby and Tommy Perman of FOUND. Found say that Cybraphon was...

"Inspired by early 19th century mechanical bands such as the nickelodeon, Cybraphon is an interactive version of a mechanical band in a box. Consisting of a series of robotic instruments housed in a large display case, Cybraphon behaves like a real band. Image conscious and emotional, the band’s performance is affected by online community opinion as it searches the web for reviews and comments about itself 24 hours a day."

I had seen this marvelous intelligent junk box Cybraphon in action a few months back in Edinburgh at Inspace Gallery (Inspace, Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB).

Take a look at the video below to see Cybraphon in action. I hope this post pleases him as the more web chatter he receives the happier he becomes and the more upbeat tunes he will play. (when I saw him he wasn't happy with the level of disscussion going on about him so the music was really sad - Cheer up Cybraphon, your an award winner now!!).


Cybraphon is funded by the Alt-w Production Award administered by New Media Scotland

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Conductive inks

Bare have developed conductive inks that can be painted directly onto the skin... the possibilities for this type of
technology are endless and has gotten me rather excited!! Below is what Bare have to say about this innovative product
and have a look at the youtube video of the ink in action. Just amazing!!

"Bare is a conductive ink that is applied directly onto the skin allowing the creation of custom electronic circuitry. This innovative material allows users to interact with electronics through gesture, movement, and touch. Bare can be applied with a brush, stamp or spray and is non-toxic and temporary. Application areas include dance, music, computer interfaces, communication and medical devices. Bare is an intuitive and non-invasive technology which will allow users to bridge the gap between electronics and the body"

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

How much do you miss me...?

Ever wondered how to tell someone you are missing them without picking up the phone or dropping them an email...? Well Jia Yi Lin's Measure how much I miss you zipper communicators are a beautiful concept to show a loved one that you are missing them without actually having to put that into words.


They come as a set, keep one for yourself and give one to a loved one. Clip them to your bag or put them in your pocket, then when you feel the urge to tell them you miss them unzip the zip and by this action your communicator will trigger their communicator and it will vibrate, light up or even play a song. So much more personal than a text message.

Take a peek at the YouTube Video below and all will become crystal clear...

Sunlight Table


Rachel Hevicon's work has just come to my attention, it is wonderful. I especially like her Sunlight table. The surface of which is coated with a UV reactive material so when her leafy placemats (or anything you fancy for that matter) are placed on the table then moved, beautiful silhouettes are revealed underneath. Due to the nature of the UV reactive surface the 'print' that appears only lasts for a few fleeting moments then disappears. I think this is a wonderfully interactive table that I would love to sit at and enjoy afternoon tea at in the balmy summer afternoons. Rachel states that the table also helps people to be aware of the dangers of UVA and UVB rays found in sunlight due to the effects the sunlight has on the tabletop (changing it from white to blue where the sunlight hits)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Wireless charger... Powermat

After watching the Gadget Show last night which among other things featured this product from Powermat... it is a wireless charger. A small block which can charge/power any piece of technology as long as the Powermat technology (receivers) are embedded within whatever you wish to charge, like your phone, ipod, laptop or even as the creators claim a food blender...

See the video below for more information on how this innovative product works. I love it as I have a tangle of wires at home all from various phone, laptop, ipod chargers etc which could become a thing of the past. I'm all for reducing (un-necessary) objects cluttering up our houses, offices and ultimately landfill sites.


and here is an advert from Powermat...

Monday, 5 October 2009

At last a reason to go out in the rain...



Lazybone.co.uk have for sale an umbrella that changes colour when it rains. The pattern on the umbrella (a cloud design) is white then when drops of rain start to hit them they turn into brightly coloured rainbow patterns. The umbrellas are printed using Hydrochromic ink, this special ink is colourless when dry but transforms into wonderful colours when wet. When the rain stops pouring and the umbrella dries the print will once again become invisible. Think its time to start designing raincoats!!:)

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Aurora - Second Skin by Lighting by Kyeok Kim




These beautiful pieces by Kyeok Kim create wondrous meandering patternings on the skin with light. Temporary Tattoos without the pain...



To operate the decorative light, one must gently move the ring (containing a magnet) towards the main jewellery piece.



Changing the face of fashion...


