Have an inventive Christmas

My book of invention ideas seems to be selling well, about two thirds through the 1000 printed. I had a lovely comment from Thomas Heatherwick, designer of the London olympic cauldron amongst other brilliant things. He kindly wrote, “Dominic Wilcox’s drawings aren’t just witty and beautifully drawn, they are serious challenges to the real world to keep looking at itself with innocent eyes, wondering what else is possible” He mentioned a favourite of his was the motorised ladder below.

Christmas is nearly here and if you want gifts to keep your relatives entertained after their Turkey why not buy my signed book Variations on Normal HERE for only £8 so I can buy myself a Christmas pudding. Worldwide delivery is no problem but be quick for the post before christmas.

I must make more effort putting it into shops but it is available in London at Magma near Covent Garden, Artwords on Broadway Market, Theo at Somerset House arcade, The Serpentine Gallery book shop and in Edinburgh at Analogue Bookshop.

bookintro

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Or how about my Sounds of Making in East London vinyl record with mp3. See here.

The Birds of Seven Dials

I was commissioned by Dezeen and Shaftesbury Seven Dials to create a sculpture to be suspended across Neal street in the Seven Dials area of London. My research of the area revealed that in 1879 Charles Dickens Jnr described Seven Dials in his book ‘Dicken’s Dictionary of London’ as a place where many bird shops and bird cage makers could be found. “Every variety of pigeon, fowl, and rabbit can be found here, together with rare birds, such as hawks and owls… Here and there are shops fi lled with cages.”

I decided to make an arch of ghost like birdcages to reference the memory of the birds and the shops of that time. Each cage is left open in remembrance of the birds long departed from the area.

Building it in the workshop…

My new book and a little animation

I have put together over one hundred of my odd yet strangely logical invention drawings into a little book. You can see some of the ideas below. They all come from a room inside my head that I like to go to every now and again. A signed book can be bought for the bargain amount of £8 on my web shop here. I’ve had 1000 printed and they seem to be selling fast.

‘Dominic Wilcox’s drawings aren’t just witty and beautifully drawn, they are serious challenges to the real world to keep looking at itself with innocent eyes, wondering what else is possible.’
Thomas Heatherwick, (designer of the London Olympic cauldron amongst other innovative work.)

In addition to the book I made a little animation by connecting some of the book’s ideas into a mini story. Hope you enjoy.

Also if you are in London come down to KK Outlet where I have an exhibition on.

Guide me home shoes

I was commissioned by the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, a place famous for shoe making, to create some shoes. I decided to make a pair of shoes that can navigate you wherever you wished, no matter where you are in the world. I thought about the Wizard of Oz and how Dorothy could click her shoes together to go home. After uploading your required destination to the shoes via a piece of custom made mapping software and a USB cable, the GPS, which is embedded in the heel, is activated by a heel click. It then communicates to the wearer via a ring of LED lights to point in the required direction. The shoe with the GPS wirelessly communicates with the right shoe that has a progress bar of lights to show how close you are to the destination.

The Shoe is connected to a laptop with the mapping software. The user plots their destination on a map and uploads it to the shoe. The USB connection also charges the battery in each shoe.

The progress bar starts with one red light at the beginning of the journey and ends on the green light when you arrive. The correct direction to walk is shown by the illumination of one of the LED’s on the circle.

I made an illustration that was etched onto the soles. The red leather and stitcing is a little reference to Dorothy’s red ruby shoes.

For more pictures and information visit www.dominicwilcox.com/gpsshoes.htm

Variations on Normal (the exhibition)

I have an exhibition of my work on at KK Outlet gallery, London, running until the 26th of September. I’ve got new work never seen before on show as well as recent and past work and all my videos. I’ve even launched a book of my invention drawings and an animation. So it’s been very busy recently.

The show is open all through the London Design Festival and should be mentioned in the guides.

7th – 26th September
9 – 6pm Monday Friday, 12 – 5pm Saturday.

Dominic Wilcox – Variations on Normal
KK Outlet
42 Hoxton Square
London
N1 6PB
UK

One of the things I’m showing is a personal collection of oddities that I own. For example on the left is this WW2 Japanese Airforce ceramic fire extinguisher. Designed to be filled with sand and thrown out of an airplane on to fires caused by bombing below. I was told by the previous owner that the technique wasn’t very effective.
Next to it is a wedgewood teapot that can lean back to use its internal tea leaf strainer.

I also have a pair of shoes that can guide you home to post about soon and an animation and book.

With thanks to Richard Shed Studio who designed the layout, graphics and design of the exhibition.

