My idea started when I was a high school student and wanted to buy leather wallet.

Japanese Handmade Leather Purse

At the time these were very expensive approx $300 ~ $400. Something i could not afford. As a child I loved arts and crafts. It was then i started to think instead of buying the wallet. I could make my very own.

After leaving high school, around 2013 I traveled for a year, visiting Africa, South America and the Asias. This experience was so amazing and inspiring that it reconfirmed my goal to become a designer.

Upon my return home to Japan, I began collecting the tools i would need to start crafting. My first port of call was to see what items I could find around the house. I would then watch hours of videos on the internet learning little by little. 5 years have passed since I started learning to craft leather. It is now my full time job. I get a lot of fulfillment from making my own product and then selling it to customers making them happy too.

Now I would like to extend my craft by learning woodwork so that I can enhance my skills and build products from other materials. Japanese Handmade Leather Purse

I do not like the idea of mass-production and mass-consumption as it leads to a lof of waste. My own philosophy in life is we do not need a lot  to live happily.

My work studio is in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. Sakyo-ku is a very culturally rich part of Kyoto with a lot of positive and creative energy. This is why I choose to be based here.

Japanese Handmade Leather Purse

The leather that i use is Vegetable-tanned leather. It is supple and brown in color, with the exact shade varying. It is the only form of leather suitable for use in leather carving or stamping.

As it is not stable in water; it tends to discolor, giving it a ageing look. So if left to soak and then dried it shrinks and becomes more durable. Also by polishing the leather it gives it a more smooth and glossy finish. Historically, it was occasionally used as Armour after hardening, and it has also been used for book binding.

The design is traditional japaneese‘Kitaura’ – meaning hand stitched.

Japanese Handmade Leather Purse







Kitaura-handmade leather-は「ハンドメイドでしかできないこと」をデザインに落とし込み、
Japanese Handmade Leather Purse

Gratitude: A New Hope …

Gratitude’s something I’ve worked at for a long time, I’ve failed regularly. That’s the truth. Time was an issue. A bad excuse. Knowledge was a barrier. Even worse right? Finally, maintaining the habit of taking the time to be grateful for my life turned the practice into something that started to feel like a total ‘burden’. Yet another thing to squeeze into my already jam packed days. #EPICFAIL

Then I learned that there are ways around all these poor excuses. And they are poor. I finally stopped mentally investing into my deficits and started investing my time into answers. As usual the answer involved learning something new.

My plan is to wipe out all these excuses for you and make a daily gratitude practice something that’s easy and enjoyable for you to do. Something you can do on a daily basis and in such an easy way you’ll enjoy and feel good about doing it. Better yet, you’ll be able to see/track how often you’re doing it, effortlessly, using the principle of visual feedback almost like your score on an Xbox game to motivate you to keep going. How bad ass is that? Apps are so COOL.

We’re going to turn the practice of gratitude into a game. We are going to gamify gratitude. You’re going to ‘play your way’ to successfully incorporating the practice of gratitude in your life to continually enhance it on a daily basis. It’s cumulative. The more you do it, the more it does you. There are so many ways to the top of this mountain so let’s start climbing and discover what works for you, shall we?




Why do it? ‘Convincing’ you part…

Dude, I’ve got s*** to do. This isn’t important. Ok, I get you. Me too. So let’s keep it short and sweet. You can get lists online as long as the M1 and as varied as the sugar in candy crush. All of them show multiple correlated benefits and thus the importance of a daily gratitude practice for your life. Check the links at the end of the article for more info.

Suffice to say the scientific benefits include (but aren’t limited to) the following; exercising more, less physical symptoms, feeling better about your life, more optimistic about your upcoming week, more likely to progress towards your personal goals (academic, interpersonal & health based), higher levels of positive emotional states (alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness etc), being more likely to help and provide emotional support to someone who needed it. You’ll also benefit from ; higher energy moods, greater sense of feeling connected to others, better quality sleep and for kids having more positive attitudes towards their school and families.