...well of a t-shirt anyway. Upon starting my masters course a year ago (which I have recently finished - you can see some of my new pieces here), I thought wouldnt it be wonderful if your clothing's patterning could change and alter over the course of a day... my research lead me down many paths and away from optical elusions, but now my thirst for this type of patterning change has been quenched by Sun NÂș01 which is a limited-edition graphic T printed with a mix of ordinary and smart, uv-sensitive inks. (A collaboration between Moondial and Viennese fashion label Wendy & Jim)

See the video below to view the colour change from normal light to UV Light levels...


Find more videos like this on Fashioning Technology


Launched at the Ars Electronica Festival earlier this month, the shirt is now available internationally for €80 from the Moondial site.

A visual display of breath



Pneuma


Artists statement:

"We all breathe – this vital process happens automatically, without thinking. However, often we are not aware of the correct way of doing this. This project searches to encourage the user of the dress to breathe deeply and thoroughly, and to communicate this automatic and inevitable procedure of living to the surroundings. The idea is transformed into a product through designing an evening gown with a built-in breathing sensor measuring the breathing movement of the wearer around the waist (not the breast). The output from this interactive movement is transformed into light. LEDs installed on the inner layer of the dress in an ornamental pattern fade in and out along with the breathing movement. The greater the difference measured between the inhaling cycles, the stronger the LEDs will shimmer. When the wearer breathes superficially, only using the upper chest, little or no output will be shown." (Synne Geirsdatter Frydenberg)




e-motion from c r on Vimeo.




Designer Synne Geirsdatter Frydenberg uses these fashion pieces to highlight the motion of breathing. The dress (Pneuma) monitors the movement that our bodies make whilst inhaling and exhaling and records this movement by an outward display of light on the garment; this beautiful piece is embroydered and speckled with LEDs which are notified of the movement (breath) via a sensor that reacts to the breathing motion which occurs around the wearers waist. All this breathing and moving is sent via the sensor to the lights and a wonderful light show appears on the dress. The intensity of light depends on the intensity of breath. The harder you inhale and exhale the brighter the lights appear.



Sustainable Dance Floor




"Sustainable Dance Floor is an interactive floor which generates electricity through the movements of the dancing people.

Studio Roosegaarde created the first Sustainable Dance Floor which uses mechanisms and embedded technologies to interact with energy.

Via interactive technologies a sensual and interactive environment is created in which dancers are engaged with the Sustainable experience." (Studio Roosegaarde, 2008)



Roosegaarde's Sustainable dance floor works by using the energy generated by the movement of the people dancing and translating this energy into power to work the systems. Very DISCO and a fantastic concept to help people understand how much energy it takes to power the floor as well as give them the chance to utilise their movements and turn them into energy which without this type of harnessing would be lost.


Thursday, 17 September 2009

5 Days off; WEARABLES Wearable Technology – Powered Art and Fashion Design


Some amazing wearables from the recent 5 Days Off CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION of WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY - POWERED ART AND FASHION DESIGN
July 15 - 19, 2009
Amsterdam

Monday, 14 September 2009

"Intimacy"

Artist Daan Roosegaarde is developing an interactive fashion garment using smart foil that 'becomes transparent when electrified'. This collaboration with V2_ Lab is a dress which 'becomes visually transparent according to the amount of personal intimacy involved.'


Daan Roosegaarde says: "Technology is used here not merely functional but also as a tool to create intimacy as well as privacy on a direct, personal level ... which in our contemporary tech society is becoming increasingly important."

UV tatoos

I have come across these tatoos in my quest for other sources and uses for UV ink...


Colour Changing body adornment, it is now possible to change your spots if you like, however permenant...



And here is a semi-permanant one using a stencil and the sun... could result in some nasty sunburn, suncream anyone...?


Sunday, 13 September 2009

Co-Dependent Gloves

Another beautiful product and project from Fiona Carswell. Her Co-dependent gloves highlights the need for social interaction and the fact that (sometimes) we do have to depend on and need companionship and physical touch to survive.


