Thursday, March 31, 2011

a dog's life

I have a very easy-going relationship with my students. They all know that they can look at the things on my bench, ask me questions about them, make suggestions and talk about any projects that I'm working on. They also sometimes make subtle little jokes.

After I've completed my current project (see below), I'll be moving onto a brooch entitled "Future Legend", which will feature a dog head cast in gold. In order to make the head, I bought a plastic toy dog, which was put on the bench awaiting RTV. Today I noticed that he had acquired a sash:

A Dog Is For Life...

Which reads "A dog is for life, not just for jewellery". Presumably there is a worry that he might meet the same fate as the pig last week! (He will.)

I also got a delicious easter biscuit from one of them today:

The Easter Bunny

No complaints about that.

The Ceremonial Chain For Sepulchrave, 76th Earl Of Groan proceeds, though I am going to have to stop for the easter holidays tomorrow. I've done most of the work on the main pendant element and will be making the chain soon.

Ceremonial Chain For Sepulchrave, 76th Earl Of Groan (WIP) 9

Ceremonial Chain For Sepulchrave, 76th Earl Of Groan (WIP) 7

The parts which will connect to the chain  are still to be enamelled. The enamel will go behind the letters "S" (Sepulchrave) and "G" (Groan) which are then going to be set under some marvellous rock-crystal cabochons.

Ceremonial Chain For Sepulchrave, 76th Earl Of Groan (WIP) 6

Ceremonial Chain For Sepulchrave, 76th Earl Of Groan (WIP) 4

These elements have bezels carved into flame shapes and the enamels will represent the catastrophic fire in the library which is a pivot for the whole series of books.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

busy weekend

I am completely done in: it has been non-stop since Friday and the stupid clock-change thing happened, which always makes my sleeping patterns go wrong...
Friday night was a night out with one of my friends of longest-standing, John. Through to Edinburgh to chat about things and see some sights, which mostly includes the inside of our favourite bar, The Regent. Didn't get home until 2am but had to be on the 10am train to Perth to go and see the Scottish Glass Society show in the Museum and Art Gallery there, "Trove". This is a superb show, in which my friends Jeff Zimmer and Carrie Fertig had some pieces:

The Wake of the Hero - Jeff Zimmer - 3

The Wake Of The Hero - Jeff Zimmer

Alchemic Object: Rejection/Muse - Carrie Fertig
Alchemic Object: Rejection/Muse - Carrie Fertig

I also really, really liked some of the work by others in the show, especially Alxander Galloway's "Prometheus":

Prometheus - Alexander Galloway

And Fiona McGarva's "Earth Free":

Earth Free - Fiona McGarva 2

There are some other brilliant pieces in the show too...

The Guardians - June Morrison 2 One For Sorrow, Two For Joy... Entraped Magpies - Graeme H Thyer 1 Shards of Foundation - Alan Horsley 1

Clicking on the photographs will take you to the Flickr page, where there are more details.

Today I went back to Edinburgh to meet with the lovely and exceptionally talented Melissa Cameron who is on a whistlestop tour of Europe, including a residency with Elizabeth Turrell in Bristol, a visit to Schmuck in Germany and a visit to Edinburgh College of Art to speak to the students. (I have no right to moan about being busy!)
It was great to just spend four or five hours talking about work, influences, inspirations and just a little bit of gossip. We went to the car-boot sale, Joey D's shop, had lunch in my favourite Syrian cafe and went to the National Museum of Scotland, where I was absolutely struck by the new displays for the ancient jewellery, which are just phenomenally good. Not only do they display the jewellery in an exciting way, but they also show how the pieces would have been worn. Inspired and inspiring:

Constructivist Ancients 5

Constructivist Ancients 3

Constructivist Ancients 2

I've spent a lot of time on trains this weekend. Overall, it has been quite amusing, though the journey home from Edinburgh took twice as long as it should have done. Yesterday, on the train to Perth, I was wearing my "The Use of Ashes" pig earring, which was getting some odd looks, so I welcomed the enquiry from the bold little girl (aged about 6) who asked me "Why have you got a pig in your ear", to which I replied, "Why have you not got a pig in your ear?".
She paused for a moment before replying "Because it's silly". Well, no arguing with that... I admire her honesty and bold confidence!
Her dad didn't, though: he was very uncomfortable with the whole exchange, which I don't really understand.

