Matchbox city - creating imagined cities out of found materials

(Photo credit: Anna White)

A few weeks ago we got contacted by a project that totally blew us away. A project that not only is really inspiring but is also helping the homeless. 

Matchbox City by Connecting Threads is a collaboration between community artists Becky Waite and Emily Hayes and is funded by Arts Council England. It uses sculpture, animation and storytelling to explore the current housing crisis with people across the North West of England.

The idea is that participants create imagined cities out of found materials to tell the story of figurines made from matchsticks (and they used a little sugru too!)

They have held creative sessions with people focusing on sculpture and animation in partnership with organisations and people affected by homelessness.

"Over the summer we have held a series of public workshops and pop-up indoor and outdoor installations - this where sugru has come in handy! We have used lots of it to make the little matchstick people stand up on lampposts and bollards and remain firm in the elements."  - Becky Waite

They have held workshops over the summer in Liverpool and Rochdale and at the People's History Museum in Manchester! 

Check out their video 'Rumble in the cardboard jungle', an animation created by residents from James Lee House during a series of creative workshops with Connecting Threads. "James Lee House is a Salvation Army service providing accommodation and advice for single homeless people in Warrington."

Matchbox City will be part of an arts day event at the Booth Centre in Manchester on the 26th September, celebrating the arts that the centre has been involved in over the past 6 months!

Introducing S'up - a spoon for shaky hands

We love a good Kickstarter campaign! S'up has been developed by Grant and 4c Design and not only is it a seriously clever invention, but it also helps people and allows them to eat food that they wouldn't have been able to before. 

"An inclusive spoon designed to reduce spillage, promote social interaction and make a wider range of food accessible."

S'up has been tested with people with cerebral palsy and the idea is that it would also help people with essential tremor. After giving Grant (as seen in video) a couple of spoons with selected spoon heads and handles to use for Christmas 2013, they then knew they could help others!

So they have set up their Kickstarter to cover the cost of manufacturing, but aim to look at furthering the product if they go beyond their target. 

Check out their Kickstarter page to learn more about this awesome project and share it where you can. 

GiveMeTap - the new way to get free water refills

We love people that have helping others at the heart of what they do. GiveMeTap allows people to access free water and also reduces the amount of waste going to landfill.

"We're making it easier for you to stay hydrated when on the go and help provide access to clean water to people in Africa."

Edwin Broni-Mensah started GiveMeTap when he was still at university. He found that he felt awkward when asking places for tap water and couldn't afford as a student to buy plastic bottled water. Combining this frustration with his awareness of people around the world with no access to clean water at all, he is now on a mission to hydrate the world. 

The idea is that you get your GiveMeTap bottle then download the GiveMeTap free water app, which shows you where participating places are. Once you have both of these you can then get free water refills at those places and your purchase of the bottle helps fund water pumps in Africa. Pretty amazing!

All about GiveMeTap:

Visit the GiveMeTap website to "buy a bottle and save a life."

This year we're supporting Waste less, Live more Week (22-28 Sept). This is Keep Britain Tidy’s annual awareness week, which this year will bring together people and organisations who plan to host a week of events around the 2014 theme - Be Resourceful (Download your pack here) and we want you to love your stuff! 


Meet Stella and her awesome sugru hacks!

Meet the Bartletts... Sarah (mum), Myles (Dad) and their lovely kids Stella and Oliver! 

We first discovered these lovely people after Myles tagged us in the Instagram post below.  As you can imagine we were just blown away when we saw it. 

"Stella uses an elevator to get from our front door to the drive in front of our house. She is profoundly weak so the conventional button to raise and lower the lift did not work for her. I created this new switch adaptation so she can apply more force and get herself up and down [independence is very important and anything we can do to give her a measure of some is priceless….. so thanks SUGRU!"

After a few emails with Myles, we quickly realised that Myles' sugru-ing didn't end there... 

Stella has SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) — a degenerative muscle disease that affects 1 in every 6000 babies born worldwide. SMA attacks the nerves that control voluntary movement like crawling, walking, head and neck control and even swallowing.

"... because stella is profoundly weak and her condition is always changing, all of her equipment needs to be customised. sugru has proven to be an amazing tool for us. From general repairs and cable management on her medical equipment to fully custom solutions".

Here are some of the other brilliant ways Myles is using sugru to make life better for Stella. 

1. Customising a wheelchair controller

2. Adapting cutlery to be easier to hold 

3. Adapting a suction cup

"Stella has trouble swallowing. As a consequence she needs to be suctioned. The paediatric suction supplies all have a thumb hole that you cover to create the seal in the circuit. 

Here is Stella's incredible story...

Myles and his wife Sarah also run a blog with updates on Stella. Visit for more information about the disease and how you can get involved or donate.

There are loads more sugru uses in our hacks for disability section.

Hack your game controllers with sugru

All true gamers know that controllers are the most important part of gaming. It's the one thing in the game that's totally within our control, making every move (okay that's deep, but you get what we're saying...)

So we've put together examples of the best controller mods we've seen!

Add a customised grip to your controller

Here's three examples of how a custom grip can be made to fit the type you need:

Aaron put sugru onto the controller then held it as though he was playing it to mould a grip to suit him!

Add more grip to a Playstation navigation controller

Jason found that his controller was slipping in his hand. So he used sugru to coat the underside and then  added texture to it to give it grip.  

Make joysticks easier to use (and more comfy)

Mod the whole controller!

Add trigger and bumper extensions to your controller

Add trigger stoppers to your controller

Add raised triggers to your controller for ease of use

Rickie added extensions to his controller to make them easier to access and use!

Add texturised sugru to your controls

John added some texturised sugru to his controller, giving it better traction. 

Add ergonomic buttons 

Ash was gutted when a dog knocked his console onto the floor leaving it cracked, so he repaired the case and then used sugru to add on buttons and joysticks!

Repair broken joysticks

Seeing what Joe has done, you can always fix a broken joystick!

Make a DIY gamer clip!

Dale didn't want to have to pay lots of money to have a Gameklip imported from America to the UK, so he made his own version (and you can't tell the difference!)

Help customise a games controller for those less-abled

Isn't this amazing?! Mark has re designed his controller 3 times to make it so that he can still play games after having a stroke!

Add grip on keyboard keys

Tomy used sugru to add grips to his keyboard for more solid control in games.

"I definitely feel at an advantage to other gamers ;)"

sugru rubber control pads on android touchscreen 

Ben used sugru on a screen protector for his phone so that he had controls in the best places for mobile phone games!

Old school gaming with NES controllers!

Instructables user sillyzombie666 came up with some cool gamer hacks. "I got an NES controller a while back in a deal and it was pretty beaten up."

So he used sugru to make new joysticks and buttons, leaving it looking as good as new ;)

Adapt a phone keyboard for gaming 

"…could sugru help me slay my foes?!"

Aaron came up with an awesome sugru hack for his mobile phone that allows him to play games on his phone with ease. He even won the Lifehacker MacGyver Challenge!

To do this he wrapped his phone in cling film and made an impression of his phone and began pressing his thumbs where he thought the buttons should go. 

"I used beads as buttons, but the D-pad needed to be special…iconic…so I salvaged the D-pad from an old broken controller. I cut small circular holes in the sugru where I wanted the buttons to sit, cut out a + where the D-pad would sit and placed them all together!" 

For more ideas of how sugru can help your gadgets head over to sugru Gadgets & Tech.

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