These gloves are a set; to gain the benefit from these heating gloves the wearers must make contact (hold hands) to complete the circuit and cause the reaction. A great rebellion against the thinking people can function solely without the need for any sort of companionship and that self sufficiency is at the heart of progress and development. Working together and creating strong bonds and communities I feel will better further progress, technology and the well being of the individual as well as society as a whole.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Reveal an Explore Micro-organism Dress

Reveal and explore Micro-Organism dress:
Joanne Hodge (joanne@joannehodge.co.uk)
- Self Funded
- July 09
- Materials – White cotton
- Specialised Materials – Photochromic ink
- Interaction – Colour change (to UV light)
- Size (UK) – 8 - 14



Hints of who we are and how we are constructed seem to appear as if from nowhere on the outer garment as the wearer comes into contact with sunlight or any source of UV light.
To gain a full understanding the garment must be lifted, opened and investigated.
The prints and embroidery which come to life in the sunlight show the complexities in our physical make up and in our personalities.
This exploratory piece lets the wearer and others that the wearer chooses to explore their body on a very basic level. Uncovering secrets and hidden
truths.

For More Images see my Flickr page

Masters Degree Show


Come along to the Masters Show @ the Dalhousie building. Opening night Friday 11th September (6.00pm - 8.00pm). To find out more information on the show and my fellow classmates exhibits visit the Master of Design page

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Charity Fashion Show

Touch me Luggage tag dress

I am taking part in a charity fashion show (details below) so if you want to come along and see my wearables in the fleash and get to have a play before the Masters show in September then come along to the...

CARNOUSTIE GOLF HOTEL//FRIDAY 21 AUGUST//7.00//TICKETS £10 (INCLUDES COMPLEMENTARY DRINK AND ENTRY TO AFTER SHOW PATY AT THE GOLF HOTEL)

SHOWCASING COLLECTIONS FROM STUDENTS FROM HERIOT WATT TEXTILE AND FASHION CAMPUS//DUNDEE COLLEGE GRAHAM STREET CAMPUS//INDEPENDENT DESIGNERS//DUNDEE UNIVERSITY DUNCAN OF JORDANSTONE AND MANY MORE.

ALL FUNDS RAISED GOING TOWARDS BUILDING AND EQUIPPING A VOCATIONAL COLLEGE IN KIGALI, RAWANDA

TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM PERFECT LAUNDRY DRY CLEANERS//18 HIGH STREET CARNOUSTIE


Multifunctional Bead Spread Top: One garment many looks...

Please visit my flickr page for more images of my interactive garments

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Multifunctional Bed Spread Top: One garment many looks...





Joanne Hodge (joanne@joannehodge.co.uk)
Self Funded
July 09
Materials – Made from recycled bed sheets and white cotton (giving life, beauty and function to discarded textiles)
Specialised Materials – Thermochromic ink, Photochromic ink
Interaction – Colour change (to heat), Colour change (to UV light)
Size (UK) – 8 -20



“Physical objects are not the focus of our deep desires; they are merely tangible entities, which transport various meanings perceivable.”
(Champ­man, 2005)

Wearable’s that can satisfy or need to update our wardrobe on a daily basis...

In response to sustainability issues and our over consumption habits this multifunctional piece (one garment many looks) gives the wearer the choice and freedom to wear it how they want and change their look over the course of the day, helping to show off their individual style with no need to cut or sew (just buttoning and belting in different ways).

This fully reversible garment responds to the wearer’s body and surroundings with the simple prints appearing and disappearing to touch, body heat and sunlight (or any source of UV light).

The bold grey print is edgy but gives hints of what is underneath by way of buttons sleeves that can be folded up and the insides of pockets... a purple floral pattern seems to grow as if from nowhere when it comes into contact with UV light. Is this a softer side of the person shining through (one of the many meanings that can be taken from this startling contrast). It is up to the individual (wearer or viewer) to draw their own personal conclusions on meanings, functions and styling. Can this help build up connections between people and wearer and/or wearer and the garment?

Can this interactive garment be viewed as an exemplar of wearable, changeable, sustainable fashion?

Please visit my flickr page for more examples of this interactive garment.

Touch me Luggage tag dress


Touch me Luggage tag dress
Originally uploaded by joprints
Touch me Luggage tag dress:

Joanne Hodge (joanne@joannehodge.co.uk)
Self Funded
July 09
Materials – White cotton and satin lining
Specialised Materials – Thermochromic ink
Interaction – Colour change (to heat),
Size (UK) – 8 -20

“Touch can produce delightful sensations or uncomfortable reactions. The right touch can make us feel secure, happy, loved. But social taboos and new technologies often seem to get in the way of human contact.” (Touch Me Exhibition, V&A, 2005)



Printed using heat sensitive inks that desaturate in colour when heated. This bubble shaped garment invites outsiders into personal space, to touch, cuddle, and breathe on the wearer. What does this mean for the future of social interaction? In our ever-changing disconnected and digital world can this garment act as a connector between people giving them social and physical contact that can be seen to be lacking from their lives?

