Sunday, November 20, 2011

back to blogging!

Having now had a couple of weeks where a combination of loads of things on my plate and general late-autumn lethargy have conspired to prevent me from making any blog entries, I'm back to it after a week in which I saw an opera featuring a depressed singing egg and created a seriously dangerous structure.

Having seen the Call for Entries on the SNAG Website for the "Hot Under The Collar" show, part of SNAG Conference next year, I decided to create something specifically for it, rather than trawl out one of my old pieces which have been seen before. Since making the Spoon Skull Cross, I have been thinking a lot about the process of casting steel objects in place, something that has been sitting subliminally in my mind since studying Chris Knight's fantastical chalice earlier this year:

Beneath The Skin Exhibition - 7

The Spoon Skull Cross has used sewing-machine needles cast in place at the back and I wanted to create a piece which makes use of this process as the primary focus, rather than as a decorative element. Consequently, I came up with the idea of putting these all over the surface of a sphere:

Vicious Revisited - WIP 1

This Rhino model was then milled in wax. Unfortunately, I only have access to a 4-axis mill and so had to make the ball in sections which slot together:

Vicious Revisited - WIP 2

The needles have a groove ground into the shank of each one and this is filled with soft beeswax; the needle is then inserted into the wax model shown above:

Vicious Revisited - WIP 4

Supercollider 4

This is then invested and cast:

Supercollider - WIP - First Casting

I've been working on a variety of sizes of these structures:

Little Supercollider

Second Supercollider - 3

These structures return me to a form with which I was obsessed a few years ago, that of the mace:

Mace Pendant 2

This is a piece I made about twelve years ago and kind of marks my movement away from minimalism and into a more truthful - for me - interest in complexity and decoration. (The photograph above actually shows a remake from about eight years ago, the original piece being used to remake this. It is ostensibly the same - I didn't remake the chain but did remake the ball, catch and the spikes to lighten the whole thing and refine the spike shape. The ball is almost exactly the same size as a table-tennis ball, from which is was moulded!)

Other than that, I've been making some new items for the Etsy shop, as well as swapping round some pieces there for some pieces returned from a gallery:

Kinetic Skull Ring 5 More Corroded Nut Rings - 11
More Corroded Nut Rings - 12 Pendant In Green 2

As to the opera featuring a singing egg, well, it was a brilliant collaboration between theatre company "Magnetic North", contemporary music ensemble "The Red Note Ensemble", composer David Fennessy and artist David Shrigley and featured not only a singing egg but puppet vegetables and a psychotic butcher... A pantomime for adults, a proper opera - sung through with arias, duets, trios, recitative and ensemble pieces - and I really, really hope it goes on tour. It would be a great shame if it were only seen on the three nights it ran for.

Pass The Spoon 1

Pass The Spoon 3

No photographs of the production as I really don't like to take photographs while things are underway, nor do I like other people doing so.

I also made a welcome return to the Citizen's Theatre two weeks ago, a place I have overlooked for some time now but unjustifiably so; much of my understanding of theatre was born of attending performances at this place when I was at school and their direction has always been interesting and defiantly unpretentious.


My friend, Mark Kydd, was in a play there, "Spain", which was funny and compelling and he, of course, was superb in it. Part of what made the experience so enjoyable was that he had worked on the play a lot with the author - the piece was written specially for him and for the space - and there was a certain pleasure to be had in spotting the elements of his life, the thinly-disguised references to people we both know, within the text. A gruelling, physical and comic performance lasting just over an hour, I regret going on the last night so that I couldn't tell anyone else to go and see it.

Spain, Set