Archive for the ‘Workshop Insiders’ Category

11
Oct

Visiting the WandMakers

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As I spent some days in the UK last week for the Software Craftsmanship 2010 conference, I took the opportunity to visit the Wand Makers Chris Barnardo and Richard Blakesley in Bishops Stortford, Chris’ hometown.

The Original Kymera Wand Frame with parchment, wand, crest and tibetan coins.

The Original Kymera Wand Frame with parchment, wand, crest and tibetan coins.

They picked me up from the station and we went directly to Chris’ home talking all the way about wands, kids and much more. On entering the appartment it struck me that this was really an inventors home. Lots of magic wands everywhere, magic candles and self made items of any kind.

While sipping on a coffee we continued to chat about inventing and business. I was also shown the Leopard Gecko who had recently suffered from an attack of his food (locusts). While wandering through the living room I found so many items that Chris created either for his kids, his dadcando site or for himself. That was truly amazing. I really like how he decorated his home with those Wand Company items and took some photographs.

The Counter used at the Birmingham Fair complete with secret compartments

The Counter used at the Birmingham Fair complete with secret compartments

We left for lunch at PizzaExpress which was really delicious. Then they took me back to the rail station to get in time to the airport to catch my plane home. Thanks a lot for this great time. Looking forward to visit you again.

The Wand Shelf with silver dragon wand stand and Kymera and Kandela Wands

The Wand Shelf with silver dragon wand stand and Kymera and Kandela Wands


At home several packages of Kandela Magic Candles waited for me to be smiled at and for you to order from us.

The book of Secrets, who knows what secrets a wand maker keeps?

The book of Secrets, who knows what secrets a wand maker keeps?

18
Sep

Making Of The Kandela Imagery

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Wandmaker Chris Barnardo shared the secret of how he skillfully created the new Kandela page for the thewandcompany.com website.

The idea of the new page was to show the candle resting on the original web page as if the original webpage
was real.

Kandela on top of Manual Parchment

Kandela on top of Manual Parchment

The manual text had to be rewritten to fit with the Kandela and then written in such a way that even when partially obscured by the wand and candle it still made sense.

In order to get the most realistic looking 3D effect, I printed out the side elements and photographed them at an angle under a piece of old parchment paper.

I also got some real 1890s Tibetan coins from India off ebay and photographed them, because the originals were
just illustrated and I thought that they would not look real enough for this image.

I used all the elements to make up a real tableaux for the Autumn Fair show as wall decoration, and perhaps the sort of thing that you might find in a gentleman’s study or the drawing room of a Victorian room.

Richard and I scoured an old antiques warehouse and bought an old frame. I stained and polished the frame with French polish and then had a plaque made, built a shadow box to go behind it and build up the real webpage tableaux inside.

The effect is great and the shadow box is now hanging in my lounge.

Kymera Tableaux in Frame

Kymera Tableaux in Frame

18
Sep

Old Parchment containing Kandela Instructions

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The Wand Maker Chris Barnardo found this old piece of parchment containing instructions for the Kandela (magical wand with enchanted candle).

Perhaps it is useful for you too.

Antique Parchment with Kandela Instructions

Antique Parchment with Kandela Instructions

Chris also copied the text from the old parchment, so that it is more readable:

One of the most basic and yet desirable uses to which a wand may be put, is
the creation of light. Casting illumination into dark corners brings
comfort, often banishes the unknown and frightens away all manner of
malevolent spirits and creatures. The Kandela wand and candle permits the
novice witch or wizard the ability to master quickly this amazing spell.

Charms to create light

Fashioned from a specially created polymeric ivory analogue, you will love
the quality look and feel of the wand. Further, upon ownership you will be
pleasantly surprised to discover that the Kandela wand has been thoroughly
pre-trained with all the commands required to work its light-creating magic.
Thus very little practice will be needed to master its wily ways.

A single flick is all that is required to cause the candle to light. This
magical feat may be performed at up to a distance of four large paces, and
is quite sure to amaze and delight all onlookers, regardless of their age.

Blowing the candle out The Kandela employs a peculiar form of luminous
enchantment that provides light but not heat. Nevertheless this curious
device flickers exactly like a candle and may even be blown out in much the
same way that one might extinguish a traditional candle.

Due to its enchanted nature the candle may also be put out by the use of the
wand, in such a way that it does not extinguish immediately, but remembers
the command for a period of 60 minutes, at which point it automatically goes
out without any further instruction from the wand or the wand bearer. This
capacity makes it ideal as a bedroom adornment, as the beneficial effects of
falling asleep bathed in the gently flickering glow of soft candlelight are
well known.

Kandela-Pack-FRONT-v3

Today, on Sept 15th, the wand makers, Chris Barnardo and Richard Blakesley, wizards of The Wand Company, funding dragon Duncan Bannatyne of Dragon’s Den fame and the Firebox crew, present the new magical device.

