Friday, December 17, 2010

moondog moment!

Machines were mice and men were lions once upon a time. But now that it's the opposite it's twice upon a time.

Friday, December 03, 2010

why the country remains unable to move...

A colleague and I have finally worked out why it is that roads in Scotland have remained unsalted during the recent cold spell: it is because Alex Salmond wants to be able to get about and he's worried that he might dissolve into a puddle of slime.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Look who made the front page of the SNAG website!

I am so pleased about this.

Friday, November 26, 2010

seated at the pianoforte...

Fans of Radio 4's long-running comedy of obscurity, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue might be interested to know that a whole load of the old episodes are available on

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

nightmare event!

One of my students asked me to set a very large - 6ct - ruby for her as she was nervous about doing it. She had made the setting and it fitted very nicely, so I had no fear about doing it. Just as I was gently levelling the stone in the setting...

Polysynthetic Twinning Catastrophe Part 2

A very fine example of polysynthetic twinning and bad lapidary work: the stone was cut right across a growth plane. She was very, very upset, which is understandable. And you can imagine how I felt! We've replaced this stone with a synthetic ruby, which is brighter but less "interesting" (in so many ways). 

Just back from Wales, where I was visiting the opening of the show Re:Collect at Llantarnam Grange in Cwmbran, which featured some of my work:

Dauvit Alexander

Llantarnam Grange is a lovely little arts-centre/gallery outside of Cardiff. Well worth a visit.

More photographs of what we got up to in Cardiff on my Flickr pages.

Great Western Railway (Interrupted)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

strange day

I'm working backwards on the "Cold Genius" piece. As I have to wait for Lisa to finish and send the actual "Cold Genius" himself, I can't actually make the box or any of the elements of it as the size is critical (as he's going to be made from porcelain, which shrinks on firing, exact sizes are not possible in advance), thus I've been making other parts of the piece. Today I got to work on the settings:

Cold Genius (WIP) 13

"Reading" top to bottom, left to right: iolite, blue topaz, peruvian blue opal; natural pale blue sapphire; two blue topaz "bullets"; aquamarines and green quartz (in bags); blue topaz, green quartz; and slightly chatoyant colourless quartz.

Intensely annoying: I am being bullied by television licensing again. Despite have had no television for 20 years and having repeatedly told them that fact, reinforcing that I have no intention of getting one, every few years I am bullied for being different. Singled out and sent threatening, aggressive letters which imply that I am a lying cheat and that I am going to be fined £1000.

Today I was warned that someone would be out to inspect my house. Let the fuckers try...

They came once before at 8am and were so embarrassed when I answered the door, wearing only my boxer shorts that they tried to back off: needless to say, I forced them to inspect the house, making sure that they looked under the bed, on top of the wardrobe, behind the sofa, etc. By the time they had finished, I was pretty sure that I wouldn't be bothered again.

Next time, I will be less hospitable.

The morons who control television licensing seem to think it is incomprehensible that anyone would NOT have a television and that anyone who doesn't have one MUST be a criminal. They are so fucking blind to this possibility that their website doesn't even allow you to tell them that you don't have a license, only to pay for one in some form. If you want to complain about their intimidating, accusatory letters and approaches, you have to write a letter at your own expense.

In short, I am being threatened, intimidated, accused and am expected to waste my time and money in order to prove to a government department that I am NOT GUILTY of something of which they have repeatedly accused me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bracelet Commission Finished

Bracelet Commission 14
Originally uploaded by the justified sinner

Not posted for a while because I've been really busy but here is a bracelet which is just finished to a customer order. Made from an old chisel, silver, various types of steel, labradorite and citrine.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

snow and clay

I finished the snowflakes I started cutting yesterday (the students were fiercely busy and marvellously fired-up today, so I didn't get much bench-time of my own):

Cold Genius (WIP) 7

I'm working with Lisa Stevens again for this piece and she has the figure of the "Cold Genius" well underway:

commission 2

I'm really pleased with the way he is looking.
I've posted my (ongoing) workbooks for this piece on Flickr

Monday, November 01, 2010

Meet Thy Maker

A frightening book presented by a creepy man who makes lots of make-up companies very happy...