Personally, I can’t think of many things in my life currently that do all that and more. Can you? Btw, it costs you NOTHING. Yes NOTHING. Candy crush can cost ALOT. And like I said earlier it’s cumulative. The more you do it, the more it does you. You will want to do it more often. Just like Candy Crush. Wait! No! I didn’t mean that. Seriously! Anyway, let’s quickly move onto how to do it, shall we? Are you ready? Ready, steady…GO!




THIS is how you do it…The MULTIPLE ways to DO gratitude …

There are lots of ways, many places and multiple times in your day you could practice a moment of gratitude. You’ve probably just never considered how or which times and places those could be, most likely because you didn’t realise how easily you can fill that moment with a brief quick discipline to improve your life. People don’t think like this. We slip into mindless trances at times we could do something more useful with our mind and emotions. It’s habit.

So let’s create a new one shall we? I’m sure you know people who do gratitude differently than I’ll outline below so in the days/months ahead, if you find yourself spontaneously doing any of them when you least expect it, enjoy it and experience the feelings of warmth that comes with it, the inner glow of gratitude. When that happens you’ve found something that works for you. That’s all I want to achieve with this article. You’ll have won already. You’re finished, kind of.

Trust your experience and intuition. Follow your instincts. You’ll know when. The moment may find you before you find it. It doesn’t matter. Once you’ve got yourself a gratitude ritual that triggers those feelings you’re one step away from consistency which is tackled easily using a habit tracking app to provide ‘fast feedback’ to help reinforce your new habit of how and when you’ll best be doing gratitude in your life.

I’m going to give you what I’ve termed the fantastic four; 4 different practices that I use based around the work of Roger A. Emmons (one of the researchers in the field) as a way to simply start. Side note: He outlines 10 practices in his book ‘Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier’. These are just the ones I found most useful. Feel free to use your own ingenuity and creativity to consider where/how in your life you could do gratitude more easily, more consistently. Anyway, without further delay here they are; the fantastic four:

The Fantastic Four:

1. Keep a gratitude Journal; List anything and everything you’re grateful for or could be grateful for. Steer away from avoiding too many repetitions as days go by. You want to keep expanding your ‘gratitude map’; things you could be grateful for so your brain learns to seek out what you haven’t considered yet, new mental categories. This way your gratitude catalogue gets bigger on a daily basis. It’s always growing. So pay attention to what you’re not paying attention to. Notice more and you’ll feel more things to be grateful for every day. And say why too because this gives the facts reasons to back them up making them ‘feel more real’; thicker. It’s like the difference between a short and a grande. One packs more of a punch.

This will increase the significance of it to you, enhancing your experience and remembrance of its power. It’s not the iron man suit. It’s much better. See every item you write down like a ‘gift’. Again I use an app for this for ease of execution. So many journal apps exist but personally I use ‘Diaro’ but again you must find what works for you. It’s all about personalising the process. ‘Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own’ – Bruce Lee’s words.

2. 3 questions (Naikan); A Buddhist meditation involving asking 3 question that helps us see how our life’s connect to those of others around us. The questions: (1) What have I received from…? (2) What have I given to…? (3) What troubles and difficulty have I caused…? Relationships are the bulk of human happiness so this practice reconnects you to their importance and significance for your life.

3. ‘Breath of Thanks’; from Dr. Frederic Luskin’s book ‘Forgive for good’. (1) 2-3x a day, stop, close your eyes, look up, take a personal moment to slow down, notice the rise and fall of your breathing. (2) For each of the 5-8 exhalations say thank you to your body, appreciate your life, all the good you do and that others have done for you. Take time to do this. The simple practice of stopping to slow/deepen your breathing itself is therapeutic. Adding a healthy dollop of gratitude via reflection amplifies the beneficial effects for you. Give this gift to yourself. You just have to breathe.

4. Visual reminders; Put ‘gratitude art’ (artwork/items that remind you to be grateful) around a place        where you’d notice it regularly. Bathrooms, lounges, kitchens etc. in whatever form you like. Plaques,        posters, fridge magnets, paper weights, post it notes, e-reminders on mobiles etc. Whatever you want.        What would you want? Do whatever works. Constant reminders will help provoke ‘gratitude thinking’ thus triggering a biochemical release and awareness. Emotionally lighten up your living environment in a cool new way. Use your down time to create more ‘golden time’ for yourself.