Sounds of Making on the airwaves.


My Sounds of Making in East London vinyl record is getting some nice coverage, BBC radio 4’s Beth Mcleod did a lovely feature on it for the Today programme, you can hear it here…
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/24724168/soundsofmaking/radio4.mp3%20
It also made it onto J-Wave radio in Tokyo…
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/24724168/soundsofmaking/J-WAVE_ee_0710.mp3%20

You can buy the record (with included digital download) here. For more pictures and details about the makers I visited go to wwww.soundsofmaking.com

Sounds of Making in East London vinyl record and website launched

Sounds of Making in East London, 10″ vinyl record, 2012
Sound recordings of twenty-one East London makers at work
A project conceived, recorded and illustrated by Dominic Wilcox
Listen to a sample here…
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/24724168/soundsofmaking/sample.mp3%20

£15 available here (inc digital download)
www.soundsofmaking.com

I was commissioned by CREATE 2012 to make an ‘alternative’ souvenir for East London. They wanted to commission ‘a collection that aims to be a desirable antidote to the overly-commercial, tacky souvenirs on sale across London this summer.’

I decided to focus on what makes East London unique, the large amount of skilled, creative and historical makers that live and work there. I visited 21 makers in East London and recorded the sounds of them at work. Examples included the clatter of lyric poet John Hegley’s typewriter, the chopping of garlic in a Michelin star restaurant, the tap of rock ‘n’ roll cobbler Terry de Havilland’s hammer and the sound of a bell being tuned in Britains oldest manufacturer.

I then found a vinyl record company in Hackney who cut and manufactured the record. Then I drew some of the tools and the makers for the record sleeve and added the track descriptions on the back. The record is now available to buy for £15 and includes an mp3 download code.

When I visited the makers I also took photos and I did 10 interviews. I decided to create a website that would document all of the project. www.soundsofmaking.com I hope you enjoy visiting it. Now I sleep.

3D Printer Re-match at the V&A



After my triumphant victory over the 3D Printer in Milan I returned to home turf to compete against a new printer at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London during their monthly Friday Late event. This time I competed against a machine from A1 Technologies. I decided that we should both make a model of St Paul’s Cathedral. In Milan I used clay to make the Duomo but this time I thought I would try marzipan just to make it more difficult for myself and get closer to potential public humiliation.

I was a little surprised at the size of the crowd as I came out from behind the curtain after we were introduced.

Curator extraordinaire Beatrice Galilee gave running commentary on the event, highlighting such dramas as the fact I seemed to be struggling to get into the marzipan packet.

The maripan got softer as the heat rose so it was a bit of a challenge to make a Cathedral.

The vote was put to the crowd and they thought I had won (most likely out of sympathy).

After my victory in Milan the 3D Printer sent me this bad loser message…

Improvised making in Milan ….

As part of the Making Together exhibition in Milan I had invited the public to donate sticks of all types and sizes which I planned to tape to a chair and build a network of sticks during six days of Milan design week. It was to be an improvised creation where I would decide how it would grow while I was making it. It’s quite exciting to start from nothing and not be sure what is going to happen, particularly when in front of an expectant on looking audience.



The chair and some sticks were waiting for me when I arrived with my tape.


I started attaching the sticks to the chair.

I placed a spotlight I found at the exhibition and pointed it onto the white wall to create shadows.


Half way through week.
The idea I came to Milan with was to build a bridge of sticks between two chairs but I changed my mind and wanted to build on one chair with only the legs of the chair touching the ground. I wanted to see how far I could push the strength of the tape and balance of the chair.

I decided to draw the shadow onto the wall with the same tape.

Me in the sticks.

On the third day I was told that the chair had toppled over in the night and so I strengthened with more tape. I added a chair on one side to try to balance out the weight.

Sometimes I would come into the room and some members of the public were attaching stick to the ‘tree’. This wasn’t part of my plan but I was tempted to see what they did. Collaboration with the public can be interesting but it is important that they understand the rules and restrictions of what needs to be done. I ended up having to remove the 5 or 6 additions as they weren’t strongly taped or in the best positions for a good structure. I decided to continue with just me adding things but the public bringing the sticks throughout the day.

The shadow moved continuously due to the weight of new sticks being added, but I just drew over the new shadows.

At the end the stick structure was moved to a new room leaving the shadow drawing as a permanent piece.

You can see my pre-plan post here
See the other project I did in Milan, a competition against a 3D printer to make a cathedral, man vs machine here.

Victory for mankind! Wilcox vs 3D Printer: Milan, Duomo

)Update to the below: Rematch at the V&A see here ).