Specialised equipment – warm hands, a love of affection and plenty of puff

Please visit my flickr page for more examples of this interactive garment.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Write up on We Find; Your Trend Lab

My Shirt Collar Top and Shirt Skirt reactive garments have been spotted by a Trend website in Portugal, they have written a small write up about them and its posted on their website We Find; Your Trend Lab. Thanks for the lovely write up guys :)

Friday, 3 July 2009

Cryptic Nights...


Last night I was very proud to be one of the designers showing work at the CCA in Glasgow for Cryptic Nights, Hosted by Sarah Kettley on behalf of New Media Scotland.

It was a magical evening filled with various wearable technology from an enchanting ring, Mutsugoto, that enables you to communicate with a loved one on the other side of the world by way of a beautiful light stream to a Parasol (below), by Elena Corchero that allows you to capture the suns energy through solar panels throughout the day then outputs this power by way of twinkling led lights in the evening, stunning mood lighting.

Mutsugoto from Distance Lab on Vimeo.


Other highlights of the evening were a Vibrating scarf by Stephen Barrass who has created many weird and wonderful creations including one of my favorites a couch that acts like a pet purring and vibrating to touch, and affectionately named Zizi.
Also featured was a stunning knitted outfit by Georgina Bavalia (below) which has small led lights embedded into the front that twinkle as you walk thanks to a stretch sensor that is being developed at Nottingham Trent University.


And finally here are a few images (below) of my garment being modeled by the wonderful Kristina who didn't mind being man handled or revealing a little bit of leg to show the interactions of this piece.

Please see my earlier post Interaction Garment - Smart Materials for more info about my interactive garments.


I think the future is looking rather rosey for wearables...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Interaction Garment - Smart Materials

Here is a garment I have been putting togeather for an New Media Scotland event in Glasgow on the 2nd of July.

I want these pieces to provoke conversation and make people more aware of how they move, their body language and their interactions with others.



Shirt Collar Top
Joanne Hodge (joanne@joannehodge.co.uk)
Self Funded
June 09
Materials – Made from two recycled men’s shirts (giving life, beauty and function to discarded clothing)
Specialised Materials – Thermochromic ink
Interaction – Colour change (to heat)
Size (UK) – 8 -16


The Shirt Collar Top aims to make people aware of their body language and intimate touch by an outward display of colour change on the fabric.
If the wearer stands with their arms crossed over their chest for a period of time, the front section of the print where the arms have been will de-saturate in colour. This change would also occur if someone is to touch or breathe on the wearer, inviting more intimate touch from others.
How can our clothing make us more aware of our actions and the actions of others? Can this awareness and short lived record create a bond between the garment and the wearer or will the garments ability to adapt to movements & touch and visually display certain emotions alienate wearer from garment?

Shirt Skirt
Joanne Hodge (joanne@joannehodge.co.uk)
Self Funded
June 09
Materials – Made from two recycled men’s shirts, white cotton and black stretch cotton Lycra mix (giving life, beauty and function to discarded clothing)
Specialised Materials – Thermochromic ink, Photochromic ink
Interaction – Colour change (to heat), Colour change (to UV light)
Size (UK) – 8 -14


Top sections printed with Thermochromic ink, under section printed with Photochromic ink.
The Shirt Skirt intends to make people aware of their body language, how they move and intimate touch by an outward display of colour change on the fabric.
The skirt has a playful feel with a strange shape. It wants the wearer to move differently and play with its shape. Button it up down and all around to create an endless array of weird and wonderful forms. How will the wearer react to such an experience? This along with the added dimension of the reactive inks as with the Shirt Collar Top encourages different types of touch from the wearer and from others.



The under skirt appears to be a clear gloss print until exposed to UV light – as this is a part of a garment that does not normally see sunlight; what does this mean in terms of wear-ability and how will this make the wearer and those whom they come into contact with react? It is exciting to see the print glow brilliantly bright and turn a deep purple but for this to occur you have to lift up the skirt revealing more than you might normally feel comfortable with.




Our clothing can be seen as an outward camouflage – what would it mean if the camouflage disappeared or similarly if a new dimension of defence mechanism could be built by the simple way of colour change?

To get both of these garments to change colour the wearer and others will be touching, breathing on lifting and buttoning the garment in a variety of ways. How will people feel wearing this curious outfit? And what does this mean in terms of a lasting connection and the sustainability of the outfit?

