Contrasts

As I have already stated on this blog, I am a big fan of videos that show the process behind creating an object. I can (and have) sat for hours watching videos on how cars are made or fish fingers, for example. This subject was the driving force behind the Enjoying A Craft series that I have been posting.

All of the videos I have been posting have focussed on small scale products such as scissors or home made soap. When it comes to high quality how it’s done videos regarding mass manufactured products things become a little harder to find. The reasoning behind this may very well be because companies do not want to broadcast their methods to the world and subsequently their competitors. There is one company that in recent years have surpassed everyone else and actively go to show off their manufacturing processes. Apple.

I would have to go back through many hundreds of videos and numerous Apple Keynotes to determine when they openly started to visualise their manufacturing processes on video. I would be willing to do this but not this time. Their videos are of high quality and show a side to the company that is renowned for its secrecy. It is no secret that they value design highly within their Cupertino headquarters and throughout their hundreds of retail outlets. As an outside designer looking in, these videos are a breath of fresh air, in part due to the lucid tones of Jonathan Ive.

Out of their many process videos to choose from, it was a tough decision. After a lot of head scratching and repeatedly watching (yeah ok, that was just an excuse to keep watching them over again) I have decided to share the three most recent ones regarding the WATCH. I should however give a noticeable mention to the MacPro and iPhone 5S and 5C manufacturing videos that were pipped to the post.

The WATCH is an interesting product even if I don’t want one. I will probably discuss this at a later time. The videos however are superb. Each of the videos explores the processes and material behind each of the three watch versions. Aluminium, Stainless Steel and Gold. Three different metals with different properties all processed differently to create a similar end product. Pure designery joy.

Enjoy!

Contrasts

A Change in Setup

For the past 6 years I have been using a two computer setup. This allowed me to make the most of having both a laptop and a desktop. The laptop was used when I was in university, sitting at my desk in the studio whereas my desktop was my data hub.

The computers in question (at the time) were a mid 2007 MacBook and an early 2009 24″ iMac. The iMac was far superior to the MacBook and the bigger screen made working on Photoshop, viewing photographs and watching movies an absolute joy. There was no overlap in data between the machines unless I was needing to work on the go with my MacBook.

Six months before the end of university, I upgraded my then three and a half year old MacBook with a late 2011 15″ MacBook Pro. In part this was to make good use of the student discount I still had available and also to future proof myself for after university as I had no idea where I would be work wise.

Eventually, due to getting a job in Yorkshire, and not having enough room in my flat for a desk, I migrated all my information to my MacBook Pro leaving my iMac to be used by my sister. Two years later, a change of flat, the addition of a desk and my sister getting a computer of her own I have been reunited with my beloved iMac.

For the last three months it has been brought back into service by becoming my information location. All files have been removed from my MBP and consolidated onto my iMac. The iMac has even been used extensively on a few projects as well so it is earning its keep.

There is however a problem. More so than experienced before, I am starting to find having two computers an inconvenience. There are times I am on my laptop and need a photograph from my Aperture library, which is on my iMac, leading me to make a decision. Do I go and turn the iMac on, or make a reminder to do it later? I am beginning to think that for me, now, my setup doesn’t work as well as it used to, especially with a move back North now imminent.

What is my alternative? This is something I have thought long and hard about. Whilst everyone else seems to becoming fanatical about the watch (no I don’t want one before anyone asks), I have been focussing my attention computers. I want the convenience of a laptop but with the benefits of a desktop. This seems like a bit of a tricky situation, but I think I have found a solution.

It is a one computer setup. It is a MacBook Pro. Now you may be thinking how this meets the criteria of having the benefits of a desktop. Well, the answer to that is an external display, most likely an Apple Thunderbolt 27″ display. The MacBook pro would need to be upgraded slightly so I could fit all my files on it but it seems promising.

This is likely to be my next step towards the end of the year. What I’ll do with my iMac and current MacBook pro is yet to be decided. They should both still be worth a good chunk of what I paid for them, but then again, I like the idea of keeping them. I will just need to keep thinking…

Below is a photo of what my desk usually looks like when I am working on my iMac at the moment. There are times when I forget the mouse is only connected to just one of the machines.

IMG_3439

As a separate point, if anyone is interested in an indigo blue iMac G3, a 17″ iMac G4 or a PowerMac G5, let me know, they will be looking for a new home in the coming months due to a need to declutter.