I won the battle of Man vs Machine in Milan at the Hacked event at La Rinascente department store! The challenge was for me and a 3D Printer to make the best model of the nearby Duomo cathedral within 1.5 hours. The age of 3D Printing is here but there is a discussion around where it is heading and how useful it will be. What can a human do that a machine can’t? Can the hand created object give something that a computer cannot? Or can machines do everything better? Is computerised perfection emotionless?

There was a big crowd and many people stayed for the whole time watching the progress intensely.

Wilcox vs 3D Printer

The clock counted down for 90 minutes, there was a little beep for every second which made me nervous.

Wilcox vs 3D Printer

(No Plugs) I bought a white dressing gown like the boxers and added some messages with red tape I was using in my other exhibition. We came out to the sound of the Rocky theme music.

Wilcox vs 3D Printer

The 3D printer was a Makerbot and was controlled by the team at wefab.it. They really got into the performance and called their machine Deep Pink after the famous ‘Kasparov vs Deep Blue’ chess match. I chose to make mine from clay. I have never made anything from clay before so was a little unsure about the result. I notice in the photo above there is a man with an old film camera. (Very suitable to the event hand/digital.)

I took some photos of the Duomo but when I started I found it difficult to remember what shape it was. There were many people around photographing and filming and for a few minutes I was thinking ‘what am I doing?’. However once I had made the first blocks I could see potential in the model and I focused on my task.


stop motion video

I was hearing that the 3D Printer had a little problem half way through, the model was moved a little and started printing slightly to the side, but it was fixed. The real Duomo has many details and the makerbot 3d printer is quite a simple but a fun DIY style machine.

Wilcox vs 3D PrInter

The Editor in chief of the italian magazine Domus Joseph Grima was the referee and decided to award the prize to me.

Wilcox vs 3D Printer

The prize was a large ceramic ‘subbuteo’ of football team AC Milan.

Wilcox vs 3D Printer

‘I eat computer chips for breakfast’ Me and the We Fab team from Milan.

Thanks to curator Beatrice Galilee for the Hacked event she invited me to, referee Joseph Grima and wefab.it for their enthusiasm and skills.
More pics here

Update: After my victory the machine sent me this bad loser messages…

There is talk of another match in London very soon with a different 3D Printer. This could be an event the grows and develops. Keep following.

You can read the background to this event on my previous post here
See the other thing I made in Milan here with tape, sticks and a chair here.

Between your thoughts and mine

During this year’s Milan design week I will be spending 6 days at the Making Together event in Ventura Lambrate. The theme of the event is participation and collaboration and I was asked to come up with an idea of what I could make there.

My project is titled ‘Between your thoughts and mine’ and attempts to symbolise the connection between two people sharing their knowledge and ideas. It is inspired by the knowledge that our mind holds all the things we’ve ever seen and experienced, and ideas come about by linking these apparently unconnected things together.

My plan is to attempt to build a tree like network of sticks and stick shaped, everyday objects, attached to two chairs using duct tape. The public (that’s you my friend) are invited to bring sticks that can be added to the structure including brushes, walking sticks, a flute, a tennis racket in fact anything that has a stick shape is welcome.

This completely improvised method of making has an unpredictable outcome, it will start by me attaching a stick to a chair leg with some tape and then continuing to build upwards, connecting stick to stick. My aim is to try to connect the stick networks of two chairs together to create a bridged ‘conversation’ between them. The only parts touching the floor are the chair legs.

I asked the organisers to find two chairs and some sticks to get started and then ask the public to bring their own sticky things to add to it. I have no idea what this will turn out like in reality but something will happen. If you are in Milan pop in and say hello (and bring a sticky thing).

Edit. The idea was influenced in part by my earlier door stop extension idea I did during my Speed Creating project.

Making Together: Milan Design Week
April 17th – 22nd 2012.
Milano,
Ventura Lambrate Spazio Logotel,
via Ventura 15
Website

Wilcox vs 3D Printer: Duomo

Update to the below post see results here…

A couple of months ago I tweeted that ‘I want to race a Rapid Prototype Machine (a 3D Printer that makes objects) to make the same thing’. It was just one of those things you can say quickly on twitter as an ‘off the top of your head’ idea.

It turned out that curator Beatrice Galilee had been made aware of my tweet by a colleague and she then asked me if I would like to make my tweet become reality. She was organising an event called ‘Hacked’ based inside a large department store called La Rinascente during the Milan design week.