As Dingo said, "Let's make lots of SICK!"
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.4

Saturday, October 23, 2010

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

As part of a new project on which I'm working - "Cold Genius" - I needed to draw a LOT of snowflakes in Rhino, which is possible using a 30:60:60 degree triangle and cutting out chunks, then duplicating and mirroring it and rotating copies around an axis. What a hassle! However, a quick online search brought me this brilliant Snowflake Generator from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Worth using for the name alone.

Snowflake Generator

Friday, October 22, 2010

wholly unsatisfying

Just had the most horribly non-achieving week. Everything I tried to do ended in problems which can only be solved by waiting for tools and materials to be delivered.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

recharging the batteries

The end of the week. I've finished all my work for the exhibition and have started making the boxes - from old cigar boxes (which I get from a tobacco merchant in Edinburgh, not by smoking!) - for the pieces. Next week, I will be in Brighton to recharge the batteries and to work on an idea which has been obsessing me for quite a while: a box/pendant on the theme of "Cold Genius" based on the ideas from Act III, Scene II of Purcell's opera "King Arthur".

This has been at the back of my mind for a very long time, and I've never known quite how to tackle it. The breakthrough came last weekend when talking to a good friend in Edinburgh, Jeff Zimmer, who makes medium-scale glass sculptures based on toy theatres:

It struck me that as I am trying to interpret a theatre piece, a small, wearable "theatre" would be the answer. As many of my previous pieces have been box-shaped structures in which ideas are framed, I thought that this would be a fine solution.

With any luck, I will be back from Brighton and ready to start work.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

curate's egg

Strange day today: some things good, some bad, "good, in parts"!

Bad: my microwelder (hydro-flame) broke down; someone stole my tube-cutter; one of the students has hacked a coil of wire into multiple lengths as they were too lazy to look for the end.

Good: I finished a bangle -

Atavism 1

Made from iron nail, silver, found washers, an old key, the tang of a file and set with sapphires, blue topaz and carnelian agate.

Atavism 4

Atavism 3

And received a lovely present of some Tanzanian alluvial "Umba" sapphires:

Lovely Present - Umba Sapphires 1

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Trouble With Lichen

I've been making a piece based on the corroded piston rods sent to me by some time ago by Janos:

wreckage in the river

It has turned out to be one of the oddest pieces I've ever made:

Trouble With Lichen (WIP) 6

To be polished and set.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hymn To Amun-Ra

Finally completed the collar:

Hymn To Amun-Ra - 8

Hymn To Amun-Ra - 10

The large citrine was cut for the project, which caused the delay in finishing it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

another one down!

Finished another piece this evening, which brings the total of finished new pieces for Wales to 6! Only 9 more to go, which fortunately includes some partially-finished pieces.

Today I bring you "An Englishman's Home":

An Englishman's Home 5

An Englishman's Home 6

An Englishman's Home 3

Made from discarded gas-pipe, the head of a cold-chisel, silver, garnet and diamond.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

finished another two!

I've been working non-stop in the mornings before my classes arrive and in the evenings, afterwards too. It seems to be paying off. I managed to finish two more pieces today and started another two:

Little Richard III - 4

Little Richard III

To Rococo Rot 13

To Rococo Rot

Sunday, September 05, 2010

gold panning

The Scottish goldrush is on!
There have been gold-panners working Scotland for years, but as the price of gold has rocketed over the last year or so, it has been hitting the media. The ACJ (Association for Contemporary Jewellery) ran a trip - organised brilliantly by Islay Spalding - to Helmsdale, almost as far north as it is possible to go - this weekend and we had a great day in the hills, panning for gold:

