Sunday, December 16, 2012


I am now winding the workshop down for the end of the year. I'll be shutting-up fully on Thursday for two weeks, back again in 2013 with new projects to tackle.
Although I've not been quiet in this holiday season, I have been dealing with people who have been startlingly organised and this has meant that for the last week and the week to come, I don't have any rush-jobs to complete, no last-minute dashes to the post-office. The last Commission for the season was sent out on Saturday.
What this has meant is that I've had time to work on some projects which were begun a while back and not completed for various reasons. I've also completed the "Imperial Overcoat Star Of The Order Of Aksentii Poprishchin", made from silver, pure iron, found steel sewing-machine needles, rock crystal and amethyst:

Imperial Overcoat Star Of The Order Of Aksentii Poprishchin - 24

The lettering on the front reads, "сумасшедшего" - "Madman" and is cut from pure iron sheet.
The back is engraved with the details, "October 3rd - 34 March. February, 349.", the dates which open and close Gogol's "Diary of a Madman":

Imperial Overcoat Star Of The Order Of Aksentii Poprishchin - 23

One of the old pieces which I picked up is this bangle from 2008, made from an old steel rule. It has the more up-to-date touches of the little graffiti skull and the spikes on the hinge, and the fastening is made from rare-earth magnets reclaimed from old electric toothbrush heads - none of which would have been part of this had it been completed in 2008 - so I am quite glad that it still works as a complete piece and doesn't look at all bitty:

Steel Rule Bangle - 8

Steel Rule Bangle - 10

I also started on a piece from 2009, "Fourteenth Century Nightlife", which was uncompleted for technical reasons, namely that I want it to light up with a self-contained, rechargeable LED light:

14th Century Nightlife - WIP - 11

14th Century Nightlife - WIP - 10

I think that I now have the ability to get the lighting sorted out to make the polished tagua nut glow!

A more recent project completed was another of the found nut rings, this time with a large garnet set in a true gypsy setting:

Nut Ring With Garnet Cabochon - 1

There will be a couple more of these small projects over the coming few days.

I have had a really lazy day today, having done very little but read and watch old films. I was raiding the marvellous collection of"Film Noir" at and found some marvellous films there: I can highly recommend Ida Lupino's "The Hitch-Hiker"; "Quicksand" with Mickey Rooney and Peter Lorre; and "Impact".

While on that subject, I have to suggest that for a festive movie treat, why not watch "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians"?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

secret projects

Well, I've not been blogging so much of late because I've been working on a project which I have been forbidden from documenting until the client has received it!
It has been the Christmas Sale at work this week. All my students make their work and sell it in the college, a percentage comes to the department for buying equipment and the balance goes to the students themselves. We keep the prices low and go for volume and this usually pays off, especially as most of the customers are other students.
One of my 3rd year students, Anne Walker, decided to sell a piece which she made before she even started on my course, this alien-thought blocking hat, which doesn't fit me at all (but which looks fantastic on smaller heads with hair):

Hat To Prevent Alien MI5 Agents From Implanting My Thoughts

Other than that, I've been working on my "Imperial Overcoat Star Of The Order Of Aksentii Poprishchin" which should be finished in the next few days. Keen observers will note the similarity between this and the Christmas-tree ornaments I made for Goldsmiths' Hall!

Imperial Overcoat Star Of The Order Of Aksentii Poprishchin - WIP - 16

Imperial Overcoat Star Of The Order Of Aksentii Poprishchin - WIP - 17

Imperial Overcoat Star Of The Order Of Aksentii Poprishchin - WIP - 14

Imperial Overcoat Star Of The Order Of Aksentii Poprishchin - WIP - 15

I've been wanting to make a piece on a Gogol theme for some time now and inspired by an incredible Fabergé piece on the Russian Jewellery website I posted some time back, the "Antique Russian Imperial Breast Star of the Order of Saint Alexander Nevsky", I thought I would make a piece in response!

An End of Modernism...

RIP Dave Brubeck and Oscar Niemeyer.
Are there any modernists left?