Specialised equipment – A UV light, warm hands and plenty of puff ;)

Monday, 1 June 2009

London College of Fashion presents Made in Britain

Drapers’ highlights from the debate chaired by writer and broadcaster Caryn Franklin

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Fair Trade Bag Design Competition - I won :)


A big thank you to everyone who voted for my design in the Fair Trade bag design competition, your votes were very much appreciated and I am very happy to announce that I won. If you want one of the 100 limited edition bags with my 'I knit India' print you can pre-order them from the HotHive Textile website next week, they are priced at £4 plus £1 postage and £1 from each bag is donated to The Fairtrade Foundation to support the wonderful work they do.

A big Thank you again for all your support :)


Monday, 4 May 2009

Slogan t-shirts... built to last...?



A clip from Notting Hill (1999) where the character Spike is trying to decide what to wear for a date. He comes down with a series of slogan t-shirts on... while they reflect his personality perfectly, what are they saying to the outside world? They are statement pieces created to wear to a certain event or for comic value, a one off joke, but where is the longevity in them?




T-shirts like this maybe funny for a one off occasion but there are specific times and places where they might not be appropriate. Temporary printing methods would be perfect for these types of slogan t-shirts. All the impact without the shirt going to landfill the week after when the point has been made.

If you cant wait till temporary printing inks are an actual possibility then maybe these t-shirts by Katharine Hamnett are a good compromise, ethically made and make good clear political statements... maybe slogan t-shirts arn't all bad after all.


Friday, 1 May 2009

Vote for me please :)


Hi, here is a bag design I have put together for the 'Design a Bag Competition to celebrate World Fair Trade Day. The theme of the competition was India and people were invited to submit entries based on their interpretation of this theme.'

Please follow the link and if you like my entry vote for me :) Thank you! (My entry is called I Knit India)


You can find out more information about the competition and the cause here.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Connected Communities The End

The presentations are finished, the proposal, project plan and costings have all been submitted, so looking back, what have I learned?
Since starting the Masters course in September last year I think that my thinking and understanding about what design actually is and means has changed dramatically. I remember one of the first few days in first semester we were all given the task of writing out on big sheets of paper what we think design is. I was worried and nervous to get my description wright, although now I really cannot remember what I wrote. I think my answer to what design is would change on a daily basis, and would depend on what was influencing me at the time or who I was speaking to. But one thing is certain, I would never have imagined that we would have been given a brief like the connected community one, or that I would have had the first clue of how to tackle the problem. How do you pluck a tangible project out of thin air, especially if little or nothing is known about the subject matter...? With all the tools, techniques and methods we have been learning along the way of our Masters year so far (mostly I have been soaking them up like a sponge without realising) through all the workshops, interesting and diverse speakers and team working projects. I now feel like a fully fledged designer with a good insight into the world of the ethnographer (thanks to working very closely with two on this most recent project) and feel that I have the knowledge and skill sets to tackle any problem and help come up with possible solutions through my design thinking.
Who knew that designers didn't just make the world pretty, they also have the potential to make a huge difference in many different fields with their diverse skill sets and ability to adapt to changing situations. I for one am proud to be part of the design community and happy in the knowledge that I could use myself as a designer in many different ways to add to an array of different projects.

Connected Communities week 9

A name change and shift of focus has occurred this week. We were still not convinced with our intended outcomes and felt we needed something more tangible if our intended research proposal was to be successful.
Our new title is Expanding Understanding which seems to embody what our research project is about. Helping to facilitate communication through or research by the outcome 'packs' and other outputs such as conference talks and papers. This seems like the best and most rounded way to spread the word of what has been achieved throughout the intended project.