ACJ Gold Panning Weekend - Kildonan Glen 7

We found some minuscule fragments between us, but nothing we could work with. Some of the other panners we spoke to had found several grams and some in quite large nuggets.
A great weekend, though. The weather was superb and the company good. We stayed in the Helmsdale youth hostel, which used to be SYHA but which is now an independent. Not sure I would do that again, what with rigorous curfews and narky signs telling you what you can and can't do, especially as it was £16 per night and the B&B was only £20!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010


The first fully-completed piece for the show in Wales:

Daisycutter 4

The "Daisycutter" ring. Because I thought it looked a bit like a daisy and a bit aggressive.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I've just broken a piece off of the collar I'm working on.
Pissed off now!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

1-bit music

I've been listening to the strange works of Tristan Perich this morning. A combination of low-tech electronics and minimalist compositions on conventional instruments.

Friday, August 20, 2010

sad passing

I'm not usually one to get worked up about poetry - especially not
Scotish poetry which I mostly find contrived, mawkish or both - but
there are one or two poets whom I hold in very high esteem: Stevie
Smith, TS Eliot, Sylvia Plath. Amongst that group also figures
Scottish Poet, Edwin Morgan who died yesterday. A remarkable man whom
I had the honour of meeting once in the now-vanished John Smith's
bookshop in Glasgow, modest, unassuming, charming. He signed my CD
copy of his collaboration with saxophonist Tommy Smith, "The Beasts of
Scotland" (containing the brilliantly funny "Wolf"), we exchanged a
word or two and parted.
A lovely man. Irreplaceable.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

in a pickle

Autumn again, marked as usual by my frenzied preparation of pickles, chutneys and jams. Unfortunately, we didn't get to the abandoned orchard from whence the usual fruit for these projects is gathered, so I've been buying what is cheap locally.

So far, I've completed some Morrocan-style whole salt-preserved lemons (which I made years and years ago and then forgot about, though they are SO good) and am half-way through making a batch of Picallili. To follow: ginger and marrow preserve, pickled pears and some sort of tomato conserve.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

back to work

And time to start keeping this properly up-to-date.
I've finally joined Crafthaus, which I've been meaning to do for ages. The link is on the left.

Preparing for my exhibition in Wales at the end of the year. I've to make 15 pieces. Here's the beginning. What happens when you add:

Brake PadScarab

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


David Mitchell married hypno-toad.

Seen a moment ago on the TV news.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.4.9

Friday, July 16, 2010

out-of-register makeup

Dingo found this delightful photograph which I feel should be more widely seen:

(Click on photo to go to original source.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


It will be no surprise to anyone that I am completely opposed to the pope's visit to the UK. Additionally, I object very strongly to the government squandering my taxes on this event. To this end, I signed the following petition:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to disassociate the British government from the Pope's intolerant views ahead of the Papal visit to Britain in September 2010. We urge the Prime Minister to make it clear that his government disagrees with the Pope's opposition to women's reproductive rights, gay equality, embryonic stem cell research and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. We ask the Prime Minister to express his disagreement with the Pope’s role in the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy, his rehabilitation of the Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson, and his decree paving the way for the beatification and sainthood of the war-time Pope, Pius XII, who stands accused of failing to speak out against the Holocaust. We also request the Prime Minister to assure us that the Pope’s visit will not be financed by the British taxpayer.

The meat of the pathetic, drippy, lame-ass, cop-out reply from out spineless lily-livered Prime Minister  is as follows:
The Holy See has a global reach and so is a valuable international partner for the UK Government.  Our relationship with the Holy See enables us to address jointly a range of foreign policy and development issues.  These include working towards delivery of the Millennium Development Goals, addressing the impacts of climate change, preventing and resolving conflict, and finding ways to encourage disarmament.
Completely failing to address any of the issues of the original petition whilst ticking all the "popular choice" buttons of climate change, conflict and disarmament. Nice to know that the government thinks that these populist ends are more important than basic human decency, the spread of disease or the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of children abused by the catholic church.

