since my last post i’ve enjoyed some time to unwind from figment and the emotions of the personal event that has been with me during the residency.  i must thank the staff at the mill for being so understanding and supportive during this time.

if a brief conversation with the project director (who is called hannah and is a core of energy inspiring everyone working towards realising the goal of the museum of making) she reminded me that there’s another beginning coming.  these words have been helpful as i resolve in my emotional self the reaching of the set point in time of when the formal residency time frame is met.

i’ve really felt good being a maker at the silk mill and look forward to further time being spent in the mill making.

having got how i’m feeling out i can now look back over the last couple of weeks.  during this time i’ve made some more steam tots parts, started to develop aspects of a schools programme for key stage 3 and been part of a meet the maker event.

doing this has given me some time and pictures to reflect upon my own practice in a self expression context as opposed to simple being a maker.

making affords me space to create.

when this wanders towards self expression i have noticed how i become my self aware and uncomfortable with myself.  my work in progress assessment of this relates back to a young self where over bearing encouragement has had a negative impact upon me expressing myself through what i make.  i see how this potentially needs to be explored within an artistic context where self criticism has relevance and space to be explored.

while we work in the mill there are preparations being made for the renovation work on the building.  one such preparation is the assessment of the foundations.  in the image a core from the drilling for analysis can be seen.



the steam tots sessions begin in early september.  i’ve enjoyed having the freedom of exploration to come up with the parts for these sessions.  i hope to be part of the team who facilitate the sessions so i can see for myself how the loose parts become interacted with.


the microbit workshop was rather larger than we all anticipated.  the little micro controller being shown off in many different guises and configurations.  i particularly liked the tones triggered my fruit example.



one of the biggest challenges for the museum is how to attract key stage three students into the mill for school sessions.  we have begun the journey to create something.

yesterday saw me outside the mill complete with clinometer on an ironing board.


so as i prepare to go into the de-brief for the whole period i’m preparing a project to begin at home.  the mill has 12 windows along one side and recently on the hub there have been some rather fine models of rolls royce engines.


the project i’m beginning at home is a maquette of a clock using the 12 windows of the mill.  having surprised myself within the re-imagined snee snaw project with what i achieved with the arduino platform, i’m going to further push myself using arduino by using components i’ve not used before.

i’ve noticed in  myself how the initial excitement gives way to a slightly scared feeling.  once again hannah’s words ring round my head … “feel it and do it anyway.”




my post this week is being written on a wet, windy and warm sunday following yesterdays  first figment festival to happen in europe. a festival where i showed the re-imagined snee snaw.

the director of the silk mill development project had totally embraced what figment is and brought it to the uk and specifically to the silk mill.  yet another first for this historic site.

the re-imagined snee snaw caught the imagination of visitors and i saw numerous methods of playing on the snee snaw.

today as i reflect upon the work i have a sense of an evolution within the way it works to further enhance the experience.  it’s connected to something i wrestled on tuesday.

it wasn;t until i saw the work being fully realised and played with that what it was came into focus.


it’s been a very focussed week actually.  beginning on monday with the bare essentials to finish the work.



the week included making a structure to contextualise the led and some covers for he seats.  i think it’s been the first time on a sewing machine and i have to say with excellent guidance from staff at the silk mill really enjoyed myself.



there was a maker camp in the mill this week too.  i contributed to the camp in small ways and on the last day the children at the camp were let loose on the snee snaw to test it.



something as not mentioned about the snee snaw is that it runs off battery.


the original plan was to have the work outdoors.  with the weather being so changeable i ended up inside along with many of the other contributing artists.  part of the testing process was to ensure that i could run the work for 5 hours on battery.  the maker camp testing showed me that the led would only go for 4 hours.  when i considered this i remembered that i was driving the led at full power to get maximum light output for being outside.  with the news of being inside i made the connection to running the led at reduce brightness to maintain battery life.  i’m so happy to say i achieved this.


running the snee snaw yesterday was again a very informative process.  being with the work, playing with it again giving visual information for new players worked well and also being away from it let the really curious discover what happened with the work.

i’m looking forward to a little more headspace to be able to reflect about what happened yesterday and also about the entire residency as i’m soon going to be at the end sessation of it.

with this post i reach the deadline of the maker certificate programme and i hope that those of your reading it in connection with that have enjoyed reading and got something of the joy and pleasure at being a resident maker at the derby silk mill, the museum of making.  a place that has made many safe opportunities for me to throw myself into trying something new.

i look to the future and hope i can continue this relationship in some way …







pretty much carrying on from the last post made … once again i need to use pictures of what i’ve been doing so i can quickly document the last week.  a week in which i took a few days out to go to a funeral.

in the last week i’ve been working on the snee snaw , loose parts creation for steam tots, planning for maker camp and beginning my journey with microbit.


microbit is a microcontroller at the centre of an iniative centred around getting 11/12 year olds into programming and is backed by the bbc.  before the summer recess, the microbit was rolled out to year 7 students and it’s now available to buy.  the programming  is web browser based and the code can be loaded onto the microbit. microbit has a host of sensors and can connect to external sensors too.

after my workshop induction i have been engaged with a bandsaw cutting shapes from wood based on acrylic shapes cut on a laser cutter.


i’m including the one off shapes too in the loose parts



at todays update, review and reflect meeting i took along a small selection of loose parts and they proved very engaging for my colleagues around the table.



with chris’ tweet being picked up by kids in museums .


i also learnt this morning that the childrens museum in san fransico has picked up on steam tots via a maker ed hangout with chris and andrea of the silk mill and want to know more.  i’m quite liking this working internationally and getting the bus to the place that i work…

maker camp happens this week and we’ve done some really good planning for those taking part.