That’s it. Hardly a chore right? Remember, you only need ONE. Only one. Remember the benefits. It’s so simple. My suggestion is that 4 is something that you only need to do once. Just set it up and leave it in place. It does all the work thereafter reminding you when you notice it. Play around with numbers 1, 2 and 3. You may end up practicing variations of all of them or stick to just one. It matters not. What does count is to discover what works for you. Create your own remix of 1, 2 and 3 if you like.

Go play. But you’ve gotta start. Once you’ve begun you’ll want to continue to reap the most benefits so here’s a way to maintain the habit. The final bit and then we’re done…




Gamifying gratitude

Let’s talk about feedback. Feedback is critical. It tells you how well you’re doing. When you know you’re doing well you’ll want to keep going. If you don’t know how well you’re doing or how close you are to your destination you’re flying blind and can lose your desire to stick at something. You get lost in the woods without a map and worse without GPS. There’s a reason planes have a dashboard right? And if you try to figure it out without data you’ll be prone to various cognitive biases which all of us are and these can hinder our own progress let alone mess with our self-belief. So let’s stay objective and let’s keep it REAL.

We need a way to look at our results; this avoids wishful thinking and helps us build our habit faster than without it because we’re calibrating to ourselves like a plane calibrates to the landscape using feedback from the dashboard. If you can see how well you’re doing you’ll feel good about it creating a self-perpetuating cycle that motivates you to keep doing something; in this case your gratitude ritual. By contrast the quicker you can see how well you’re not doing, the faster you can correct yourself to get back on track (course correction).

I want you to SEE your progress or lack thereof at a ‘moments glance’ on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, whenever you like, so you can see the BIG picture not just the daily one. That way you see EVERYTHING and even if you miss a day you will know that it’s OK because you’ve hit so many bullseye’s before today and that it’s a minor trip compared to all your wins beforehand. Knowing how well you’re doing is critical to progress. Feedback enhances learning and the more senses you can receive this through the better.

So now you know WHY to do gratitude, the benefits, you’ve chosen your practice(s) and you’ve started. Now you want to turn this into a ritual so it happens daily, every day until its automatic. You need consistency and a sense of reward. We now turn to our mobile phones (shock! Horror!). No, turn tinder off. That’s not what I mean. Read on… A range of apps exist that are free/cost pennies that provide visual tracking of any new habit practice.

I personally use Habit bull (Android) to track my daily gratitude ritual along with various other daily habits. You could also use many other apps on both android and iphones which do the same thing:


Habit bull & some of the others let me set reminders for any habits I want to keep up, tells me how often I’ve done it and my percentage of successful days of doing it compared to all the days I should have. You can even export your results to view them externally. All at the touch of a button. Neat eh? That’s why I use it.

So that’s it. Pick a habit, download an app and start today. The reasons are various and it serves you in experiencing a more pleasurable existence which you can spread to everyone around you. Now go light up the planet by starting with yourself first. Then you just did. Go play…


Links to scientific studies on gratitude:




The Maasai are a proud people with a rich cultural tradition. They continue to live in some of the harshest savannah conditions with poor access to education, medicine and other benefits of the more developed areas. Our communities are based around cattle and the semi-nomadic pastoralist way of life. We have been romanticised in much Western media, and the iconic spear-wielding warriors with their herds on the vast plains, and beautifully be-jewelled women, are classic safari images. And these images are not without some credibility. We are tough and have adapted well for life in these harsh conditions, (particularly the women who are tasked with the majority of the domestic work), and we’ve maintained many of our customs in the face of continued development and change in Kenya.

