Sweet flip it's finished!

I'm so pleased to be able to share our finished interactive guitar, Carolan, with you all played by the wonderful Nick Perez who did a fantastic job making the guitar a reality.

We started out by developing Steve's idea of using artcodes to give objects a digital footprint. Artcodes by Aestheticodes are amazing little things that look like regular illustrations and designs but are cleverly encoded so that they respond in a similar way to a bar code or QR code. Imagine being able to scan embellishment on your guitar and using the GPS on your phone to log all the different places you've travelled with your instrument. Or if you're the practical type, perhaps the artcode could redirect you to your guitar's manufacturing information. We couldn't wait to get going on the project and make it happen!

With plenty of advice, testing and hard work from Nick, Adrian Hazzard, Liming Xu and Steve Benford,  I have designed the celtic inspired knots not just as embellishment for the guitar but as part of the structure, with parts of the knotwork cut out to make the sound holes. It's been an exciting application of Steve's vision of combining traditional craftsmanship with digital encoding, giving traditional objects a digital footprint. As the knotwork is interactive, the digital encoding is physically combined with the traditional craftsmanship and structure the guitar itself, the digital element has a direct influence on the sound the guitar makes. If you're wondering what digital encoding sounds like you can find out here!

Wedding Illustrations

Earlier this year I posted about some illustrations I did for a lovely couple, Kirsty and Ali, to be turned into colouring postcards for their wedding guests as well as designing their seating plan and designing and printing their invites. Recently Kirsty was lovely enough to share the photographs from their wedding day with me so that I could see how my designs were used. Thanks to Paul Joseph Photography, their day was beautifully documented and I can share some lovely photos of my own illustrations on here.

The Big Etch!

After many weeks of hard work and testing from the team, Adrian and Steve have now etched the sound board of our interactive guitar, Carolan. The whole process took over two hours and you can watch it here… don't worry, the video has been sped up and will only take two minutes!

I also got to see some of the testers for the sound board for the first time at the Design Festival. Before then I had only seen photos, which I'm afraid is all I can share with you now. It was so cool to see what  an amazing job Adrian, Nick and Steve have done with it, it just seems like such a complicated and nail biting process. It's so wonderful to see the design I've been working on with all the input, advice and patience from the team finally making the transition from my computer screen at home to a real guitar!

Aestheticodes around Tent London

Aside from having just a stand at the London Design Festival, Aestheticodes also had the opportunity to incorporate their artcodes around the festival. I was then given the opportunity to design five of these artcodes, each one to represent a different section of Tent London and redirect visitors to their specific page on the Tent London website when scanned with a phone using the Aestheticodes app (just like a QR code but better!). This was really exciting to see to my illustrations not just on the Aestheticodes stand but around the festival too and seeing my artcodes put to use!
Here are a few snaps…

London Design Festival

Wow, the last few days have been totally tiring but so much fun! I was lucky enough to be involved with the London Design Festival again through Aestheticodes and with lots of hard work from the team it went really well.

Similar to last year we had a stand that we used to explain our concept through teaching people how to draw their own codes and demonstrate the app. This really got people excited and it was amazing to see so many positive reactions to our artcodes. Unlike last year though, our stand was flipping massive! Plus, we made it extra interactive and engaging by including not just illustration demos but paper cutting and embroidery demos, mural painting AND screen printing workshops with me and Lilli Cowley-Wood. It was really great to show so many people how varied the application of the codes can be. Lilli did an awesome job at painting a beautiful aestheticode on the wall of the stand…
Once again I designed the postcards for Aestheticodes, this time I made a much bolder design inspired by the Truman Brewery eagle. The eagle design got printed up both digitally onto postcards using a multi coloured design and also screen printed at the festival onto postcards and tote bags along with Nicole Levenberg's penguins. In exchange for an artcode, people could print their own limited edition eagle!