A Change in Setup

Enjoying a Craft Part V – Kokeshi

Good craftsmanship, and subsequently quality, in today’s throwaway society can be hard to find. However when you do find it it is immediately noticeable how much care and attention has gone into something. Craftsmanship used to be the norm. Products would last essentially forever, often outliving who bought it or made it. Today, it has become an alternative choice. You have to go out looking for something that has been specially crafted. The downside to this is that it is less convenient and often more expensive but the converse of this is that you are getting a product that is less likely to break and cost in the long run is usually cheaper.

Creating something by hand is extremely satisfying, but watching a master craftsman create something is truly wonderful. Sculpting the raw material from an unrecognisable mass into a beautiful object. This leads nicely on to this weeks video.

Japan. A country of strong national identity and a powerhouse of the East. A country renowned for its vast strides towards electronic gadget utopia. Massive urban sprawls house many millions of people all consumed by technology. Look closer into the country and you will start to see what used to be. It isn’t all mass manufacturing and battery powered devices. There are people still carefully crafting objects by hand. One of these objects still being crafted is the Kokeshi.

Kokeshi is a Japanese doll made from wood. It has a simple body with no arms or legs, an enlarged head and all details are painted on by hand. The origins of these dolls is unknown but widely believed to have started in the 1600’s. Types of Kokeshi vary depending on area as does the wood used to manufacture them. The biggest draw to them is that no two are exactly the same. They are at the mercy of whoever made them.

There is a lot of interesting pieces online about Kokeshi and are well worth a read. I am not going to post any links as there are that many. However, I will post a delightful video of a Kokeshi being created by hand.

Enjoy!

Enjoying a Craft Part V – Kokeshi

Space Shuttle – Single Line

A quick post this time. I have been playing about with the single lines format again and whilst doing the Space Shuttle the style sort of evolved. A little more emphasis has been put on the colours of the craft and a specific background has been added.

It is a little rough around the edges and this style could do with some refinement but as a concept I think it works quite well and will sit nicely alongside the others.

Print

Space Shuttle – Single Line

Enjoying a Craft Part IV – Soap

As I mentioned in the first part of this post series, it doesn’t matter what the object is, if there is a video of it being made then I’ll watch it. For many of these videos the people who are behind the craft have a story to tell. They have become so involved with what they do, and inherently love what they do that when they talk about it, you can sense the passion and drive they have.

This weeks video looks at a maker of handmade soap in San Francisco. Whilst the visuals depict the process of the soap being cast, cut and stamped, the narrative tells a story. One of perseverance and striving to make things the best you can.

The backstory is also interesting. Not discussed in the video, the soap maker, Kim Rollo Emanuel used to work in Silicon Valley as an electronic engineer. His wife then developed a hypersensitivity to the synthetic ingredients found in conventional skincare products. So he started on a quest to create what resulted in being completely organic. As a result of his endeavours, his business has expanded and he is selling his products all over the world.

This is proof, I suppose, that one day you will find your true calling in life and that ultimately, you will be happier doing something you truly enjoy.

Enjoy!

Enjoying a Craft Part IV – Soap

Sydney Opera House and a Single Line

In 2013 when I started to do images using a single line, they were only cars. Cars are a big area of interest for me and I’m sure they always will be. However, I have constantly looked at other areas to go into to try and broaden their appeal but also to see how well other things look drawn with a single line.

One area of which I have discussed and posted is architecture. Having already completed and made a post about a single line created for the Forth Rail Bridge and the Eiffel Tower I started to look at other structures I could create. This got me thinking and I came up with something that would focus my mind. For as long as I can remember, I have had a list of places I would like to visit (for reference, I have lots of lists. In fact a man can never have too many lists). What I decided to do was to create a single line artwork of these places. Of the two previous, I have been to and over the Forth Rail Bridge multiple times but I am yet to to Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Soon though.

One of the places that has always been at the very top of this list is Australia and what is one of the most iconic and recognisable buildings in Australia? The Sydney Opera House. It has a unique shape that means it is perfect for recreating as a single line.

As a little bit of background on the building it was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon in the 1950’s and was completed in 1973 instantly becoming a landmark. In 2007, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Overall, it turned out quite well. I just need to get cracking on with the rest of my list now which includes a single line of a hamster… I wonder how well that one will turn out.

Print

Sydney Opera House and a Single Line

Enjoying a Craft – Part III

Letterpress printing. A method of printing that has been around for hundreds of years. Its usage began to decline in the late 20th century thanks to the adoption of computers in the printing industry.

However there are some places that continue on the art of hand-set type. This weeks video shows part of the process that makes up letterpress printing.

Enjoy!

Enjoying a Craft – Part III