Sunday, June 22, 2008

I started reading Wilkie Collin's Armadale today. I've got to page 56 and already the plot is bursting with murder, shipwreck, fraud and impersonation, deception, syphilis, miscegenation, and unwilling witnesses to a last will and testament. This was written in 1866! I cannot imagine the effect this must have had on the readers of the time.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It has turned out to be a horrible, wet day. Went into town with Clive this morning, having slept really badly and had a relatively pleasant day. Had to run away from an orange walk. Yes, glasgow, that city which SO wants to be chic, stylish and welcoming for tourists still allows sectarian marches. In this disgusting hole it is quite OK to have a march which not only discriminates against minorities but which revels in that discrimination with the full support of the council and the police.
It is really easy to tell when such a demonstration is going to happen: the town fills up early with the most disgusting Untermenschen, wearing their sectarian football colours and drinking cheap lager.

Strangely enough, we didn't have a bad day. Presumably the usual scum were all in the thrall of the march.

I have almost finished Wilkie Collin's "No Name" and forty pages from the end (of 600), I still have no idea how it is going to end. What an absolutely amazing novel! On the recommendation of James, I bought "Armadale" today to read over the holiday season.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A good day in the workshop today. I've nearly finished making the body of the watch I'm working on and have only a plate to engrave for the back of the pocket-watch fittings before it can be used as a pocket-watch. Also started on the strap and support for the wristwatch back.

I found an old overhead projector in a skip yesterday and made it into a lightbox with a piece of white perspex which I also found in a skip a while back:

Home-made Lightbox

Very useful for transferring patterns onto metal for engraving.

I've posted a link on the left to my friend Jeff's website. There are plenty of pictures of his work on the website. My friend and associate in the US, Laurie, sent me a link to another glass artist Andy Paiko, which I found very interesting.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Been working on the patterns for engraving my "new" watch this weekend. I've done a lot of engraving too. Managed to get the bezel for the watch done and also some more work on the carved "St Hubertus" logo for the front of the Portable Shrine To St Hubertus which I have been working on intermittently since late last year. I'll be posting some pictures on Flickr soon.

I'm completely gripped by Wilkie Collin's "No Name" which I'm reading at the moment. It is so good as to be a disincentive to work! I'm getting that dread of reaching the end, which I sometimes get with a good book, not wanting it to finish.

Not much else to report. Winding down for summer.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Well, that was a bit of a rubbish weekend!
I had a terrible stomach upset which really hasn't gone away today. The best thing about that is that I got to read a lot of Wilkie Collin's "ripping yarn" called No Name and to catch up on watching films.

Finally got to see Aki Kaurismaki's marvellous "Lights in the Dusk", another one of his films which some people might describe as depressing or bleak, but which I find as ultimately optimistic.

I also finally watched Nigel Kneale's legendary The Year of the Sex Olympics, which really IS depressing and bleak, predicting the miserable decline of television into the likes of Big Brother, where producers manipulate the participants of "reality" television programmes in order to affect the audience.
The big difference, of course, is that in The Year of the Sex Olympics, Kneale skillfully writes characters who break away and who you care about; in Big Brother, you couldn't care less for their egomaniacal posturing.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Last weekend, Jeff gave me a CD of Philip Glass' "Monsters of Grace", which is absolutely brilliant, another collaboration with Robert Wilson and somewhat reminiscent of "Songs From Liquid Days". The orchestra includes some sort of dulcimer, which gives a very ancient feel to very modern music.

Not been up to much this week. Made a couple of pieces and finished the "Planet Claire" pieces, which I really like:

Planet Claire 15

It is two brooches which can also be worn as pendants and two chains which can also be joined to make one long chain, allowing for a range of ways to wear the piece. The discs are set with garnets, peridots and champagne diamonds.

My watch strap broke, yet again. It has really been the most annoying watch I have ever owned, in that it cost £300, was advertised as being a robust watch, suitable for rugged outdoor use, yet the strap has broken about six times. SO, I've decided, finally, to make myself a watch. Found a (genuine) unissued UK army surplus watch with no strap online. When that arrives, I will get to work making a strap and housing for it.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

It's been a while since the last post, largely because I've been feeling pretty negative about this country and didn't want to write a stinking rant about how awful Britain is becoming. SO, to get it over with quickly, in Brighton last weekend, me and Dingo were kept awake by the constant noise of a "party" which is scummy neighbours across the road were having, abused by someone who was urinating on his front door - from the party - and then, to cap it all, Dingo was physically assaulted by a completely different piece of chav shit who also spat all over me.

And that is ALL I am going to say about this.

We had a really good time, despite the awful weather and the incidents above. We went to the lovely Camber Sands, a longish hike from Rye, possibly better known as E.F. Benson's "Tilling" of Mapp and Lucia fame.
Camber Sands is lovely and we will be going back there in the summer.

The week has been very busy: I finished the articulated bangle and am pretty pleased with the way it worked out;

Stigworks 104, Kinetic U Bangle 12

and I was experimenting with the cold enamels I bought in Italy at Easter. I've managed to get them to work and have now re-started work on the St. Hubertus piece, enamelling the engraved coin which is the centrepiece.

Portable Shrine To St Hubertus, 69

I was in Edinburgh all weekend, which was really nice. Caught up with Mark and Jeff and Robert and Gidona. I finally got Robert and Gidona's wedding present to them, which was a relief! I also caught up with my old friend and associate, Joey D, who is a clothes designer working in a similar manner to myself, in that he takes old clothes and remakes them into new ones. His newest work is amazing and I'm delighted to see that he now has a working website and an online shop. I bought one of his latest bags from him, made from old tweed jackets:

Joey D Bag 1

The great thing about his work is that it looks as rough as could be imagined, but it is really well made and built to last: this picture doesn't really do justice to the bag. The pockets on it are all functional too!