Social Making : Final Monograph


cover of final monograph, titled 'social making' inside spread of monograph

For the final write up of my MA course we are required to submit a written monograph digitally. While this is quicker, easier and more efficient I just don’t feel like a piece of work is finished until it is printed and bound. I’m old-fashioned like that.

So, I’ve printed and bound my final monograph, and added a foil-blocked cover for added interest. So much more satisfying than a .pdf.


Final Show Prep!

book stand and book covers made for final show My preparation for the Manchester School of Art MA final show is well underway, this week I’ve been foil blocking, nail gunning and bookbinding the final write up of my work, and the stand to show it on.

The show opens on October 2nd, more details here

knotworkshop LAUNCH POST

This is strange. knotworkshop, the collaborative, online, zine making project I launched a couple of weeks ago has now come to an end. Contributors added their thoughts and images, I fiddled with the design, it all came together.

And now it’s finished… as a .pdf file on my hard drive. This does not feel like ‘finished’ usually feels. I’m used to trimming, folding, stapling, and holding the ‘finished’ product in my hands. This ‘finished’ product cannot be held!

So I can conclude that my relationship with digital practice remains complicated, perhaps even a little standoffish.

Although that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this project. Aside from certain issues of access, using a purely digital workspace allowed me to reach a wider audience and experiment with tools in a different way. knotworkshop has helped me appreciate the place of online tools for actual making, as well as social and promotional uses.

Click here to download your own .pdf copy of knotworkshop/Community to preserve for all time on your hard drive:


Forming/Storming/Performing Event 3 : Return to Manchester

Last night saw the return of Forming/Storming/Performing, a one-night zine-making party, designed to explore making as a social catalyst.

Last night’s event was held at Sandbar, aka the centre of MA Design and Art Direction’s social world, and much of the activity focused on drawing games, including Exquisite Corpse and Pictionary.

poster showing forming/storming/performing event information

As well as the concept for the event, I designed information posters and ‘Creative Games Compendium’ booklets to help spark participants’ ideas, and pulled together all the contributions into one online zine. I see the parameters applied to the event (materials available, style of promotion, suggestions of activities) as part of what defines my work as design, as they all allow me to exert some influence over the final output (for example, black and white, hand drawn content).

f/s/p participants drawing

The final zine, made during the evening, is available online right here, and a limited-run print version will be available in the next few weeks.

f/s/p participants talking

Upcoming Events…

Time is passing at an unbelievable speed, and now it is Testing Time!

Testing Time is part of the Manchester School of Art MA program, a kind of interim, work-in-progress exhibition, with added crits and tutorials. Very civilised.

During Testing Time I have two events coming up, knotworkshop and Forming/Storming/Performing. knotworkshop is an online project exploring digital collaboration, inviting participants to contribute to an online zine. Forming/Storming/Performing follows the theme of previous events, using a social setting (Sandbar, the MA bar of choice) as site for social making – in this case a zine to be completed in one evening.

As with every project, it’s a little nerve-racking (will anyone contribute? will I be sat all on my own in Sandbar? will the internet break midway through??) but I’m really excited about these two projects. It’s an added bonus that they’ll provide a handy basis for comparison (is online collaboration as satisfying as offline? do we interact in the same way?).

All the links

Contribute to knotworkshop

See the knotworkshop progress 

Join us at Forming/Storming/Performing

And feel free to use some hashtags – #knotworkshopMCR, #FormStormPerform


Getting Social Online

lockers at konstfack art school

I’ve been revisiting a project I started a few months ago, with a view to relaunching as part of my MA practice ‘Testing Time’.

knotworkshop is an exploration of social making online. Is making a publication collaboratively online as satisfying as face to face? Does the final product have the same sense of achievement? Can creative relationships be developed through a chat box?

Before I can answer any of these questions I have to figure out what online design tools are available, and how they can be used collaboratively. Previously I was testing the use of Google Docs as a potential collaborative platform, however the design options it offers are quite limited, and the prospect of creating a publication using a slightly less useful PowerPoint app was pretty uninspiring.

‘Surely,’ I thought, ‘there must be an online collaboration tool for design-minded types?’.

After some Googling, speed-reading and clicking around I found (almost) what I was looking for in LucidPress, a platform very similar to Google Docs, but with a few more InDesign-style features. Crucially, LucidPress also offers shared editing and chat features, very important for online collaboration.

Here you can see my first experiment with LucidPress, using photos taken at Konstfack, Stockholm.

bok kök

Following my remote collaboration with the Man|Ren artist exchange group I began to consider further opportunities for collaboration across countries. With my good friend, and fellow designer, Betsy Lamborn currently studying in Sweden this also provided an opportunity to get in touch and engage in some friendly collaboration.

I reworked the Man|Ren instructions into (IKEA-inspired) symbols, following tutorial discussions of potential language barriers within the project, and renamed it inline with its Swedish destination. Bok kök translates as ‘book kitchen’, as I’d been informed that the kitchen was the hub of Betsy’s Swedish studio.

I’m still awaiting the results of this collaboration, but in the mean time you can see a sample of the instructions, along with Betsy’s Instagram documentation.

inside spread of the bok kok instruction book

inside spread of the bok kok instruction book

screen shot of instagram documentation of event

Manchester School of Art Skill Share

I was invited by some fellow Manchester School of Art MA students to deliver a skill share workshop in the studio. I decided the skill I could most effectively share was book binding and zine making, and so I reconfigured my Forming/Storming/Performing workshop to focus on saddle stitch bookbinding and photocopied zine making.

As a group we created an illustrated zine based around a day in the life of an MA student, with a secondary timeline about the full time MA year. We then paginated, photocopied and bound it, all in two hours!

Below you can see some ‘work in progress’ photos, as well as the finished product, ‘Day in the Life’.

sketching out the zine in notebooks and loose sheets

photocopying the zine pages

stitching in the binding

finished zine 'day in the life'