i’m going to be taking part as a resident maker / artist working on the snee snaw and now in this moment of calm reflection i’m really looking forward to the experience.  i have quite a lot of work left to do and earlier today i did get a little anxious about the time i have.  however … i do see that i can get a little precious and when i’m not wholly working on the snee snaw do get a little anxious.

i feel confident of finishing in time.

my snee snaw week in review …


have created some idents for the work


considered the led placement


worked on the programming to get the audio response working with the movements

and how the physical form of the work might be




for the next few days i have a makerspace in the museum where i can work with the components of the work and run tests and feedback results into the programming.


the figment festival is saturday 20th august and i’ll be showing the the snee snaw (re-imagined) at it.  figment is an international festival and so once again i’ll be traveling on the bus to work internationally.


i quite love my work at the moment.


this week has been time managing the priorities with the intention of completing everything in the time i have remaining.  it’s been a hard week as my sleep has been disrupted a little.

i’ve helped myself by mapping what i need to do.

part of what i need to do at the moment is be really time efficient.  thus the week review will be mostly in pictures :

project : maker bar

this project is about evolving how the makerspace in the museum known as the maker bar to become easier to engage with and diverse in its offering.

i’ve finished a board :

got the menu onto the maker bar :


both these involved working with other makers.

the new process i learnt was to veneer :


played with the image adding to screen thing inspired by the epidiascope:


during the open make added images to the screen in real time of makes made on the bar.  the visitors loved this !


project : steam tots

i have been inducted onto using the bandsaw.  this will be the maching i use to cut out the shapes for the loose parts play aspect of the project.  the induction consisted of making a number one.


project : figment festival : the snee snaw (re-imagined)

for this project i’ve been working hard at creating the programming to create the re-imagined snee snaw.  i’m finding that the new way of sensing movement has needed me to totally programme the work from scratch.  this is a surprise to me because when considering this project i thought i could simply use the existing patch.

we spent time reflecting and evaluating some of the projects that us the team of resident makers have been working on


my favourite image of the week


and best of all i really enjoyed myself during the saturday open make with fellow resident makers steve and stevie :)


a feature of my experience this week has been a tenable feeling of what my comfort zone is as i’ve been feeling very much outside it.

after our day of hosting i got back to making with much gusto on the tuesday.

my day began with accepting something very unexpected.  the load sensors i’d ordered were not on next day delivery as promised, they are coming from hong kong instead.

i took a gamble and bought some bathroom scales to hack.

arriving in the mill i once again missed the window of opportunity to get inducted on the vinyl cutter.  i cracked on with the work connected to trying to make the maker bar more understandable and accessible.

the first aspect of this is the remaking of the a board to communicate what the maker bar is for the visitor, especially the first time visitor.  i’ve seen so much conscious dissonance on the faces of visitors and i am driven to improve this for future visitors.

my plan is to add to the prepared board the words we need to get over what the bar is.  interestingly while working on how to make the words, the words themselves have evolved to include some more maker language.

across two separate days i’ve prepared the boards and investigated word production other than vinyl.

the next stage of the visitor experience is the maker bar menu.  when we began the residency the bar had one activity to do and this was different for every single time the bar was open.  i saw this as potentially unsustainable.

the menu follows up what the a board says.  it lists the process, materials and projects that the visitor can become involved with.  it also takes the opportunity to highlight the other processes available to try in the workshops.

to maximise the space on the changeable menu the header has been moved onto part of the physical form of the menu.


my favourite image of the week is this one of the letters sitting on the base of the laser cutter



my other project of the week has been to create a method of sensing a person.  this is for my re-imagined snee snaw project.  the bathroom scales are for this.

having played with 4 load sensors to create a load cell earlier in the residency i feel i know and understand how it works and it made it easier to hack the bathroom scales.

put simply my plan with the scales was to remove the lcd and circuit board. this leaves the assembler board for the load sensors.  to this i  attach new header pins and connect  to a hx711 amplifier unit.  this connects to an arduno pro-mini.  the pro-mini also has a bluetooth hc-05 board connected to it.  the whole set up is powered by a usb power pack.


i successfully made the hack.


the value for the scale is broadcast via bluetooth to isadora.  in isadora i noticed how the value rolled over ie got to 255 and went back to 0 and kept increasing.

i did some testing and discovered that isadora can only accept 0-255 on the serial connection.  using a test sketch i worked out how to use the arduino map feature to ensure that isadora receives values between 0 and 255.  on reflecting about this, i think that the big bang interactive would benefit from the map modification as well.

with the research confirmed and uploaded to the pro-minis. i now have two person sensors.  their output in isadora can differentiate between the masses of the persons.  maybe i need a posher word than sensor ….



at the beginning of the post i mentioned comfort zone and my feeling of being out of mine.

the origin of this has been to do with wether or not i could achieve a way of sensing mass of a person and feed this into isadora.  it’s the basis of the snee snaw (re-imagined) actually working.

the feeling has also been further increased by the need to create the maker bar interpretation things.  interestingly in an art context i think this would be mediation.   personally it feels like mediation as i need the visitor to know something.  interpretation to me speaks of someone else making sense of something for them.  i’m actually after the visitor making up their own mind about it rather than reacting to it.

having made the mass communication work, my out of comfort experience has been reset so i can begin the next phase of edging into discomfort prior to feeling ok again.  this rather implies that if i am to truely make something i will feel uncomfortable.



at the height of my recent discomfort i went for a walk.



during the walk i tried to consider what visually the out of comfort zone would look like.  i arrived at this.

it is sometimes very difficult to use verbal langauge to describe a feeling and i get how visual language is so strong at doing this.  years after graduating it finally makes sense !


so using the same location to describe visually what inside my comfort zone is …