Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn Again

I have no idea where the weeks go. It is now two weeks since I last posted a blog entry and the end of September is upon us; the wind and rains, the chilling air, herald autumn without even the good grace of the last few warm days that September usually brings, Keats' "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness".

Spent last weekend in Brighton, recovering from the 'flu which always accompanies the start of term... all those viri travelling distances with students from far away, brought together in the moist warmth of the fully-packed workshop! Not particularly healthy but it happens every year, both at the start of term and then again after the winter holiday break. There wasn't much going on in Brighton over the weekend, but I did spot this particular craft highlight outside a charity shop:

Dogs And Puppies

Is it any wonder that "craft" is not taken as seriously as it should be?!

I've been invited to take part in a show to be held at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh next August, the title of which is "Enough: VIOLENCE" and which is going to reflect the views of a variety of artists - I am still not sure who else is taking part - towards the increasingly violent society in which we live. When I was invited to take part (in July), I immediately thought on a project which was approved by the SCC and for which I needed the support of an august institution in the UK, the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). This week, I learned that the NSPCC have agreed to support the project and I now have a meeting to discuss it further. All I can disclose at the moment is that it will be work made in response to children who have been involved in violence in some way. More to follow.

Other than that, I have been preparing for the "Gothic" show at SOFA, finishing the buttons for my Gothic waistcoat and working on the belt buckle to be worn with my kilt. I have no idea why I've not made a buckle for the kilt before.

Eight Waistcoat Buttons

Eight buttons for a Mad King?

Kilt Buckle - WIP - 3

Kilt Buckle - WIP - 4

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Things have been incredibly busy at work, setting up the new students, returning all the Diamond Jubilee work to the makers, making some new pieces, preparing for the "ENOUGH: Violence" show at SCC next August as well as helping a friend of mine - Wing Mun Devenney - write her new book, a technical manual on soldering.
One of the aspects of my practice which I've not really thought about properly and which I don't document fully is the way in which I sometimes "doodle" with materials in downtimes. Waiting for some stones to be delivered or a casting to complete, or when I can't really take my eye off a class for any length of time, I frequently play with bits and pieces and offcuts on my bench. Sometimes these amount to nothing, sometimes they become pleasing-enough little pieces to be sold on Etsy and at other times they seem to be suggestive of a direction I might take. Over the last week, I've put together this:

The Black Prince - Front

A very human-scaled "Post Apocalyptic Cocktail Ring", which I named (post facto) The Black Prince as it is set with a large natural ruby, which, it has to be said, looks a lot more like a ruby than this photograph would lead you to believe. The black stones in the side are black diamonds and the back is set with a natural transparent white quartz. The crown element is a part of the rear mech of a bike and the shank is constructed from my favourite iron electrical conduit.
(The joke here being that the "Black Prince's Ruby" in the UK crown jewels is, in fact, a spinel...)

Today, I received an invite to be included in a jewellery magazine of which I was previously unaware and which I found to be very interesting: Creating Linus Jewellery. It is a strange name but has interviews with many interesting European and American jewellers, as well as basic workshop tips and tricks, all beautifully photographed and laid out. It is a pay-for-subscription but you can sign up for the issues until January for free. Well worth a look.

Off on holiday for a long weekend in Brighton. Absolutely nothing planned!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SO busy! All my first, second and third years have started for two weeks now and the degree final year students started today... In between, I've been packing up the Diamond Jubilee exhibition and finishing my "Macbeth Brooch".

Macbeth Brooch - 27

The hackle is raven feathers. It is traditional in Scotland (I read, but have never heard of this before) that a black hackle means that the wearer has a grudge against someone. I don't. But if I'm wearing this brooch, watch out!
It can also be worn without the feathers:

Macbeth Brooch - 26

The red material in the background of the piece is polycarbonate car-reflector from a crashed car, as can be seen in the rear view:

Macbeth Brooch - 24

Not much else to report!