Featured!

I have to change the filtering on my secondary email account – I didn’t realise that I got featured on Instructables!

My tutorial (here it is over on Instructables) got featured in the Play category, earning me a 3 month Pro membership!

Fossil jewellery

I love the beach at Lyme Regis, on the Jurassic Coast. I haven’t found an ichthyosaur yet, but I’ve got quite adept at finding pyritised ammonites and belemnites, robust enough to make jewellery from.

Crosses – Credit Sequence

One of my contributions to TortoiseButler’s entry into the Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge 2013 was the closing credit sequence.

Our film was based on the following criteria:

Title: “Crosses”
Dialogue: “There’s no way of knowing I’m afraid. Only time will tell”
Prop: “A torch – A character shakes the torch, pulls it apart, and puts it back
together again. It still doesn’t work.”

We came up with a complex yet tight script involving time-travelling cops, the fight actors (including one untrained!) developed some kick-arse fight scenes, I knocked up some props and tattoos and we shot a beautiful, tense, cohesive film.

As with most creative products though, the ‘finishing’ is at least as much work as the creation. The second night of the 48 hours was spent packed into a tiny hostel room, where a truly stunning number of macbooks were put to work on the editing, graphic effects, scoring, sound design and grading of the film. Alongside them all, I was in the corner making 8 seconds worth of credits (Final version has an extra 4 seconds to credit the installation artists).

As our composer was creating the score live from Germany, the editors pulled together a rough cut to give him an idea of what we’d made. I snagged a copy of this, identified key moments from the narrative, and selected dynamic and interesting stills to represent them. Manually tracing the stills gave me silhouettes, with which I created a huge spread which the final animation explores, reflecting the journey of the film. It was great fun to apply what I know of storyboarding, composition and comic design to creating something dynamic, stylish and exciting.

Shoulder puppet – Beauregard

For some reason, the idea of a pirate with a pet sea slug seemed dreadfully amusing. Of course it would perch as a parrot might, be brightly coloured, and wave vaguely around in response to passers-by.

This translucent and delightfully frilly nudibranch has trembling antennae and can rear its body up from the wearer’s shoulder – see the video.

Starting with a length of aquarium tubing, I hammered half-toothpicks halfway through the tube to anchor thermoplastic vertibrae. These brace the articulating wire cable, so that it can pass from the head, down the length of the body, and rejoin the base tube at the tail end, which carries it down to a discrete handle. Sandwiching foam sheets around the tube made a base for the body, floaty gauze fabric fleshed it out, and guitar-string wires make satisfyingly twangy antennae.

The whole thing can be mounted on the shoulder with a thermoplastic bracket over or under clothes, and the handle’s surprisingly comfortable and easy to use.

I love thermoplastic.

Animation – CERN LHC Data journey

Not much shy of a year after I left, CERN released the animation I researched, scripted, storyboarded, and supervised production of. They’ve polished it up, slowed it down, added a little more text and more blocks in one spot, and made lots of the global stuff prettier, but it’s mostly there.

I was responsible for researching, interviewing, scripting, designing, storyboarding, and directing the animation, which was produced remotely by a 3D production studio in Spain.

If you want to find out about how LHC data is processed, check it out!

Science in Motion animation

As part of my Science Communication MSc, we were challenged to produce a ‘cultural product’ which explores some of the concepts from the first term’s lectures on the history of science and society and science and the media.

Our trio elected to use stop-motion to portray a ‘day in the life’ of a scientist who is crafting a scientific paper. Many ideas related to the creation of science are depicted; how many can you spot?

Created by Nils Hanwahr, Morag Hickman and David Robertson at Imperial College London.

Music credit: Overture by The Who.

Duckie and Chickie afloat

My first novel!

This is a 20-page narrative, written for my twin nieces, about the escapades of a pair of farmyard reprobates – Duckie and Chickie. It has been variously described as “disgustingly adorable” and “a scientists’ approach to Getting Along”, but you can’t listen to everything the critics say.

I started it with the strong idea in mind of two characters who have differing abilities, but work together to get in and out of mischief.

Apparently I have to write another one for next Christmas… and until they’re 18. It’s a lot of work, but I do want to find out what was shining on that island…

Brushpen, watercolour, digital jiggery-pokery and InDesign, printed in hardcover through Blurb.

Duckie and Chickie Afloat – pdf for web