Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Perils of "Secret" Projects!

This last couple of months has been absolutely unbearable for someone who enjoys sharing the progress of works online. First came the Caledonian Sleeper cufflink commission, then came my work with "The Contemporary Jewellery Exchange" for Jan Donaldson, which I can't show until the 1st of May!

The good thing is that I can now reveal the cufflinks for the Caledonian Sleeper, made for the designer of the uniforms, Alan Moore at Ten30 Designs. The service launches on the 1st of April but the press launch was on Monday this week and so I can now show the design, based on the company logo:

Caledonian Sleeper Cufflinks Macquette - 1

Caledonian Sleeper Cufflinks Macquette - 2

These were developed digitally from the original graphic files for the logo:

And then sent out for bulk casting, which then left me all the cleaning-up to do! I did have very kind offers from the students and my colleagues to help, but in the end, I completed everything on time.

Caledonian Sleeper Cufflinks - WIP - 3

Caledonian Sleeper Cufflinks - WIP - 2

I'll post photographs of the uniforms when I have them.

I've managed to get quite a lot done on the "Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat" watch chain for the ACJ exhibition and completed the application drawing. I hate making drawings like this as it denies the spontaneity of the way that I normally work, so it can only ever be an approximation of the final piece. My very detailed sketchbooks normally evolve along with the piece being constructed, designs changing in response to problems, materials and my general whims.

Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat - Drawing -  27

The central element is almost constructed and I'm waiting on the 3D-printed steel elements for the watch case which will drop into the Victorian silver case which I bought for "scrap" many years ago.

Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat - WIP - 28

It is always so lovely and flattering when people decide that they want to send me things that I might use in my work. This week, it was an absolute joy to open a parcel from Mel Gustafson and find all manner of goodies, including a huge batch of gemstones she no longer wanted:

A Wonderful Gift - 1

Some amazing beetle elytra (which oddly sound like metal when they touch together):

A Wonderful Gift - 4

And some "sleeping" doll's eyes:

A Wonderful Gift - 5

Last week was the resurgence again of a project which was started many years ago and which has been on tour round the world, in residence at the National Museum of Scotland and which is now a "Learning Resource" for schools and colleges to borrow. The "Silver of the Stars" exhibition was begun by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths, bringing together ten Scottish celebrities - though both "Scottish" and "Celebrity" are to be interpreted loosely... quite how Alexander McQueen qualifies as either is unclear! - with ten Scottish silversmiths to create work for them.

The learning resource was launched last week at Edinburgh's "Dovecot Studios". The event itself was worthy and dull, but it was rather nice to be able to see the silverwares again.

"Silver of the Stars" - 2

Left to right, John Creed for writer, Ian Rankin; Linda Robertson for Lulu; Grant McCaig for Robbie Coltrane; Sarah Cave for Cameron Mackintosh.

"Silver of the Stars" - 3

Left to right, Sarah Hutchinson for Sharleen Spiteri; Michael Lloyd for Sean Connery; Marion Kane for Ewan McGregor.

"Silver of the Stars" - 5

Left to right, Roger Millar for Nicola Benedetti; Cóilín Ó Dubhghaill for Billy Connolly; Graham Stewart for Alexander McQueen.

Regular followers will recall that a few weeks back, I met with Al Blair, a Glasgow artist and fellow junk enthusiast and spent a very cold afternoon in his studio. On Thursday night, I went to the opening of a bar in the city for which he has provided a lot of the fixtures and fittings. Bar Ten - now known as "Tabac" - was something of a Glasgow legend... originally opened in 1988 (I was at the first opening too!) with interiors by Ben Kelly, Bar Ten developed an almost cult following and almost everyone I know remembers it fondly but almost everyone I know has also stopped going there, so it is good to see that someone - Fergus McVicar - has taken the bull by the horns and re-opened it with a view to turning it around.

The original Bar Ten was very clean, fresh and wilfully modernist. It was absolutely tiny but somehow managed to be airy. Al and Fergus, along with other Glasgow artists, have taken the idea of "modernism" and the intimate qualities of the space and created a space that feels intimate and somehow illegal, somewhere that wouldn't be out of place in a dark corner of 'Total Recall' or 'Terminator'.

Tabac / Bar Ten - 4

Tabac / Bar Ten - 5