Fair Maid on the Shore

My partner, Elly Hadaway, is a folk musician, and I’ve just helped them record, produce, and release a single. You can buy digital or physical copies at Bandcamp, and I’ll talk a bit about the design aspects after the jump.

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Experiments in Cabinetry

Cabinetry prototype

Two drawers, each 45x95x25mm internal diameter, in a sturdy case. All made from the same layered-painted-and-varnished paper I use for jewellery.

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Unexpected green glazed tile

Peeling paint

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Choral artwork

Damaged sheet music for artwork

I’ve been donated a pile of these beautiful choral & organ scores to work with, now they’re unfit for use. Really looking forward to starting off on them. First up, a set of jewellery using sheet music from Handel’s Messiah.

I’m still trying to decide what to do with the cover of this one, though – it’s such a gorgeous design in the beginning, and the years of wear from use look absolutely amazing. Any suggestions?

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Blocking contactless payment – or, make your bank card a tinfoil hat

How to protect your bank card and still use your Oyster

Contactless payment cards, touch-for-access ID cards, and prepay travelcards all use the same technology – RFID. This is great in principle, but it means that you can’t keep more than one of them together without either confusing the readers, or accidentally using the wrong one. I wanted to be able to touch my wallet on the London Underground Oyster pads, with my bank card in there too, and have it Just Work.

So, I made some shielding! Metal blocks the radio waves that make RFID work. There are a lot of technical or expensive proprietary solutions out there, some of them intensely cool, some actually practical to carry around with you, but here’s mine.

Take a roll of kitchen foil, and cut a piece 200mm (or 8″) square. Fold it in four, and glue it that way. Leave it to dry, trim it a bit if you need to, and hey presto, that’s your RFID shielding card. I like to glue a piece of heavy paper on either side for strength and interestingness – you could always use it to write medical info on, or use a photo of the five-year-old in your life, or an inspirational poem, or a photographer’s rights card.

Tuck it into your wallet, between your bank card and your travel card, as far away from the travel card as possible – this is because if it’s too close behind the travel card when it’s being read, the reflections can bounce back and confuse a relatively low-power reader.

I’ve been using this design more or less daily for the last few months, so I can guarantee it works. It should also make sure that nobody can read your bank card remotely and clone it, but obviously I haven’t tested this. Knowingly, at least. It does mean I can’t make contactless payments without taking the bank card out of my wallet, which is the way I like it.

I’m going to be selling durable versions, with unique art on each, but please don’t let that stop you making your own! In fact, please do, and please show me your designs.

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Valentine’s Day

Two-layer card I’m not a fan of the consumption-and-expectation culture, nor of the idea that love is best expressed by garish red heart-shaped dustcatchers from a High Street shop. But there are a lot of other ways to express love, and even when I don’t mark a celebration myself it’s a very rewarding thing to help others do it.

So: here’s one of the designs I’m selling this year. It’s lasercut from Gmund bierpaper (recycled using beer labels and brewery waste) and layered onto an absolutely gorgeous Japanese unryu-textured metallic brass paper. There will be a couple of others too, but I wanted to show off the luxury cards first.

I’ll also be offering package deals – card & envelope, up to three matching gift tags, and a sheet of complementary wrapping paper, all at a very competitive price.

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Christmas cards

Here are three of 2012′s Christmas card designs! They (and a few others) will be on my stall at the Lionheart Market in Leytonstone on Saturday 1st December and Saturday 15th December, along with jewellery, artwork, and Christmas tree decorations.

Ambergate tree on pale blue

Deep and Crisp and Even

I Saw Three Ships

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Gaudy Night play script

I & some friends recently spent a weekend acting some classic murder mysteries for our own entertainment. For various reasons, we needed to produce scripts for them – private use only, so this isn’t a copyright issue – and it would have been a shame not to do our own cover designs with original artwork. This is mine, for Dorothy L Sayers’ Gaudy Night (the radio version, adapted by Mary Cutler) and I wanted to share it. (Mine bar the face sketch; that was done by my partner, because I’m truly appalling at faces.)

Gaudy Night cover

The text is my own handwriting; the brick wall is local London Stock, a few doors down from me; the dress pattern & book cover were taken from Lost & Taken; everything else is done in acrylics & assembled in Inkscape.

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Raffle Prizes

I was asked a while back if I’d donate something to a raffle in aid of Special Effect, who specialise in adapting console and computer controls for physically disabled children and adults – that’s everything from making a 360 controller a bit easier to use, all the way to tailoring eye-tracking software for the otherwise utterly paralysed.

I’d been planning to experiment with masks in any case, so here’s the results! Done using Fabriano pastel paper and Robeson metallic ink.

Black & silver mask

Also, this pendant, made using laser-cut pieces and ceramic wash.

Flower pendant

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Lighting next week

Next week, I’m lighting “Dinner”, by Moira Buffini, at the Network Theatre underneath Waterloo Station in London. That’s Tuesday 16th October to Friday 19th October – doors open at 19:00 for 19:30, and tickets are £11 from Ticketsource. Click here to download the flyer in PDF.

The lighting won’t be anything particularly fancy, but then this really isn’t the play for it – so if you were thinking of going to this play to see the lighting, wait till my next one! Instead, go to this one for the acting. And the lobsters.

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