I am disgusted that the government which is supposed to represent me considers this  anti-humanitarian nazi-apologising homophobic pedlar of mediaeval mythology considers that "The Holy See has a global reach and so is a valuable international partner for the UK Government." Considering the shift to the right in recent UK politics, I am also a bit frightened by it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Test post

Some sketches as a test of Blogger on my new phone.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.4.5

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coolest Shirt Ever...

Sorry about the teenage title for this post, but I was so excited!

End-of-term yesterday and my first year group (I'm the first-year tutor, so they see me most over the year) gave me this amazing shirt which they had made for me. I am SO pleased with it and it's by far the best present I've ever received from students.

The only reason I'm not wearing it is that it has to go back to the maker as it's a bit tight across the shoulders.

It really goes well with the Vince Ray poster in the background.

Monday, June 07, 2010

more blowing of that tired old trumpet!

I was recently contacted by the lovely Leo and asked if I would like to have some of my work featured in her online magazine about happening things in glasgow: how could I refuse? Well, it has been published today and you can read all about the happening things and see some beautiful photographs of my work if you click the photograph:

Friday, June 04, 2010


At London Jewellery week:

And look who's showing...!
If you are in London, go and see this. It will be a fascinating collection of works and the rest of the show should be excellent too.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

treasure uk

What a lovely surprise! I was invited to show some of my work on the ACJ stand at Treasure, a show in London which is part of London Jewellery Week. I am SO pleased about this.

I've been really busy of late and have a huge engraving job on over the weekend. Additionally, Bob Ebendorf has challenged me to a swap at West Dean this year, which will be fun.

Friday, May 28, 2010

silly boy

Further to my last post, of course Martin Gardner didn't write "Goedel, Escher and Bach", but is referenced in that book! He did, however, write the annotations on "Alice" and loads and loads of mathematical diversions.

Thanks to Lewis for pointing this out me.

On holiday! Off to see Arundel Castle today.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Martin Gardner

I've just heard that one of my all-time heroes, Martin Gardner, has
died. He was 95, so it is hardly surprising, but sad nonetheless. He
wrote a book which was highly significant in the development of my
interest in mathematics and art, "Goedel, Escher and Bach" and also
published my favourite edition of "Alice in Wonderland" with
annotations about the mathematics and jokes embedded in the original
text and his writings and thoughts have been a constant in my adult
life. Despite his death, I'm sure that this will continue to be true.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Antwerpen Centraal 2

Just back from a week in Antwerp with the students, which was, given the perilous state of air travel in general at the moment, somewhat nerve-wracking! The students were incredibly well-behaved and good-natured, as I had hoped, however, and the trip was great. We went to the diamond museum, a diamond-setter, the silversmithing museum and the SIHA Jewellery School. It was good to see all our old friends at SIHA and to have a night out with them. On Thursday we had a day in Amsterdam.

Canal Scene

I've spent the whole day dropping off to sleep!

Friday, May 07, 2010


To that previous post... when I wrote "single", I meant "unmarried"!
(Before I have to write "divorced", by which I mean "dumped".)

Thursday, May 06, 2010

richard the third

Finished the brooch project I was working on over the last few weeks:

Richard III - 11

Richard III, named for the very mediaeval style and the suggestion of death and woodland.

Went to vote today, which was just depressing. All those small men, those who had failed at everything else, standing about outside the polling station in their too-long dark coats, smoking cigarettes and smiling smugly in a vain attempt to get my vote and make something of their tiny lives by granting them the power to lord it over me. There is a lot to be said for the theory that anyone who wants to go into politics should be forbidden from so doing. Whatever happens tomorrow, the result will be a further slump into the banality which has engulfed Britain since the 1960s. Three equally bland nonentities beg for their chance to run the country: Politics is no more than a sickening version of "The X-Factor" in which real life, real arguments, real economics, real people doing real things are airbrushed out of existence and replaced with a mere popularity contest which is more about who you hate the least than about who has any real talent or ability. (Or worse: about who greases what palm the most.)

