Thursday, 31 January 2013

crafting for gadgets : cross-stitch iPhone cases

cross-stitch iPhone case with thread

This week I discovered the wonderful cross stitch iPhone cases by Leese Design, via the DesignSponge blog.

I love the way they are both digital and craft digital and craft in an obvious, yet somehow unexpected, way.

These covers resonate with the craze for knitted iPhone covers some years back. Yet this, to me, suggests a slicker, cleaner, more crafted/less home-made approach that complement the elegant technology.

cross-stitched iPhone case

These cases are only available at Purl Soho in the USA, but there appear to be other similar cross-stitch cases for sale in UK. Traditional cross stitch, 8 bit computer graphics design or a crafted representation of computer code… I'm not sure which I would choose, but fortunately the PurlBee blog has some inspiring examples of finished cross-stitched cases.


Friday, 25 January 2013

digital art : daily drawing

grey cat sketch

Three years ago I made a New Year's resolution. Each day I was to draw a picture of my four month old baby boy. I remembered my mother sketching me as I played in the garden as a small child and, although as far as I know she did not keep the drawings, I am sure it inspired and encouraged me to create and draw.

It started well and, as planned, most days I produced at least one small sketch. My resolve was still there when in late January 2010 my son was admitted to hospital when a dramatic fall in his oxygen levels bought forward his heart operation by several months. But after nine long and difficult days in intensive care I was no longer drawing - the tubes and wires and stress had got the better of me. And after he was discharged my focus was on helping him with his recovery... and then life in general got in the way. I still wanted to draw, but I could not find the time nor the motivation to do so.

layer cat sketch

Then the start of this year saw a new iPad and a new resolution. Most days I have produced a drawing on my iPad. The subject matter is not as prescriptive as before - most of the time I can only use my iPad undisturbed after the children's bed time so our cat has become the main, but not the only, focus of my drawing attentions.

My iPad is always at hand which makes it easier to pick up, put down and sketch for a short period of time. It has been a while since I drew, my drawing skills are rusty and my hands need time to re-learn what to do. But having all my drawings saved in one place makes it easy to look back for inspiration and to see how they are changing over time.

have been using SketchBook Express and a Magic Wand Stylus. The large rubber tip is not ideal for drawing but at least the lack of precision has produced some interesting results and adds a very human element of chance to a digital drawing.

And each time I sketch I find that I am trying, and learning, something new - I would love to learn to capture some of the awe and excitement in my youngest son when he picks up pens and makes marks on paper (and walls... and doors... and skin... and clothes!).


Friday, 18 January 2013

why craft : digital productivity

reflections in a glass table

When I started this blog way back in 2008, I intended it as a place to reflect on the intersection of craft, digital and community - three things that are important to me in both my personal and professional life, on a micro and macro scale.

Yet since returning to blogging after what was, in effect, an extended blogging maternity leave, my posts have become almost exclusively a record of what I've done and things I've made. This is not, in itself, a problem and it has been a nice way to ease myself back into e discipline of regular blogging... but it is not what I initially intended my blog to be.

So I have started to ask myself why this has happened and so, in asking this question and following my subsequent thoughts, I have also moved closer back to the reason I started to blog.

When I started blogging I had few commitments in my life, expect perhaps going to work every day and part-time study. But even then my place of work is/was a constant source of inspiration and my study was a driving force behind my decision to blog. I remember being able to sit on the sofa knitting after work whilst watching films and TV programmes and having the luxury of spending whole weekends just sewing and listening to Radio 4.

How simple those days seem now I have two pre-school children and next to no spare time for myself. Radio 4 is still my constant companion but It often feels like all my spare thought capacity is taken up with Thomas the Tank Engine (and his numerous Friends) and other more practical things such as my new and extensive knowledge of child speech and language development, and paediatric cardiology.

Yet somehow, despite now being busier than I have ever before, I also seem to be making more than before - both on my own, and with my children... how can this be the case?

And one reason which is at the front of my mind is digital...

  • Smart phone and tablets have given me space and time to find inspiration and information during the tiny moments of calm which arises in my days due to the additive effect of tablet reading
  • Sites such as and allow super-fast access to patterns, ideas, resources and expert knowledge for making
  • Hints, tips and ideas from productivity sites such as and have genuinely helped me to become more organised and have given me space to get things done
  • And apps and utilities such as Blogsy and Google Drive allows me to work on documents whereveer I am at a given moment, rather than being tied down to what we now call the grandad box in our house.

Then there is the act of blogging itself which I am sure has played a part in providing me with the enthusiasm and inspriation to do more. By making myself think about and analyse what I have done I am inspired to build upon and improve my own work.

And so I hope too that this new start in thinking about why I craft will have a similar effect on my future thoughts and will be the start of many future outpourings. I look forward to seeing where this will lead me.


Friday, 11 January 2013

the baobab textile tree

This tree wrapped in textiles first appeared by the Hayward Gallery, next to Waterloo Bridge, in 2012 as part of Southbank Centre's Festival of the World.

The fabric came from around the world and held up wonderfully, even in the most adverse conditions as it was still there when I passed in last week. A wonderful reminder of sunnier and warmer days.