Hazel Williams Laser Cut Design

Today we had a visit from Hazel Williams, who has been running her own laser cutting design business in Princes Risborough for the last five years or so.  Hazel has a beautiful range of designs which she sells on Folksy and on her own website at www.hazelwilliams.net. She uses a smaller version of the Trotec laser cutting machines that we have here at D-Lab, and was excited by the possibility of being able to work with some more elaborate, expansive designs, or of being able to use our machines for larger print runs to gear up for some of the shows she attends. Our Trotec SP500 machine has a working area of up to 1245mm x 710mm, so if you are operating a small laser cutter at home and want to be able to get access to a large machine for occasional usage do get in touch.

 Hazel's Laser Cut Thatched Cottage

Hazel's Laser Cut Thatched Cottage

Social Incubation to Drive Local Innovation

Article on using Social Incubation to Drive Local Innovation by Gabriel Seidman and Teresa Chahine at the Stanford Social Innovation Review. A look at why and how social innovation can catalyze solutions for local problems from within the community, rather than by importing ideas from the outside.

Great article.

The Case for Working with Your Hands: Or Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good

It's time to rethink our attitudes to work.

For too long we have convinced ourselves that the only jobs worth doing involve sitting at a desk. Generations of school-leavers head for university lacking the skills to fix or even understand the most basic technology. And yet many of us are not suited to office life, while skilled manual work provides one of the few and most rewarding paths to a secure living.

Drawing on the work of our greatest thinkers, from Aristotle to Heidegger, from Karl Marx to Iris Murdoch, as well as on his own experiences as an electrician and motorcycle mechanic, Matthew Crawford's irreverent and inspiring manifesto will change the way you think about work forever.

Royal Society for the Arts - Creative Influences

In the 2014 RSA Chairman’s Lecture, Sir Martin Davidson, CEO of the British Council, examines the UK’s creative assets amid the race for global relevance.

The UK is rightly proud of its creative heritage and the continuing artistic and cultural activity of its people.

Sir Martin Davidson asks whether creativity offers the UK a way ahead in an increasingly dangerous international environment.


The Craftsman

Richard Sennett's book - 'The Craftsman' is an excellent book on the subject of making.

Provocative and enlightening, Richard Sennett's The Craftsman is an exploration of craftsmanship - the desire to do a job well for its own sake - as a template for living.

Most of us have to work. But is work just a means to an end? In trying to make a living, have we lost touch with the idea of making things well?

Pure competition, Sennett shows, will never produce good work. Instead, the values of the craftsman, whether in a Stradivari violin workshop or a modern laboratory, can enrich our lives and change the way we anchor ourselves in the world around us.

The past lives of crafts and craftsmen show us ways of working - using tools, acquiring skills, thinking about materials - which provide rewarding alternative ways for people to utilise their talents. We need to recognize this if motivations are to be understood and lives made as fulfilling as possible.

'Lively, engaging and pertinent ... a lifetime's learning has gone into the writing of this book' 
  Roger Scruton, Sunday Times

'An enchanting writer with important things to say' 
  Fiona MacCarthy, Guardian

'Enthralling ... Sennett is keen to reconnect thinking with making, to revive the simple pleasure in the everyday object and the useful task. There is something here for all of us' 
  Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

'A masterpiece' 
  Boyd Tonkin, Independent

Makers by Chris Andersen


If a country wants to remain economically vibrant, it needs to manufacture things. In recent years, however, many nations have become obsessed with making money out of selling services, leaving the real business of manufacturing to others.

Makers is about how all that is being reversed. Over the past ten years, the internet has democratised publishing, broadcasting and communications, leading to a massive increase in the range of participation in everything digital - the world of bits. Now the same is happening to manufacturing - the world of things.

Chris Anderson, bestselling author of The Long Tail, explains how this is happening: how such technologies as 3D printing and electronics assembly are becoming available to everybody, and how people are building successful businesses as a result. Whereas once every aspiring entrepreneur needed the support of a major manufacturer, now anybody with a smart idea and a little expertise can make their ideas a reality. Just as Google, Facebook and others have created highly successful companies in the virtual world, so these new inventors and manufacturers are assuming positions of ever greater importance in the real world.

The next industrial revolution is on its way.

Rise of the Creative Classes by Richard Florida


The 'Rise of the Creative Classes' - Richard Florida. Recommended book for all Makers and Creators. 

“The Rise of the Creative Class is an insightful portrait of the values and lifestyles that will drive the 21st century economy, its technologies and social structures. To understand how scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other self-motivated, creative people are challenging the traditional structures of the 20th century society, read this book. It will convince you that success in the future is not about technology, government, management or even power; it is all about people and their dynamic and emergent patterns of relationships.” — Lewis M. Branscomb, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University