It was pretty cool to see how the stand was easily filled with artcodes drawn by people visiting the festival and it felt a little sad taking it all down…
So once again, the festival has now come to an end and I really do hope that someone will realise what a brilliant opportunity this could provide for interacting and engaging with people. QR codes just don't cut it anymore.

Late night printing

Last night I had a quick print session before bed and did a run of some new two colour floral cards. The two colour registration worked a treat and my converted Ikea bargain corner shelf is proving to be a useful little press! I had initially wanted to print the line work with a nice rich red...but decided to go for green when I discovered I had ran out of red paint! Red versions to come!

Carolan Guitar

I've been lucky enough to be involved in another exciting Aestheticodes project, this time involving encoded celtic designs for guitars. It's been such lovely project because, apart from working with a great team, it has also been really nice to work on something that appeals to my musical interests too.

The project continues to develop and test applications of Aestheticodes, decorative encoded designs that respond in a similar way to bar codes or QR codes when scanned with the Aestheticodes app. In this particular application, we are experimenting with placing codes, hidden within decorative celtic designs onto a guitar. The codes can then be scanned and used to create a historic footprint for the guitar, updating its story as time goes on.

The team have just launched a new blog where you can find out about and follow the project. You can find it here.

French sketching!

Two days ago Sam and I arrived in Central France to begin our relaxing holiday staying with his mum and her partner. It's been so peaceful out here and in between eating good food and mowing the lawn I've had some time to do a bit of sketching in the sunshine. We're staying in Sam's mum's beautiful house and I thought I would make it my first drawing out here.

Wedding Illustrations

Recently I have been working on a couple of projects that I have been unable to share on here, however, I am pleased to say that I can now share these wedding illustrations as the happy couple tied the knot last weekend, congratulations to Kirsty and Ali Butcher!

A few months back I posted photographs of some wedding invites that I had designed and screen printed for Kirsty and Ali. Kirsty had also asked me if I could design some of their on the day stationary as well as some postcards for their guests to colour in and leave their messages on. I thought this was such a lovely idea, an added personal touch and something fun for people to do together.

Kirsty asked me to illustrate postcards showing the two of them in special places such as their first holiday and where they met. Here are some of my illustrations…

Checking in

It's been a while since I've posted on here so I thought I better check in. I've been busy working on a couple of projects recently although haven't yet got to a stage with either where I can share a finished piece. However I can share this sneak peek of one illustration from a series I'm still working on...

Leaf brooch

Yesterday I made this leafy brooch from copper and silver. I haven't worked with copper before and I absolutely loved it because after it's heated during soldering, it shows the most beautiful colours!
I have made similar shapes for a necklace before now but used a method that involved fully folding the leaves in half which then was really difficult to prize back open after hammering and I had to anneal it about a million times. This time round I stuck to hammering the leaf shape out after bending it at a 90ยบ angle. This was so much easier to work with and still gave a lovely shape and texture. The edges also went nice and wibbly which I love.

Printed and framed!

Invites ready to go!

This week I got all the wedding invites cut to size and sorted into envelops with the particulars and menus. Each green envelope is sealed with a special wedding emblem sticker to match the design on the invites. Here's a little peek at the finished product...

Friday Sewing Club

Today I decided to end my working week and welcome the weekend by spending my evening learning to make a purse with some lovely ladies at a sewing club. It sounds simple enough but I've never really got along very well with zips so it was good to get some practice and guidance from Sewing Queen Sue. Here's the finished product...cheers Sue!

New screen, new prints!

Recently I invested in a nice new little screen along with some hinged screen clamps. My new screen has a much finer mesh than my others so I can get so much more detail in my prints and the clamps make printing at home SO much easier!
First on my printing list are some wedding invites that I've designed a small emblem for. They're looking lovely printed up on some china white card in what is apparently 'hookers' green!

Better late than never!

Recently I've been working on my portfolio and trying to show a good spread of skills so I figured it was about time I learn to use Illustrator properly. I thought I best start out by familiarising myself with the basics. Here's a quick peek at a work in progress...