In a small Maasai village 30 kms from Narok in Kenya. I grew up in the late 1970s as the second youngest of nine children. As a girl I quickly learnt my position within the family and wider community. Formal education was not valued by the Maasai in those days. Tending to the livestock was seen as more important. Education was reserved for males especially those who are regarded as  unskilled in looking after the livestock as it is a very physically demanding job. Even then going to school was seen as a form of punishment. A woman’s role from a very early age in the village would be to learn how to maintain the house, taking care of other siblings and to a lesser extent herding livestock.

masaai tribe

masaai tribe

Within our society women have a subservient position. Girls are often married-off for dowry, from 12 years of age, to much older men, many of whom have several other wives. In a society where the virtues of a Western style education are not rated highly (even for boys), educating girls is hardly considered at all. The law, as it is, states that all children should receive primary education but in practice, in the remote rural areas, girls receive very little, and those that do get a few years are withdrawn from education to be married or work at home when they are 11 or 12 years.


One day the chief came to our village and collected us all to go the school,  i remember being very excited as my dream was to be a ranger with Kenya Wildlife Service. I liked the uniforms. But my grandmother was against me doing anything that meant holding a gun, and advised me to become a teacher. I went to the class and I was taught in Maasai, Swahili and English. I loved school; it was interesting learning something new. Having passed my exams with very high marks,i was offered a place at a National School in Nairobi.  So I trained as a teacher and when I passed my certificate I taught for 5 years in the government Sekenani primary school in the Maasai Mara. It was here, in 1997, that I met my future husband, Chris. A British tour guide bringing tourists to our school. Chris and I moved to the UK in 2001 and now I work part time for the Development Education Centre in Sheffield. I spend a lot of time in South Yorkshire schools talking to children about the reality of life in Kenya.

kids4The small Maasai community of Oldanyati in southern Kenya has many young children with no nearby school. Older kids walk the 7 kms to their primary school but the youngsters stay at home. In 2013 two pupils lost their lives tragically commuting to school. One was drowned in the floods and another was attacked by a lion.

In 2013, my aim was to raise enough money to build, equip and maintain a small learning centre. It will be used as a school for the infant children, and a community-learning centre for the Osotua Women Group. The building will consist of 2 classrooms, a teacher’s room/office, and a kitchen all set in the legal minimum 5 acres of land. The building will also function as a learning centre for the Osotua Women Group. The Women Group will use the school building as a social/community centre for these purposes. It would also be used for adult literacy classes and marketing advice/training for work on income generating projects such as making and marketing their traditional beadwork jewellery and making fly-traps from recycled materials.

The community has already donated the 5 acres of land required for the school and its grounds.
Move forward to 2015, we successfully fundraised in the UK and USA, the 2 classrooms are now built with over 120 children attending the school in the morning and in the afternoon are classes for the women. Now the men are asking when they can learn as they don’t want to be left behind…

This is my story, which is shared by only a few Maasai girls who have been lucky to make it in one way or another.
My determination in making a difference, even for a few women and children, is the main reason behind this Alton Maasai Project. It just shows with determination you can achieve what you aim to do and more.
Keep on persuing your passion and eventually what you thought was a dream piece by piece comes together.

Suma olayioni nisum oltung’ani obo. Suma entito nisum oloosho….

Educate a man, you educate an individual. Educate a woman and you educate a community…



What got me into Yoga

I first started going to yoga around ten years ago when I was at University in Brighton, I’d had some health problems which started just prior to this which led to fatigue, weakness with feelings of brain fog, which made it difficult to concentrate. I was diagnosed with ME (/Chronic fatigue syndrome) and recommended yoga to help ease these symptoms. After I finished University and came back to Sheffield I got more into yoga and decided to train as a teacher. I did this in an Ashram (Hindu monastery) just outside Dehli, which felt like the right thing to do with yoga originating in India. I spent six weeks over there and completed Hatha yoga teacher training. I now take part in yoga classes on a regular basis and feel much stronger physically and mentally through doing yoga. Some of the benefits of yoga include improved posture, flexibility, toning, relaxation and detoxifying the body. I mostly go to hatha classes but also enjoy or have tried Iyengar, Dru, Ashatanga and Kundalini. All classes I’ve been to have included some posture (asana) work as well as some breath work (pranayama).