"Choices"? I was offered the following delightful array of losers: Labour, Liberal Democrats, Conservative, Scottish National Party, some "socialist" claptrap that couldn't afford a logo, British National Party, Scottish Socialist Party, Socialist Labour and Trade Union and Socialist. In short, not one candidate that I think is worthy of my support. A bunch of no-hope idiots seeking an enormous salary with all the expenses they can fiddle for doing absolutely nothing. It is little surprise that in the 2009 by-election, the turnout was the lowest ever recorded for a UK election.

Whatever happens, I will end up worse off. Being middle-income, middle-class, middle-aged, single, employed and male, I will be paying for tax cuts for the rich, benefit rises for the poor, duck-houses, moats and every other fucking thing that the corrupt and stinking edifice of British Politics sees fit to squander money on: Britain will sink further into the squalid mediocrity of financial, moral and cultural bankrupcy.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

not all bad

You know I always bleat on about how grim glasgow is and in doing so, overlook the fact that, as is true of everywhere else, the vast majority of people here are good, honest human beings. An important point to remember, I think.

This was brought home to me today when, sitting on my bike in the traffic queue at a red light, the van in front suddenly went into reverse and knocked me off my bike, the bike going under the van, me - mercifully - to one side. (Apart from some very serious bruising on my right arm, everything, bike included, is OK.)

The second this happened, everyone around stopped to look; they were concerned; they volunteered as witnesses; they sat me down; they called the police; they rescued my bike; they brought me water and a first-aider from the bus-station. I was actually overwhelmed by the basic goodness and humanity of these people, especially the staff at Buchanan Street Bus Station, outside which the incident happened.

I wish I could thank them all personally for their help and for reminding me that things in this town are not always as bad as they seem.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

the lobster quadrille

Working on a new piece using old materials, including the lobster pot found in Dorset two years ago, the jet lobster from Whitby (three years ago) and various stones which have been kicking about the stone box for ages. I also bought some more faux coral from Lisa for this, which is a kind of a revisit of "Blue Sunset on the Grey Lagoon".

The Lobster Quadrille:

The Lobster Quadrille (WIP) 6

Blue Sunset on the Grey Lagoon:

Blue Sunset On The Grey Lagoon - Professional Photograph

It has been interesting revisiting an old piece. The Lobster Quadrille relates to Blue Sunset in form and materials but not exactly. I've also decided to use a few new techniques in it, such as granulation.

If I'm being honest, I feel a bit guilty about copying my own work!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

rolling stones

My stone-dealer, Marcia Lanyon, visited today.
Result? Broke! Pictures tomorrow.

Monday, April 19, 2010

open olympics!

Here is a strange project to gather 2012 photographs about "Olympic" (and variations) which have no reference to the "Olympic Games" before the actual games happen!

My entry:

A full explanation on the original photograph, here:

Olympic Tooth Company, Back

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Just got back from my spring break (the free-thinker's "easter") in Brighton and the Isle of Man. Unfortunately, I'm really tired as I had to get up at 05.45 this morning in order to get a train home as my flight was cancelled. Bed for now and pictures and comments later in the week.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

glasgow shitty council (again)

So, the council leader Stephen Purcell takes cocaine, video is taken
of him doing it and in a panic he tells his fellow councillors. Who do
nothing. In fact, they tell him it is OK.
The police get involved and end up pressing charges on the grounds of
fraud, those backhanders for contracts which every single inhabitant
of this dump knows are paid out.
Then they drop the charges.
Remind me why I pay council tax... Is it so that some fat degenerate
can snort it up his nose? Perhaps it is used to pay off corrupt police
officers? Maybe it is so that all the councillors can snort it up
their noses whenever they don't have them firmly entrenched in the
trough of self-indulgence?

glasgow is run by a corrupt, stinking bunch self-interested idiots and
losers. It is no wonder that the city is one of the most foul in

Link, in case you think I am making this up: BBC report.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

don't forget...