What I find interesting isn’t just the speed of making things but the simple idea of making an object with my hands competing against a computerised 3D Printer making the same thing. I will start with a block of clay, I’ve not made anything from clay since primary school and I know that my creation, no matter what happens, will definitely have the hand made human touch (imperfections are good!). The machine is controlled by the computer file used to create the model.

I remember hearing about the Kasparov vs Deep Blue chess match where the world champion took on the super computer.

I decided that the thing we both will make is the Duomo, a large cathedral only ten metres away from the department store in Milan’s Piazza del Duomo (a large square). The Duomo has a long history in Milanese life including, bizarrely, the fact that a model of the Duomo was thrown at the italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi not so long ago.

So the plan is simple, I will sit at a table making a model of the Duomo in clay and a 3D Printer will sit opposite me working away on making it’s own Duomo. A large clock will countdown for 1.5 hours.

The 3D printer is a Thing-o-matic MakerBot and will be controlled by WeFab.it
The ‘match’ event is on 19th April, 5 pm till 6.30 pm, in the basement floor, La Rinascente, Milan.

The details of the ‘Hacked’event are below
.
Milan, MONDAY 16 APRIL – SATURDAY 21 APRIL 2012 – ‘Hacked’, 100 hours of rebellious creativity, will be rampaging and rollicking its
way through Rinascente during Milan Design Week. Hacking – the thrill of modification and customization – will be celebrated here in bombastic style.

To celebrate the world’s original design festival, Salone del Mobile, la Rinascente’s flagship store proudly presents ‘Hacked’. Over the course of 100 hours the store will be radically altered – inside and out – as it becomes an interactive experimental lab space. By collaborating with the most exciting young talents in design, la Rinascente invites everyone to ‘Come, explore and hack’

For the line up and times of all ‘Hackers’ click here

Update to the above post see results here…

I Nibbled Britain out of Jaffa Cakes

McVitie’s, the biscuit people, challenged me to create some British themed creations using their Jaffa Cakes. I took my inspiration from friends who described their strange and unique methods of eating them. I started to nibble and pick away, going through 30 boxes of Jaffa Cakes to try to get shapes that fitted with my British themed ideas. One problem I had was when I got distracted by the radio and then looked back to see I had eaten the Loch Ness monster. See the video and pictures of what I came up with below.

Stonehenge Jaffa Cake
Stonehenge

Stonehenge Jaffa Cake
The sunset effect was achieved by shining a light through the Jaffa Cakes orange wrapper. I like the realistic reflection.


The white cliffs of Dover


Tower Bridge


Set up with a plastic bag.

The Loch Ness Monster Jaffa Cakes
The Loch Ness Monster

The Queen's Guards Jaffa Cakes
The Queen’s Guards (The ones with the big bear skin hats outside Buckingham palace)

The Union Jack flag Jaffa Cakes
The Union Jack flag

Queen's head on coin Jaffa Cakes
Queen’s head on coin

The Thames Jaffa Cakes
The Thames river


All of them.

You can follow my future creations on twitter or facebook. Or have a look at the other things I’ve made on this site using the menu on the left or visit my main project site here.
Thanks goes out to Joe McGorty who helped me get the photographs done.

Five new Moments in time watch sculptures

I have created five new watch sculptures that are currently on display at Phillips de Pury and La Scatola Gallery. Each watch is a one off. See the pictures and video of them moving below.


Love and Protest, 2011 (Detail)


Love and Protest, 2011
In these times of peaceful protest in the face of armed repression, a protester and soldier kiss.


UC Davis Protest, 2011
I find it disturbing when people in positions of power abuse it and lose any sense of humanity. I was shocked to see the footage of the pepper spraying of people sitting in a peaceful protest at UC Davis. I felt a need to capture this incident in time.


Photograph: Wayne Tilcock/AP


Captured, 2011
CCTV cameras and three people photographing and videoing. Everyone is capturing everyone.


Comfortably Oblivious, 2011
Here two people fail to give up their seat to an elderly woman with walking stick and bags walking round and round.

The Beautiful Game by Dominic Wilcox
The Beautiful Game, 2011
A footballer holds aloft a trophy in the form of a pound symbol (£) as three prospective WAGs fight for his attention.

The Beautiful Game by Dominic wilcox

Love and Protest, UC Davis Protest and Captured are on display at La Scatola Gallery until the 10th of January.
Comfortably Oblivious and The Beautiful Game are on display along with The Sitting Man and Unrequited Handshake at Phillips de Pury until 31 January 2012.