In a Hatha yoga class a series of postures (asanas) will be carried out to help improve flexibility and balance. It also uses breath work throughout and generally has a relaxation at the end. I go to Sophia’s beginner’s yoga class every Monday and, even though I’m not a beginner, the level which it is taught as is perfect for me. I’ve also enjoyed going to to Eric’s (Sunmoon) and Leonie’s classes.



Yoga in the Adalucia Mountains Spain! (Dancer’s pose – Natarajasana)


Iyengar uses props such as belts, blocks and bolsters which aid with correct alignment in the postures. The Iyengar School in Walkley has lots of classes aimed at different groups, such as therapeutic yoga for people with health problems or serious injuries. I’ve also enjoyed going to Monica’s classes (Zagyoga), who has a new studio at Harland works, on John Street.



“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured” – B.K.S Iyengar


Dru classes usually start with the energy block release system which involves moving different parts of the body to release tension and also includes positive affirmations and flowing sequences. I’ve really enjoyed going to Kellys Classes at Hagglers corner.




Ashatanga yoga, sometimes referred to as Ashatanga Vinyasa is more dynamic and involves synchronising the movement and the breath, it is named after the eight limbs of yoga which is covered in the yoga sutras of Patanjali. I’ve been to Ashatanga classes at various gyms across Sheffield and I’ve been to Reach for other yoga classes and also yoga in Encliffe park for summer solstice and International Yoga day.



Yoga at encliffe park by Yoga at Reach (Warrior pose – Virabhadrasana)


Kundalini focuses on breath and movement with the aim of releasing the energy stored at the base of the spine. I first tried it at Peace in the Park last summer with Nina, who teaches at Breathe Pilates in Broomhill and have since enjoyed going to Emma’s classes a few times.



Kundalini yoga teacher Emma (Tree pose – Vriksasana)

Classes vary from around £5 to £9 drop in and some places offer a reduced rate for booking a block of classes. There are plenty more amazing teachers and classes and also types of yoga around Sheffield at various gyms. There also seems to be more and more yoga studios in and around Sheffield, I’m still looking to try classes at Amys Ashram (Dore), Hot Yoga Sheffield (Crookesmoor) , Instinctive health (Kehlam Island) and Yoga Hut (Meersbrook). Finally, there is also a group on Facebook where people can post about new classes and workshops etc; called ‘Yoga Sheffield’.

Thanks for reading! My details..:)

Facebook : wellnessforwomen

Twitter: rach_yoga

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Sun Salutation sequence – Surya Namaska



Before we go into the how, it’s best to have an understanding of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system

The nervous system can be divided into two parts, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. The level of respective activity of each system dictates many of the functions within the body. When at rest the parasympathetic is more dominant, stimulating digestion, constricting pupils, slowing heart rate, basically channeling the bodies energies into long term activities such as reproduction, muscle growth and fat storage. When the body is stressed the sympathetic system becomes more dominant. Its purpose is to marshall functions of the body which help in dealing with threat, or perceived threat, and this includes raising heart rate, breaking fats into sugars, and dilating the airways; all necessary to fulfil the demands of the fight or flight response. When we are not slobbing about, and not feeling in immediate danger, the opposing systems serve to provide a balance and will work within contextual norms to maintain an optimum eqilibrium.

Various belief and lifestyle frameworks have consciously or unconsciously placed great emphasis upon breathing; Yoga, Tai Chi, Buddhism, and conspicuously when particpants are in very relaxed states their outbreath is particularly elongated. Many religions employ singing, chanting and recitation as part of their prayer, and this unbroken production of noise also requires the outbreath to be extended. When we breathe in we activate the sympathetic nervous system (associated with the stress response) and when we breathe out we activate the parasympathetic system. The consequence being that an elongated out breath is the vehicle which takes us into states of rest and relaxation, and if this is practiced for extended periods the mind is encouraged into the feelings of deep peace often cited by buddhists during meditation, or by Catholics during their liturgy.