The Kandela

The Kandela is a great, magical package of a Magic Wand and a vanilla colored candle. The wand has an antique bone finish and is set with a blue jewel.

Actually it is a infrared remote control wand, a simpler, non-programmable version of the Kymera Wand and an infrared controlled, blow-out LED candle.

You can use the wand to lighten and extinguish the candle. It can also control how long the candle burns. But like any real candle it will cease to glow when you blow at it.

Duncan Bannatyne and the Wand Makers present the Kandela

Duncan Bannatyne and the Wand Makers present the Kandela

Win a Kandela

When you’re active on twitter, your chances to win a Kandela from us are high. Drawings are held every month.

Product Video

As I didn’t get a sample in time for recording a product video I just to my stock Kymera Wand and used a set of IR candles to demonstrate the "Lumos" and "Nox" spells. Please keep in mind – this is a different set of candles that works a bit differently, so it is just a substitute for a real Kandela.

We’ll offer the Kandela as soon as it is available for resale, for about EUR 39,50. If you want to preorder a Kandela just comment on this post and well figure it out. Firebox also offers it for pre-order right now.

The Kandela Candle and Wand

The Kandela Candle and Wand

Kandela User Manual

Kandela User Manual Illustrations

Kandela User Manual Illustrations

KANDELA

Magical Wand & Enchanted Candle

Light the candle with a flourish of your wand, blow it out just like a real candle.

The Wand Company Ltd
Makers of the World’s finest Magical Instruments since AD 2009

BEFORE FIRST USE

Install batteries (not included) in the wand and candle before use. Use only alkaline LR03 (AAA) batteries, and do not mix old and new batteries.

OPERATION

The wand does not have a power button; once you have installed batteries in the wand, it is automatically ready to use.

After installing the batteries turn the candle on at the power button located on the candle base; the candle will illuminate. Blow the candle out to put it into standby mode.

Use a short sharp flick of the wand to illuminate the candle from up to 4m away.

The Kandela candle flickers just like a real candle.

To extinguish the candle either:
a) blow it out
b) wiggle the wand while pointing it at the candle within 4m of the candle
c) a 60 minute sleep timer mode may be activated by tapping the wand twice on the crisscross area whilst pointing it at the candle when the candle is illuminated. When sleep timer mode is activated the candle will automatically extinguish after 60 minutes.

To extend battery life, always turn the candle off at the power button when not in use.

TECHNICAL

  • Wand needs 2x AAA (LR03) alkaline batteries
  • Candle needs 2x AAA (LR03) alkaline batteries
  • Batteries are not included
  • The wand is about 35.5cm long
  • The candle has a diameter of 11 cm and a height of 6.5cm
Kandela Manual Front
Kandela Manual Back

As the Kymera Magic Wand and a new product were shown at the Birmingham Autumn Fair, I asked the Wand-Maker Chris Barnardo to send me a report of his experiences there.
I was overwhelmed by the amount of information I got back. Big Thanks to Chris for taking the time to write it down.

Report from the Birmingham Autum Fair

Awareness and Dragons Den Effect

Both products performed flawlessly extracting squeals of delight from anyone
that stopped by the stand to have a go. Passing interest was limited as the
stand was crowded out by people who had targeted us to come and see the wand
for the express purpose of stocking it. I guess it was a huge benefit that
Dragons’ Den had been aired only a couple of weeks before. This is one of
the luckiest things to happen to us. If it had been aired after the show,
awareness of the wand would not have been as high. If it had been aired the
week of the show we would not have been able to cope with both. In business
you always need a bit of luck.

Sir Barons Study

Sir Barons Study

Magical Applicances

On the TV on our stand we had a dvd playing a loop from a promotional video
of surfing huge waves in Hawaii (I think, although Richard will know
exactly), that incredible footage was a draw and the TV was very useful to
demonstrate the functions of the wand. We also had what looked like a real
fire. It was a Dimplex Optimist and uses atomised water to look like smoke
and when lit by hidden light, like flames. Quite convincing it is too and if
we had been agents for the fire I’m sure we could have sold a load of those
too. The fire had the benefit of being remote control so the Kymera had no
trouble learning the codes and with a simple pull back gesture we were able
to put out the fire. The powerhouse of any demonstration was the iPod dock.
The iconic iPod has an interface made for the wand. The wands 13 functions
map well to the iPod interface and allow a great deal of control. We played
magical type music from the playlist that we had used in the Dragons’ Den.

Great Support by Dawn

Richard and I were joined by my partner Dawn on the stand for the whole
show. Dawn works in the Wand Company on the financial side making sure that
the accounts are kept up to date and as a result of the show is also working
with some new customers. Dawn was a great asset on the stand, capable and
confident there was no way Richard and I could have handled the wave after
wave of interested prospects on our own. The show is not one for the general
public, it is a trade show, so each person that comes to the stand is a
potential customer and needs individual demonstration and a discussion about
their particular needs.

