Category Archives: Science

The Northern Lights seen in the UK

Last night the Aurora Borealis gave a spectacular display over the UK due to solar winds from a coronal mass ejection reaching the UK.
Unfortunately I was tucked up in bed sound a sleep whilst it happened but here is a lovely picture from the BBC Website.
Nature is beautiful..


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Newsreel mini-album and Twilight Science

Some of you may know that I work in footage archives as my day job, and as a little treat I decided to make a mini album dedicated to archive footage newsreels.
It was sort of inspired by the purchase of some absolutely gorgeous patterned paper by First Edition called Noir et Chic.

Newsreel mini album svg

Newsreel Mini Album

I used the patterned paper to cover pages cut on my.. you guessed it Silhouette Cameo, I then designed some early cinema type ephemera to add to the album, including film cans, cameras and reels of film. These were added as a layout to pictures of early film footage.

I had a blast making it and have made the files available here

Last night CHA-Guy and I went to the Twilight Science event at the Royal Academy in St James’ Park. It was a fun and informative evening of science comedy, demonstrations and a quiz. One of the questions was about the door handles at the Royal Society… obviously we didnt have a clue so afterwards we went to check them out.. and yes they have a DNA double helix in them.

DNA Door Handle small

We didn’t do too badly in the quiz, mainly because they had a whole section on Darwin… ;)

Bye for now..

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Darwin’s House

charles darwin's house

Down House

On Sunday we visited Down House the former home of Charles Darwin in the pretty village of Downe in Kent.
We managed to get a bus all the way there from Bromley town centre, which was very quick and cheap!!

We had a pot of tea and cake before touring the house and gardens and then did the ‘sandwalk’ where Darwin walked on a daily basis pondering ideas on evolution and natural selection :)

The house was stunning, with furnished rooms downstairs including his study filled with scientific study materials and a more multimedia, display cabinet section upstairs. The whole house had a lovely atmosphere (as old houses do I guess) and enviable amounts of space!

Darwin came from a very wealthy family, having been related to the ceramics pioneer and entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood. The wealth of the Wedgwood family enabled him to travel the world on voyages of scientific discovery and spend time in England formulating his revolutionary ideas.
You can read more here

After our tour we intended on walking to High Elms Country Park (approx 2 miles away) but it was a bit cold so we sat in a pub and drank cider instead :P

Whilst waiting for the bus back we noticed that most of the buildings in the village were made of flint
flint building downe kent
Apparently this was a common building material in Kent before the development of brick building techniques.
The flints were knapped by chipping off the rounded edges which made them much easier to cement and were arranged decoratively with other types of stone and variations in the knapping technique.

All in all it was a great day out and a brilliant start to the exploring season ;)

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Filed under Exploring, History, local, Nature, Science, Travel

Afrique Geometrique..

adinkra symbols

Adinkra symbols

I have an interest in African geometry, especially in printed fabrics, wood carvings and metal work.
Whilst studying for my environmental biology degree (many years ago!!) I took up batik fabric printing and made cushions and wall hangings using African patterns.
More recently I’ve been visiting the British Museum in london to explore the African galleries, here is one of the videos I shot there, (it also contains imagery from the Horniman Museum in South London)

Last christmas I made zippered pouches as presents using South African Shweshwe fabric and batik


Shweshwe fabric was originally manufactured in the UK using an acid discharge printing technique developed by Gustav Deutsch
The patterns proved popular in Africa so when the Lancashire based manufacturer ceased production in the UK, the operation moved to Cape Town and it is now known by the popular brand name Three Cats

I also have an interest in Adinkra symbols and have used them in much of my artwork including this highly stylised painting of a rhubarb leaf and Adinkra symbols

Rhubarb Leaf and Adinkra symbol

Rhubarb Leaf and Adinkra symbol

Adinkras were used as a form of written communication in West Africa during the 1800’s, the geometric shapes express and symbolise various sayings and proverbs.

Another fascinating example of African geometry can be be found via this Ted Talk about African Fractals in buildings and braids by Ron Eglash the author of a book with the same name.

He studied aerial photographs of African settlements and found that some were built around complex fractal geometric shapes, many of which were considered sacred by the villagers.

The talk then goes on to explain how other symbolic traditions could have led to the development of the first form of binary used in computer engineering.

It really is a fascinating talk!!

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Filed under Art, craft, History, Maths, Science, sewing

Art Journaling

Art Journal Page Lady Eternity

Art Journal Page Lady Eternity

During most of January I tried my hand at art journaling. It’s a mixture of art, craft and diary discovered through the millions of Youtube videos dedicated to the hobby.
I aim to make more nature/science inspired pages soon and will post them up here :)
The image above features a character inspired by William Blake’s poem Auguries of Innocence

The page below is dedicated to some country walks I went on with Cha Guy ;)

Art Journal Page First Walks

Art Journal Page First Walks

And the page below is dedicated to a new resident living in my cavity wall and loft who keeps me awake at night, but is soon to be expelled ;)

Art Journal Page The Rodent

Art Journal Page The Rodent

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Filed under Art, Art journaling, craft, experimental, Exploring, local, Nature, paper cut, Science

Colour Infrared Video Imagery

I’ve been experimenting with colour infrared video and photography for some time, photography is easier due to the IR blocking filter on my stills camera being quite weak, plus manipulating RAW images in Photoshop and Gimp using  colour channel swapping is very effective. However video is another matter entirely, the IR blocking filter on my Canon HV40 is quite strong so filming on very bright sunny days is essential, then manipulating the imagery in After Effects can be long and unpredictable, film grain/noise needs to be removed, channel swapping in video is not very clean so many more effects are needed to produce a ‘respectable’ clip.

I’ve put some IR video clips together in this edit to give you an idea of what can be achieved.

Here is a November desktop wallpaper for you, it was shot at the Lea Valley river in East London using a Nikon D70 and a Hoya IR filter.

Click on the picture then again to make it bigger then right click and save.


Filed under Art, experimental, filmmaking, infrared, local, Nature, Photography, Science, Technology, Video

Dragonfly wings

In my endeavour to create and produce more I’ve tried to paint and draw some dragonfly wings


I guess the colours aren’t very realistic but they are fun :) I used inktense pencils by derwent for the rich translucent hues.

My neighbour has a wildlife pond so I’m frequently visited by dragonflies, damselflies and the odd heron, plus the five juvenile foxes that are currently living at the bottom of my garden use it as a drinking pond..


Filed under Art, Nature, Science