We can use this knowledge in our everyday lives to restore ourselves to a relaxed state when things are getting too much or in preparation for a situation we may find challenging. Taking deep inward breaths and letting them out slowly will reduce your heart rate and make you feel more relaxed, a very simple but tried and tested technique people have been using for thousands of years without knowledge of the nervous system to calm their minds.

We develop harmless, if not positive habits throughout our lives; brushing our teeth, driving, exercising. The brain is designed to ‘chunk’ information so that we do not have to think about what we are doing, once an action has been repeated enough it will become habit through chunking, saving the brain time and effort for future recurrences. When an addiction is developed we see that when we complete a particular action dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good, is released. Over time the brain learns that the behaviour makes it feel good and reward pathways are developed to accommodate the developing addiction, similar to the chunking mechanism of habitual actions. In a previous post Generalised Reality Orientation within Hypnotherapy has been discussed. The consequence of the phenomena is relevant in that the individual is removed from their usual environment, this has significant benefits in relation to breaking addictions and habits. A re-cap can be found here:

         Today focusing on some of the conclusions drawn from Lee Robins study of heroin use and addiction among American soldiers in Vietnam.
The use of Heroin among GI’s was highly prevalent with 20% stating they were psychogically addicted and around 23% testing positive prior to returning home. Robins continued to monitor these individuals when back in the states and found that with the correct interventions’ 95% were able to remain free of opiate use compared to a relapse rate of over 65% within the domestic heroin using community. This finding challenged the attitudes of the day, that heroin was a drug which, once addicted, was almost impossible to escape from. So the question arises, what allowed the veterans of the Vietnam war to be particularly successful in going clean?


The answer lay in the environment. While users back in the states were exposed to a consistent environment the veterans’ environment changed drastically. Both habits and addictions are intertwined with our environment, as information becomes chunked, becomes subconscious, more and more of the associated behaviour is given over to the environment. Cue for behaviours lie everywhere, from the doorway at work which is associated with a cigarette, a regular pub with a pint, a friend’s house where heroin is taken. Robins concluded that the environmental stimuli in vietnam was intertwined with heroin use, once the cues associated with using were removed the reward pathways and chunking mechanisms were not being used thus allowing the soldiers an opportunity with which to break from their addictive behaviour.

the mindBy doing things differently and changing routine, habitual and addictive behaviour can be disrupted and new behaviours established. Introducing new activities, or doing regular activities at a different time or place can avoid using the mechanisms the brain has established to perpetuate addiction.

This can take the form of going swimming on tuesdays when ordinarily a person would meet with friends for a drink. Even performing the behaviour with the non-dominant hand can swing the conscious mind into action giving the individual increased control over their actions, leading to a questioning of action.

Collectively we are unaware to the extent our environment governs our actions and thought processes and how much we are influenced by these environmental cues.

Try mixing up your routine and introducing new activities and notice how much more aware you are of your behaviour.

A good measure of awareness is how good is your recollection of events. Try it, you might like it, maybe you will become addicted to variety.

I started my journey as a theatre director in 2014 when I set up my very own creative company, URBAN conceptz Theatre. Times were changing and a recent life changing back injury spurred me on to make the transition from mid career performance artist to that of an struggling emerging director.

For over a decade I had forged a career which saw me travelling the world working for theatre acts, commercial artists and media companies, earning a living doing what I wholeheartedly loved. I was a dancer, turned physical theatre performer who was lucky enough to work consistently across the globe on many exciting projects and productions sustaining a fruitful career for over a decade.

Whilst performing in Munich Germany, I was seriously injured in a aerial accident whilst performing in As The World Tipped with Wired Aerial Theatre.

I sourced out specialists in Munich to treat my back and once flown home received a intensive program of physio and treatment, but the damage was severe and I was given the cold news that I needed to maintain a less physically demanding lifestyle and would inevitably have a lifelong condition with my lower back.

What does a performer do?
A performer who has built his life and reputation around being a robust, highly physical and determined theatrical performer? He sinks… He sulks… He sacrifices… But most of all he assesses the situation, stands back up and dusts off his shoulders from the devastating blow. He retrains, he regroups and recuperates.