For larger images visit my project website page here
You can see the earlier watch sculptures here

10th Anniversary War Bowls Launched

War Bowl by Dominic WIlcox

Black War Bowl by Dominic Wilcox

To mark the 10th anniversary of the War Bowl I have created two new limited edition versions. The red Battle of Waterloo bowl is made with melted British Artillery and French Infantry figures. The black English Civil War bowl uses Royalists and Republican figures.

The War Bowls, together with limited edition prints of my invention drawings and anti-theft rust bike stickers are available online here here .

The War Bowls are also available over christmas at

Phillips de Pury, 45-47 Brook Street at Claridge’s, London, info here

and

The Temporium, 65 Monmouth Street,
Seven Dials, Covent Garden,
London WC2H 9DG
see info here

The War Bowl is hand made in small numbers, each bowl is stamped on the base by me with the date.
Each bowl is unique due to it’s hand made nature and comes with a loose set of the soldiers that were used in it’s creation.
The new red and black bowls are limited to an edition of 250 each.

Watch Sculptures : Moments in time

I have a new big project to show. I’ve put tiny figures onto watch hands in order to create mini animated scenes. I had the idea last year during my Speed creating project, but decided it was too good to rush. 8 month later I showed a prototype to Dezeen and they commissioned me to make a collection. The watches use customised model figures and I also made objects, like a miniature looted LCD tv. The glass domes were specially made to fit by Wearside Glass Sculptures in my home town of Sunderland at the National Glass Centre.

The watch sculptures will be exhibited at Dezeen Space in Shoreditch, London from 17 September to 16 October.
54 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3QN.
more pictures and info on my other site dominicwilcox.com


London Looter: I had to walk across Mare st in Hackney to get home during the riots. I remember seeing a boy carrying a lcd tv down a back st. I noticed how the police seemed unsure how to react, holding their circular shields while the boy held a rectangular tv.


Adventures of a young vegetarian : a small girl attempts to stop a butcher chopping up a pig by hanging on his arm while the pig floats away.


The Sitting man: A man sits for a moment.


Hide ‘n’ seek


Watch sweeper: the numbers and hands are swept away on the second hand.


A man so engrossed in his iphone that he fails to notice a monkey balancing on the head of a weightlifting boy on the arm of an elderly roller skater.


One man stands with arms folded while another moves around in continual hope that his hand will be shook.

Tree branch work desk

This photograph was taken by photographer Joe McGorty for an article about me in this month’s 100th edition of icon magazine. Since my studio can be anywhere, I decided to make a Tree Branch Work Desk to enable me to think up a tree with a cup of tea and pencils at hand. We decided to document the making of the desk as seen in the animation put together by Joe.

Photograph of Dominic Wilcox copyright Joe McGorty

Kill two pylons with one rubbish stone


A national competition to re-design the electricity pylons that cover the UK was announced today. The brief says…

‘The challenge is to design a pylon that has the potential to deliver for future generations, whilst balancing the needs of our communities and preserving the beauty of our countryside.’

Personally I quite like their current look but here is my idea to solve two issues in one, the fact that we are running out of landfill space and the desire for pylons that preserve the beauty of our countryside. They could even be built around existing pylons so are low cost.

Alternatively just rename pylons, Mini Eiffel Towers and the public will adore them, maybe even pay to go up them.

This is an alternative to my idea I did a while back for hill covered tower blocks.

Webby Awards Nominee!

I am happy to say that this website VariationsonNormal.com has been nominated for a prestigious Webby award in the Personal website/blog category. If you like my website it would be wonderful if you could take a minute to vote for this site here. The Webby Awards are often described as the Oscars for websites and are now in their 15th year.

For new visitors, VariationsonNormal.com is where I put my sketchbook ideas and experiments. On the left you can see a list of categories for easy navigation. Recently I completed a project called Speed Creating where I made something creative each day for 30 days.

Webby nomination Variations on Normal

How technology can save you serious money.

A fence

You might be asking ‘why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?’ But the garden fence industry is very powerful and they kill any idea that would threaten their plank quantity sales. When I was twelve, while lying in bed, I worked out how to make a perpetual motion machine. This would solve all the world’s energy problems, I fell asleep in the excitement of planning how I would spend the profits. When I woke up I realised that I had forgotten what my idea was. I apologise. I’m frowning in regret as I write this even today. However, now in the age of the internet I can quickly put my ideas on this website so that the world can reap the rewards before I forget.

This idea was first shown in Icon magazine, 2008 in my ‘Lost sketchbooks’ series. Follow me on twitter or facebook.
Update: An artist has recently made something similar but with a window net, it works well… see here