That glasgow is a shit-heap full of violent scum.
I was woken up this morning at 6am by the sounds of an attempted murder outside my house. A cheap ned slag with a huge kitchen knife attempting to stab one of two sportswear-clad inbreeds. I only wish she had succeeded in reducing the ned gene-pool but sadly the police stopped her.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

theatre of glass

My friend Jeff in Edinburgh has just posted some pictures of his latest and most startling work, toy theatres made in glass:

Click on the photograph to go to his website. You can see more of his work on his website which is linked on the left.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I, like all right-thinking people, think that it is unacceptable for an ex-member of Hitler Youth to be invited on a state visit to Britain. Especially someone who has been actively involved in covering up child-abuse, who says it is OK to deny the Holocaust and who opposes scientific research. That is why I signed the petition asking the government to dissociate themselves from the visit of pope Ratzinger to the UK.

You should too, at the Number 10 website.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


What a weekend! I had great fun in Birmingham, which is a place I love - with my usual contrary nature: most people have a terrible and unfair opinion of what has got to be Britain's only truly multi-cultural city. (Yes, more than London.)

Went down on Friday, to meet with James and to hear a performance of Stockhausen's Carré, a spatial piece for four orchestras and choirs which was performed in the incredible venue of the Methodist Central Halls (AKA "Q-Club"), a crumbling Victorian brick methodist church, very wrecked and very beautiful. The music was excellent and the other pieces on the programme were Allegri's Miserere, Tallis' Spem in Alium and Berio's Laborintus II. The Berio piece is one with which I am familiar from recordings: this was a proper performance, complete with actors, dancers and video projections which made it particularly exciting.

Laborintus II - 2

Methodist Central Hall

Carré 1

On Saturday, I spent the day with Sophie, being highly cultured and visiting the Bridget Riley retrospective and the Staffordshire Hoard - delighted to hear that it will now be staying in the Midlands and will not be going to London - wandering round the art gallery and museum and going to the Rag Market, which is a brilliant kind of market where you can buy anything from buttons to tweed jackets. Bought an old waxed cotton trench coat which smells funny, though I didn't notice that until it was hanging up in the hotel room...

(The hotel was SO noisy, the Ibis hotel in Chinatown. Directly above some nightclubs. The place was clean and efficient, polite and friendly, but even after moving to three different rooms, the noise of the clubs below was unbearable. Not helped by the cheap Liverpudlian hoor who hammered on my door at 5am in a drunken stupor and who just shrieked and ran away when I growled at her!)

Met up with James in the evening and went for dinner and a drink but as he was working at 7am on Sunday, it was an early night.

Sunday was all about taking photographs - on Flickr now - and then home to worry about the degree validation (see previous post).

Not much to report today. I have washed the coat and have re-waxed part of it and it smells much better!


North Glasgow College now offers a degree in Jewellery Design and Technology, the first skills-based practical degree in jewellery in the UK! We got permission from the validating body (Leeds University) yesterday to run it starting in the autumn of this year. Excitement!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

what a week... and it is only wednesday

Loads of things going on at work at the moment and I'm really busy at the bench.
Completed a few pieces which have been on the go, including this brooch, La Bellezza della Lotta, inspired by Marinetti:

La Bellezza Della Lotta 11

My Carl Sagan tribute piece, Contact:

Contact: For Carl Sagan 8

Which I have been invited to submit to the Celebrating Sagan website.

In addition, I got some more professional shots taken of the last pieces I finished:

I Put A Spell On You (Professional Photograph)

(Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below... (Professional Photograph)

Off to Birmingham this weekend for a concert, to see friends and to RELAX!