It’s been almost three years since my injury and everyday I’m faced with new challenges, new pains and new ways of working. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t have chronic back pain but I’ve re-learnt my body entirely and this has influenced my mind, my work and my approach to creating theatre. I see things differently, I work through things in a obscure manner but I still manage to create… That’s what’s got me noticed, that’s why I’m currently making waves in the Hip Hop Theatre and Movement Theatre realms… That’s what’s got me travelling all expenses paid to beautifully creative places like NYC working with creative artists and inspirational individuals, all within 12 months of launching my company.








I may be injured, I may have been knocked back a million times… but I’m forever evolving, I’m constantly seeking inspiration and advice and I’m always willing to dust my shoulders off and get back up.

Everyday has the potential to be the greatest day of your life.

Until next time… Chase your potential.


Rev Austin Inceptionism

Rev Austin Inceptionism

You’ve probably seen these crazy psychedelic pictures all over the internet over the past month or so. If not then prepare to trip, but don’t worry you won’t need any hallucinagenic substances or yogic meditation for this one.

So what is it, how does it work, and how can I do it to my own photos? I’m presuming those are the questions you’re asking anyway.

I first came across this effect via Google’s Research Blog and it is created using Artificial Neural Networks which mimic biological neural networks such as the brain or the central nervous system. An ANN is typically made up of around 10-30 layers of artificial neurons, images are fed through the input layer and then pass through each subsequent layer before finally reaching the output layer. Each layer tries to pick out certain attributes from basic lines and edges to basic shapes such as squares and circles all the way to complex structures such as dogs, buildings and birds. These ANNs “learn” what to look for in an image by being sent millions of images and being told what each image shows. The network then tries to learn the “essence” of each object it is shown and learns the specific features that belong to each type of object.

Inceptionism via Google

Inceptionism via Google

Each layer of artificial neurons looks for more and more detail as an image is passed through, so the earlier layers only check for edges, lines and corners, whereas the middle layers will check for more complex structures like basic shapes or components and then the final layers put this information together to try and work out what it is that the image is showing.

This effect works by sending an image into one of these networks, picking a layer and getting it to enhance whatever it thinks it has seen. The enhanced version of the original image is then fed back through the network and is asked once again to enhance what it thinks it has seen. As each layer detects different levels of detail, the complexity of the final image depends on which layer is selected to enhance, so if you pick one of the first layers that recognises edges and lines, it will enhance those edges and lines until after a few iterations you get this kind of brush stroke effect.

DreamDeep via Google

DreamDeep via Google

Seurat Dream Deep via Google

Seurat Dream Deep via Google

As the image is enhanced and fed back through the network, the network will start to pick up more and more on the parts of the image that it has already enhanced, so if you keep using the same layer then the features that are enhanced on the initial iteration will be more and more prominent after each iteration. Therefore if you select one of the final layers that detects more complex structures such as dogs, birds, buildings etc. then if the network identifies part of a cloud as part of a bird on first inspection, it will enhance the bit that it thinks looks like a bird so that it looks more like a bird. Then each time the image is fed through it will become more and more convinced that it’s looking at a bird rather than part of a cloud, so that part of the cloud will start to look more and more like a bird. This is how we end up with these kind of surreal images with strange dog-slugs and bird-rats appearing as if from nowhere.

Dog Knight via Google

Dog Knight via Google

Phew! Got that? I hope so. So now we know what’s going on we can look at some of, what I think, are the best examples of this technique in use. A great example, even if kind of obvious in hindsight, is this Github user’s demonstration of how to run video through one of these neural networks. He used a scene from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, and if the original film was far too trippy for you then probably best not to watch this. If however you’re like me and absolutely loved the film, then this is quite the treat. The constant shifting and changing of the shapes and animals is mesmerising. It also helps that he used one of my favourite scenes from the film.

Another great idea, but one that I’m not gonna post here, was to run pornography through an ANN. Just a heads up this is definitely NSFW so  DO NOT CLICK HERE if you don’t want to see filth. You’ve been warned.

