Material play: the power of tactility

Stephanie Tudor is fascinated by nature and obsessed with texture. Creating handcrafted, bespoke surfaces for interiors and architecture, she designs to encourage stronger connections between the natural and urban landscape. Working between both art and functional design, the surfaces she creates are engaging and evocative. 

“I try to create surfaces that invite touch,” explains Stephanie. “I feel we are becoming more and more detached from our natural environment, surrounded by the sterile and unsympathetic materials of the technological age. I believe there is a growing desire for more tactility, and a reconnection with the raw beauty found in nature”.

Stephanie is driven to create surfaces imbued with narrative and a sense of play, which both connect us with our immediate surroundings and reconnect us with the natural environment. She works with intriguing combinations of forgotten building materials, by-products of industrial processes and locally sourced natural fibres to challenge our preconceptions of the conventional uses of these materials. Once these are cast within high performance composite plasters that appear as delicate as porcelain, she strips away layers to expose carefully composed hidden elements and hand carved designs inspired by geology, ecology and the rhythms and chaos of nature.

Stephanie has three distinct collections within her surface designs, each focusing on different tactile qualities. Crag utilises coarse aggregates and waste materials, Fibril uses soft yarns and fibres, and Varve features hand carved crevices and undulations. The designs are hugely versatile, and Stephanie thrives on being able to realise clients’ ideas when they come to her with their own unique vision of utilising her surface designs. Having already produced collections of side tables, bespoke wall panels and interior products, Stephanie is now embarking on large-scale projects including bar tops and kitchen work surfaces. Aiming towards architectural applications, Stephanie welcomes commissions and collaborative work, and dreams of creating whole immersive environments within our urban landscape to bring a sense of escapism and play to our daily lives.

Mogees: Playing Materials

Our job is the best in the world! Last week it was paint companies, Supercars, designing for dementia and musical instruments!



I spent a happy hour in the company of 2 super bright and interesting individuals , Bruno the inventor of Mogees and a computer scientist and his Musical adventurer and event producer, Conor. The request was to look for materials to design a musical instrument from. Images of more traditional instruments flicked through my visual rolodex until Bruno placed a small squat but eminently tactile ‘cotton reel’ or Mogees on a table top, connected it to his iPhone, switched on an app and started to ‘play the table’, then a piece of wood and other materials that came to hand. The Mogees picks up and musically translates the frequencies generated by touching, scratching, stroking, drumming the material and it is quite, quite incredible. Take a look at the video and see what I mean. I was committed. The next step is to work with light and video within the musical instrument. And the brief… wait and see...

Mogees Website 


Water Light Graffiti

This material is one that needs to be shared. It may be at face value seem destined for childsplay but it is so very addictive. I can speak with experience as we have a board at The SCIN Gallery and it is more distracting than the daily emails that face us all.



It is the creation of digital artist Andre Fourneau whose initial inspiration came from watching a man create hieroglyphics in dust using a broom. This is ephemeral Art, designed to be an urban tag that disappears to be replaced by something else.  In effect it is a moisture sensitive LED light board. The water creates the electrical charge that then illuminates the LED and the greater the volume of water, the brighter the ‘Art’. At present, the board is with white light but Water Graffiti Colour is currently under development. This new LED matrix is able to memorize and process, using water contact, coloured ‘drawings’ by using your dampened finger to select the colour to initiate the work.  Another future development is ‘Luminous memory’. This is an electronic material that leaves a luminous trail from a light source be it phone screen, torch or lighter. It is as playful and simple as writing your name in sand.


A new addition: The GREEN Room, coming in March to The SCIN Gallery

The Green Room will become the First Independent Clean Tech and Sustainable materials Library and Resource. It will be located within the SCIN™ Gallery, Clerkenwell London. 

The primary aim is to showcase new materials and thinking in this dynamic and somewhat nebulous arena. It is a also aimed at helping to build. It will be the hub of a global community based upon the desire to find ‘Green Clarilty’ Therefore, as part of its manifesto, The Green Room seeks to strip away Corporate labels and encourage debate and interaction at human level fostering and developing many experiences.. In effect ‘,Non-networking’, - simple sharing and learning. 

The Green Room 

  • Offers open source, blue sky thinking to cross fertilize best practice across the board. 
  • Will be both crucible & catalyst for sustainable innovation communication and dialogue. 

The Green Room Materials Library will open with over 300 Materials, all of which, will have been approved by an editorial board and there will be a strong events programme. 


Opening: March 2015. 

Any comments , suggestions, offers of involvement or applications for Material Membership to: Oliver Heath - 

November Thoughts From Annabelle Filer, SCIN Creative Director

Synthetic/Personal DNA 

Last week we had a great discussion with packaging expert Keith Barnes , Chairman of The Institute of Packaging and on the Council of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining or Iom3. He has an incredible materials knowledge and was telling us about a company that is able to put Synthetic DNA onto our personal products for the ultimate in personal security. This tagging has completely fascinated me. 

Part of what we do at SCIN is take a material and look at it laterally. Sometimes this is extremely exciting and others, possibly a bit batty. But it got me thinking… We naturally all started talking about the possibilities of securing your luxury possessions such as your watch but what if this could be used for other security? 

Could you take this, for example, to a school environment? Supposing a child being bullied could have a synthetic DNA on their blazer or shirt and if physically bullied, the perpetrator would get this passed onto them. At the end of the day, anyone with that child’s synthetic DNA could possibly be picked up using UV or simply by passing through a UV light? This probably calls up many objections but interesting idea don’t you think? 


The Green Gym 

A few weeks ago I spent a superb morning having a fairly fierce workout. For 2 plus hours I did squats and pull –ups, lunges and biceps. At the end of my time I and a number of others in the Boot Camp had cleared quite a lot of Heathland of Silver Birch Sapplings that would have prevented the Heath from growing. This aerobic workout was thanks to an invitation from James Latham plc the timber distributors who sponsor the National Forest. It was the perfect few hours; convivial company, hard work and good environmental results. I realized that for the hours spent in the gym, there is an opportunity to explore other ways of getting fit and this is one very rewarding option.

So, here is a call to all and especially the trainers that motivate; Why not establish The Green Gym? – an opportunity to combine a run/workout with work on the land I spent my time at Hicks Lodge, Willesley, Woodside Leicestershire and in the 1980’s it had been a mining landscape, denuded of habitation. Today it is a nature reserve with walks and cycle tracks, and fishing. There is no evidence of its former servitude. It is clean and bright and growing into a beautiful spot to enjoy. Big thanks to Latham’s and in particular the National Forest for including me and opening my eyes . I am glad that I burnt a few calories and stretched a few muscles pulling up Saplings.