Also, it is not wise to laugh out loud on trains when you are travelling on your own. Thus it follows that reading collections of anecdotes, comments and scripts by Linda Smith in such a pubic place is also a bad idea... I had to put the book back in my bag and start drawing before I embarrassed myself too much. It didn't help that Dingo also sent me this:

H. Samuel

With the comment, which I will quote in full -
"I found an ad in one of the Woman's Weeklies for H Samuel which I thought you may want to have a look at it as it promises 'Fashion Rings to colour every mood.'
'"The pallet is displaying mostly bad moods, with some awkward moods thrown in randomly.
'"The ad is from 1975.
"I'm pleased adverts don't look like this any more."
Sometimes, email on the phone might not be such a good idea either!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kicking, squealing, gucci little piggy

Finally finished my earring, "The Use of Ashes". I've been wanting to make this piece on this theme for myself to wear for almost 15 years and have finally done it! It didn't even take that long to make from start to finish.

The Use of Ashes 8

The Use of Ashes 6

 I should really have rinsed the bicarb off for that first shot!

Onwards with secret project, which is now annoying me because I like sharing and hearing other peoples' thoughts on what I'm doing...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Use of Ashes

As I'm sworn to secrecy over my newest commission, I've been working on a small piece in the interludes between operations, an earring based on the song "The Jeweller" by acid-folk-psyche band, "Pearls Before Swine":

The Use of Ashes (WIP) 1

The original pig was usurped by a more handsome one, who I think looks somewhat smug:

The Use of Ashes (WIP) 2

However, the sad sow in the box had the last laugh:

The Use of Ashes (WIP) 4

The Use of Ashes (WIP) 5

More to come.

I've been listening to loads of interesting music recently. Today it is Ivan Wyschnegradsky's quarter-tone preludes for piano.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

at the end

"Beneath the Skin" is now complete! I am not making any more pieces for the show and the last one should have had some more details added to it, but I like it so much like this that I'm stopping:

Beneath The Skin (WIP) 116

Beneath The Skin (WIP) 117

I've a piece of my own to work on now: a ceremonial piece for Sepulchrave, the 76th Earl of Groan and a tribute to one of my literary heroes, Mervyn Peake, who was born 100 years ago this year (9th July).

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

cut, cut, cut...

Working on the very last of the "Beneath the Skin" pieces today. As I was given the metals, the least I can do is try to use them up!

I spent the day cutting out the stand for a bowl:

Beneath The Skin (WIP) 114

The bowl is not really practical as it has a skull in the base!

Beneath The Skin (WIP) 112

My tray had some very attractive scrap in it, however!

Beneath The Skin (WIP) 111

Friday, March 04, 2011

nearly there...

Finished the box for the tattoo machine, "Beneath the Skin":

Beneath The Skin 109

The plaque on top is engraved:

Beneath The Skin 108

The box is an old one which used to contain a gemmolgist's balance.

Beneath The Skin 107

Beneath The Skin 105

I have a little of the irogane material left and started on another piece for the show today to use up what is left, a bowl which has shakudo on the inside and shibuichi on the outside:

Beneath The Skin (WIP) 101

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

running low on ideas!

I managed to finish a few more pieces for the "Beneath the Skin" show.
First piece is a brooch:
Beneath The Skin 88

I like this piece very much as it is the closest to the original artwork:

Beneath The Skin Workbook 5

I also made a pendant and chain:

Beneath The Skin 87

And have started making the box for the tattoo machine. This is made from an old wooden box which held a gemmologist's balance, now long gone:

Beneath The Skin (WIP) 92

And started a few other pieces too. I'm running out of ideas... one of them is a tie-slide!

Beneath The Skin (WIP) 91