This video has been made by running an image of just some standard white noise through the neural network and then showing the output at various stages through the layers, pretty interesting considering it starts out just white noise and then the rest is completely created by the computer’s imagination.

And here’s another creepy, trippy, weird video I enjoyed that used this technique.

If you want any more information then check out Google’s Research Blog HERE, they’ve broken it down with lots of the imagery that we stole for this post, but more.

Also I found this chap’s blog post about it and his interpretations pretty fascinating too, he looks further at how similarly these artificial neural networks work compared to our own brains. Essentially our brains do exactly the same thing, examine the basic shapes and structures of what our eyes and sending it, check them against everything it has ever seen before now and tries to work out what it is we’re looking at. At the very least this video he made using this technique should be enough to convince you of it’s radness.

There are a couple of websites already set up that you can upload your own pictures to such as DreamDeeply but there’s usually quite a queue and it can take a while for them to get back to you. If you want to delve deeper and you know a bit about coding you can have a go yourself (I’ve not tried it as it looked way to daunting for a basic like me) using this link HERE!

Welcome to the TTC x Hantu Blog! To celebrate the launch, we have for you a special mix by The Tuesday Club’s longest serving resident, Andy H. This is the first in a new series of mixes commissioned by The Tuesday Club and Hantu. Celebrating 16 years of The Tuesday Club, this mix showcases some of the biggest tunes to be played at the club over the past 16 years. We caught up with Andy to get to know a little more about Sheffield’s hardest working DJ:

You’re a very diverse DJ in the sense that you adapt your set to a certain crowd by playing different genres. Which genre is your favourite to DJ & why?

I always enjoy the hip hop style of mixing, its one of the hardest styles to mix but gives the most scope to really play about with the tracks. Hip Hop DJing really pushed forward the whole art of Djing starting in the late 70s but every bit of new technology we use today is still based around the early hip hop DJs. After Hip hop I would have to say Jungle I love the energy of the raw production which makes it just really good fun to play.

Following from the previous question, is your favourite genre to DJ also your favourite to listen to, or do you have some guilty pleasures?

I love all the early Dance/Jungle/Rave whatever you want to call it. Its rare to hear the very early stuff out in the clubs and its not always suitable for the dancefloor but its what got one of this things that really got me into the music so I always make sure I have a few mixes on CD in the car for late night motorway journeys back from playing gigs.

Do you prefer to mix on vinyl or CDJ, and why?

Vinyl Serato any day, there is just so much more you can do with it. I learnt on vinyl so it just feels comfortable. Although these days getting a proper vinyl set up is rare in most clubs. If im warming up for someone who used CDJs Im happy to use them but if you want a proper show its got to be vinyl.

You’re a Tuesday Club resident, what for you makes the Tuesday Club so special, and what is your most memorable night there?

Its the variety of music that makes the night strong. One week to the next can be completely different but they all feel to fit within a certain sound. Everyone who comes to play knows what the night is about and its reputation so people normally come prepared to bring something special. There is so much work that goes into the events from the team behind the scene too and I think that has a massive part to play in shaping the events.

There have been so many amazing artist through the years, it very hard to pick one. Mark Ronson was a special night. He played an amazing set and was a very good DJ but was really down to earth. I also think the live shows always stand out, Roots Manuva, Quantic, Bonobo, Major Lazer, etc. We are lucky as a night that we can switch between a DJ and live set up so easily.

If you could suggest your top three clubs and/or club nights in Sheffield (Past and Current) what would they be and why?

Outside of TTC I have really enjoyed playing at The Quality Control nights. Supporting De La Soul last month was amazing.

I know they aren’t doing as much at the moment but Thirsty Ear always book people I really want to see. They have great taste in music.

As for a past event I have to say NY Sushi, they brought so many incredible DJs to Sheffield when I was really trying to get up to speed on my own DJing and I watched so many world class DJs close up and learnt so much.

Check out what Andy is up to this summer over on his Website or on Facebook.