Dimishing Stocks

After the first day it was clear that we were going to sell out of the stock
we had in the UK. Signing up numerous resellers who wanted stock immediately
gave us the pleasure and problem of working out how we were going to supply
them. Luckily we had been holding a large number o units for a French
customer of ours and a quick phone call assured us that he wouldn’t mind if
we dipped into his stock, in the knowledge that more stack was arriving next
week (before he needed it). By the end of the second day we were getting
dangerously close to selling out of that too.

Birmingham Autumn Fair Hall 5

Birmingham Autumn Fair Hall 5

After Fair

Long days on the the tiny stand were tiring but huge fun. We didn’t stay at
the NEC but at Birmingham’s trendy Mailbox. So at the end of each day we
drove back there and had a nice meal and then staying up until 2.30am
writing invoices to make sure that our customers got the best service. We
had thought that we might go out and explore Birmingham, but we had so many
emails to catch up on and so many invoices to write that there was not time
for that.

Trade Shows

Autumn Fair was a test for us, it was our first trade show and we wanted to
see if it was going to be worth doing Spring Fair 2011, which is much
bigger. We had a great time, we did a sizable amount of business, we signed
up a good number of new customers and made some heavyweight contacts that
will result in big sales later, so all in all a great success and even
discounting the result slightly for the exceptional effect of Dragons’ Den
(which of course no other subsequent show will have directly) we have to do
more of this sort of thing and Spring Fair looks like a definite date in the
calendar.

Preparing the booth

Preparing the booth

Notes about the stand itself

Given its small size (perhaps the smallest at Autumn Fair, 1m x 3m) we
managed to pack a lot into it. The design itself was carfeully though
through and I build a special faux old bookcase with a hollow cupboard (and
locakable door) behind and there was the fire place, which itself is very
big. So to make sure that it would all fit and to help with the design, I
built a one tenth scale model. It was very useful in deciding what extra
accessories to get. I attach a picture of the stand model.

Stand Model 1 in 10 Scale

Stand Model 1 in 10 Scale


Richard has tweeted pictures of the empty space and the stand build and the final stand
on @thewandcompany.

Chris Barnardo

So Chris and Richard the Wand Makers from The Wand Company, took the step and offered investors a possibility to invest their money in Magic.

The Dragons were left spellbound by duo Richard Blakesley & Chris Barnardo and their universal remote control which looks like a magic wand.

Well done Wand-Makers, I hope the investor money will allow you to continue to invent and create such awesome products. All the publicity through the show should empty your stocks quickly.

You can see the video here:


If you don’t know Dragon’s Den Show on BBC TWO – here is a short description from their website:

First launched in Japan, Dragons’ Den is now an international brand with versions airing in countries across the globe.
Entrepreneurs pitch for investment in the Den from our Dragons, five venture capitalists willing to invest their own money in exchange for equity.
Since series five, the five Dragons have been Duncan Bannatyne, James Caan, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis.

Read the rest of this entry »

I just noticed that the wandmakers moved to a new twitter account @thewandcompany. So if you want to follow the news from their workshop just add them to your list of daily updates.

The old account @The_WandCompany is discontinued.

I already changed the twitter widget of kymera-wand.com to point to the new account. So you also stay informed if you visit us regularly.

11
May

Wand Balancing Trick presented by Charlie

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Wand creator Chris Barnardo has the wand supermodel Charlie present the newest magic trick that you can do with the Kymera Wand. Balance it with just one finger. Have fun.

Charlie also presents the Kymera Wand in this unique collection of high quality images provided by TheWandCompany.

Chris and Richard published a whole lot of beautifully crafted image and animated resources for the press and resellers of the Kymera Wand.

We’ll publish a post with some background information of the making of of those gorgeous images later this month.

If you want to point to the Kymera Wand site you can use one of the eye catching moving images.



While looking at the signature of Sir Richard Barons’ letter, I felt something not quite right. The signature didn’t look like the name at all.

But it looked like the name, the wand maker Chris Barnardo used for several years to present his creative projects on instructables.

Thats Kaptin Scarlett for you. And here is how he got his name (from the beautifully made description of the making of theGolden Filigree Dragon’s Eggcase:

After our extensive journey, our supplies were running low and in order to finish the presentation case we used to store and later show the egg, the luscious scarlet velvet lining of my favourite all-weather coat had to be cut up for to make the pillow covering. I made such a fuss over this calamity that the rest of the party nicknamed me Kaptin Scarlet, and name that has endured to this day.

velvet scarlett eggcase box

velvet scarlett eggcase box

Of the many projects he presented there, the mentioned one as well as those may be of interest to the dear reader:

Even more projects of the Wand Makers inspiration can be found on the amazing DadCanDo site that is dedicated to parents caring for the fun and joy in the lives of their children.

Especially the Wizadry and Magic and the Dragonry categories offer a lot to the lovers of these fantastic things. But it is worth to explore the whole site for lots of ideas and inspiration.