Paper chain dollies seemed to be a good way of visualising our title of 'expanding understanding'. The imagery attempts to show that by the research body and new knowledge and tools created through the project, that people and indeed communities could become better connected. This has the possibility to have knock a on effect and expand to aid communication through all aspects of the participants lives. Broadening the reach of communication. While our main focus for the project is on people with eating disorders and how to help aid their recovery by strengthening communication in face to face situations, it is hoped that this model for communication could be adapted into other vulnerable groups.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Connected Communities week 8

A spectrum of support. This is what we intend to call our research proposal and the title our research group will operate under. Sounds slightly 80's... maybe it needs more thought so as to convey the correct attitude and stance that our research is based in.
Our research proposal seems to be coming together nicely even though we seem to change focus every time we meet, instead of moving the project on further. Confusion sets in into what will be the actual outcomes... this is a real challenge with team working as everyone has their own ideas and expectations. Even when things seem like a solid agreed upon entity, details and meanings can be confused leading to crossed wires and a lack of understanding. This could lead to communication break downs and disconnection from the project. However even though this process can be frustrating at times, and sometimes our methods and processes are different, having a good team that is willing to listen, communicate and understand others points of view while able to make their points in a clear way is essential if things are to be agreed upon.
Within our team we collaborated on all aspects of the project, from concept to proposal to presentation. This was a good way to make sure we were all aware of what was going on and essential so we could grasp the particulars of the project.
While it can be stressful and frustrating working to compromise so as to encompass everyone schedule into meetings, the benefits of this type of cross disciplinary team working far outweigh the negatives.
A project or idea is enriched greatly by having several different perspectives imputed into it. Alternate angles or methods for completion are also transferred which contributes new knowledge to the individual, helping to facilitate learning, broadening perspectives and opening up the individual to ways of thinking. Core skills can also be utilised in the best possible way when a multi disciplined team works together, each member bringing different abilities and issues to the group.

Friday, 10 April 2009

bYOB (build Your Own Bag)

The bYOB concept was the creation of the Object-Based Media Group at the MIT Media Lab, Gauri Nanda, Adrian Cable and V. Michael Bove Jr (2004)



via Jen's blog

This is a fantastic mix of different technologies coming together in what I can only describe as a 'flat pack' furniture model, without the need for confusing instructions or wondering where the three screws that you always seem to be left with go. A real DIY piece of kit that offers endless possibilities for the co-creation of garments and accessories. I especially like that all the pieces are interchangeable, so when a piece of technology is rendered obsolete it can be easily substituted for a new one without having to throw away the whole thing. Like carpet tiles... when one becomes worn, that one can simply be replaced without having to re-carpet your whole floor.
A fantastic idea that could be adapted for the clothing industry...?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Connected communities week 7

Team working, can be a lot of fun and a good way to generate and move on ideas quickly, it can also cause the opposite to happen, a thick fog descends and you wander around trying to grab onto one coherent thread that will hopefully be spun and woven into something a bit more tangible. This can be a problem when there are a few team members as even though you are all working with the same brief in mind and have a similar endpoint or outcome ingrained into your thoughts, everyone thinks about things and tackles problems in different ways, we all have our own unique sets of 'methods' to get the job done, this can mean a lot of confusion and pushing and pulling to find a common ground or 'thinking space' between everyone. It is very difficult to work as one harmonious team, we each engage and become disenchanted by different points along the way so the challenge is to help each other through and each of us working to our strengths.
This connected communities project has been a real challenge, I think for the most part for me because it is not a real pitch we are making. While the call for projects under this umbrella title of connected communities exists, what we are creating does not so I have found it difficult to keep focused and to foresee exact expenditure over the three year project. Probably in the most part due to the subject matter, while I find it to be a very engaging and worthwhile piece of research I have found it hard to see where I might position myself within the team of researchers. While this (for the purpose of the assignment) doesn't seem to be a big issue, to me it is. I have no real expertise within the medical or psychological fields, I wouldn't even say I have particularly strong ethnographic skills, so what can I bring? I have learned that it is my design thinking and my process that are important and useful to projects not the little shiny,polished pieces of perfection I might produce. In this sense I feel that I have the potential to be very useful in this type of research as it might not be the first place you would expect to find a designer. Still the dilemma continues of costing... what do things cost? On researching costings of simple websites it seems are not so simple, you have to pay a web designer to actually design it, costs depends on the number of pages and features, you need to register and pay for a domain name, then pay the hosting fees, considerations of how it will be updated, who will update it are all thrown into the mix... perhaps having a blog integrated into it is the easiest and most accessible way of doing this...? Over all costs of a seemingly simple website... around £1000.

