Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Re-construction Time Again

What a few weeks! Ever since Madelyn Smoak reminded me that some years ago - 2009 - I had started to make a set of Chimæric cutlery, I've been working furiously to finish all the work which, over the years, has been started and left incomplete. I am determined that there will be no unfinished work by Christmas!

There were a few projects which I knew about, having put them aside to work on commissions or exhibition work - the Coco Chanel-inspired piece, for example - but most I had completely forgotten. As I mentioned in the middle of August, I used the visit of the painters to the workshop as a good reason to tidy and organise everything which had the knock-on effect of making it fairly easy to find all the boxes and drawers into which I had tucked the work. What surprised me most was not the number of pieces but the age of the earliest ones. Yesterday, I found this:

Untitled Early Works - WIP - 2

I have tried to work it out, but I think that this is nearly 20 years old, dating from the mid-1990s. Certainly, it is entirely made from precious materials with none of my now indispensable corroded iron or found objects. It was tucked into the bottom of a box along with this sheet of notes:

Untitled Early Works - 3 - Sketches

What really pleases me about this piece is that it prefigures a lot of the forms and "signature" elements which were to come. The little spikes in the drawing were made for the original "Mace" pendant which dated from about the same time-period and which I re-made for myself in 2006 (and have made again for a customer this week!) and have persisted into my current work; the form of the box, however, recurred in much more recent works, such as "Cold Genius", "A Forest" and "The Eyepod".

With a bit of work, I completed the piece today. What is surprising to me about it now - now that I use Rhino and a microscope at the bench - is the inaccuracy of the marking-out and cutting.

Pearl Reliquary - 2

Pearl Reliquary - 3

Tucked alongside this delicate piece, I found a chain made of silver and lumps of rough quartz:

Untitled Early Works - WIP - 1

I had absolutely no idea what these were going to be used for. I don't even remember buying them or making the chain from them and I can't be bothered going through my receipts from the gem-dealers to find out. Anyway, I combined them with a cast-iron finger-guard from a doorknob, an amethyst, some labradorite and a pink quartz for which I had already made a setting and came up with this:

Re-Construct - 1

Re-Construct - 3

The finger plate was a piece I bought from "Construction Junction" in Pittsburgh for $1 in 2011!

As noted above, the "Mace" pendant was also finished this week:

Mace Repeat - 14

Other pieces I cleared out and dusted off, sometimes finishing elements and sometimes just re-making bits of them to suit included these two pieces I made for a theatre performance in Edinburgh in the early 2000s:

Theatrical Pendant - 1

Trophy Handle Pendant - 1

Both of these are a bit the worse for wear, having been used on stage and then stuck in a toolbox in my workshop, presumably with the intention of breaking them up and re-using the materials. As I quite like them, they are on my Etsy shop in a new "clearance" section, selling for a small consideration more than the material costs.

The upper pendant is entirely silver with paste stones (the smaller stone chipped) and the lower pendant is made from two white-brass trophy handles, silver, quartz, titanium and amethysts. The pendant quartz is a bit chipped too but not badly.

I also found and cleaned up a piece which, when I made it, I really disliked, "The Alembic of Hermes Trismegistus: Inrō":

The Alembic of Hermes Trismegistus: Inrō - 43

The Alembic of Hermes Trismegistus: Inrō - 46

Now that I see it again, I have no idea what I took against when it was finished.

What I like about this project of finishing projects which are almost complete is that it makes me feel really productive!

On Sunday, having a day of mostly leisure to myself, I tackled photography again, this time photographing some of the works from the previous week, including "Twisted: For Annie Ross" and "Deep Sea Sketch" then trying to produce submission-quality images from them:

Twisted: For Annie Ross - Portfolio Shot

Deep Sea Sketch - Portfolio Shot

I also photographed my own piece from last year, "14th Century Nightlife" which had also been started some years ago and left unfinished, though in that case it was to do with my inability to deal with the electronic components in it:

14th Century Nightlife - Portfolio Shot

14th Century Nightlife - Portfolio Shot

I'm not sure if the second image looks like the nut is glowing or not, but I've convinced myself it does.

FINALLY, don't forget to have a look at the online exhibition curated by me and Jeff Zimmer, "Scotland the What" at Crafthaus.