Connected communities week 6

The search for a title continues. It is one small and seemingly insignificant part of a project but a title or name can have such a big impact on a product service or person. Certain celebrities maintain that they would not be as successful if they hadn't reinvented themselves with a new name. If a title doesn't fit people will not engage with it. There was a public out cry when Kellogg's decided to change coco pops to choco rocks or something along those lines. Why? because people all over identified and loved the name? Was it down to habit and recognition? I am doubtful, I do not remember the same reaction when marathon bars changed to snickers, maybe because I had no love for the chocolate bar I didn't really care, that being said I had no great affiliation with opalfruits, but remember being very annoyed when they turned into starburst overnight. I don't think I have bought a packet since, not on purpose, it hasn't been a conscious decision to boycott the new branding, it is just that maybe somewhere deep inside my subconscious I do not see myself as a starburst person, I'm more of an opalfruit?
What I am trying to get at is that a project title is just as important as a persons name or brand of sweets. Branding, slogan and tag lines have become so important that in order to get anyone to sit up and take notice of anything you do it must be packaged in the correct way. To secure funding or proposed project must be branded and packaged in the correct way if it is going to stand out and be memorable. A snappy title with a stickiness factor is a good start.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Colour it inn and Assembly dresses

There's nothing I enjoyed more as a child than sitting down at my little desk with a big handful of chunky pens and crayons in one hand and my colouring inn book in the other. Well thanks to a collaboration between Michiel Schuurman a graphic designer and Berber Soepboer a fashion designer you can now re-live the childhood fun in this amazing colour-it-yourself dress, just wonderful...


Imagine all the different looks you could achieve with one dress and pattern, especially if temporary inks could be achieved in a real world workable model. This type of technology could work fantastically well within this sort of framework. The pattern would always be there but a multitude of looks could be achieved by different colour proportions and harmonious hues, or if you weren't feeling in the mood perhaps just leave it black and white for once.


There is a lot to be said for simple black and white prints my favorite of all time being the collections by Johanna Basford (above), if you haven't seen these amazing timeless floral pieces already check out her website and you can keep updated on all her goings on with her blog. Johanna's beautiful inky prints debuted at London fashion week in February, this is a joint venture between Johanna and fashion designer Graeme Armour. Stunning. (below)



Above is another fantastic dress from the collaboration of Michiel Schuurman and Berber Soepboer, entitled Assembly Dress, these wonderful pieces can be taken apart and reconstructed in countless ways, again another possibility for temporary printing methods, this would work exceptionally well as garments shape, size and fit could all be altered on a daily basis, producing the 'chameleon effect' on a daily basis by how the garment is constructed so changing how the print is viewed. If images could be temporally fixed onto the cloth then fade out or be washed for example to be removed, a new dimension to the look could be achieved.


This type of garment construction could hold many possibilities of the future of DIY fashion, no longer would you have to rush out and buy a sewing machine and pattern cutting books to hown up on your sewing skills, anyone would have the freedom to create interesting and one off garments that could be deconstructed at the end of the day and made into something else the next. This type of garment construction would give everyone the chance to be involved in the designing of their garments and could be the right solution to give exceptional fit. A modern day tailoring service if you like that can be achieved from the comfort of your own arm chair... just wonderful.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Concept Products 2009

Some of my favorite Concept Products 2009 :)

Poster Lamp - Designed by Rachel Hevicon

Using thermochromatic ink the pattern on the lamp shade reacts to heat. As the light element (the lamp) produces warmth, the visual pattern on the lamp shade disappears, acting as a subtle reminder to the user that they are using energy, and to consider their environmental responsibility as much as their specific light requirement. The lampshade pattern displays a map of the world to emphasise the global environmental message.



Peek-a-boo Radiator - Designed by Samuel Sheard

The radiators are decorated with images from nature and the rural landscape, ‘painted’ in thermochromatic ink. When the radiator is turned off (cold) the graphics are displayed but when the radiator is turned on (hot) the graphics start to disappear, reminding the user of the energy that they are using.



Pixelate - Designed by Alison Edwards

Pixelate is simultaneously a wall-mounted light and an interchangeable illuminated picture. Consumers purchase a pixelated card which fits into a wallmounted frame installed in front of a low energy lamp. Using the designer’s recommendations, or their own inspiration, the user pops out pre-cut perforations to create a decorative wall light. Pixelate comes with 5 card inserts so when you fancy a change you can pop out another picture.



Note Table - Designed by Danielle Quinn

The Note Table takes away the frustration of looking for a pen/paper when leaving a message or reminder. The surface of the oak table incorporates a magnetic filings board and a magnetic pen with which to write. A sliding eraser deletes the previous message and the Note Table is ready for the next one.

To vote for these producst and many more go to Concept Products 2009 Vote