Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bad Dreams!

So, we all know - I assume my readers to be fellow Liberal Elite snowflakes, of course - that Trump is a nightmare.

Unfortunately, I was 'triggered' this week, even within my 'safe space' of bed. Frankly, it is my own fault: I've been watching the fantastic Ridley Scott version of Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle", a book I've loved since I read it in my adolescent years (in part, because one of the heroes is a jeweller: a rarity in fiction!). In short, I had a nightmare in which I was forced to design a banner for a Donald Trump rally. The dream was very vivid and I felt compelled to create the banner in Inkscape when I awoke:

Now, this is not any work of genius, but it ties in with the Ridley Scott vision and also rather nicely with fellow-jeweller and Liberal Elite, William Aarons who, a few weeks ago, came up with this exceptionally well-considered graphic:

The fascinating thing about this final "⊥" is that it is also the logic symbol for 'falsisty'. William writes, "This symbol means 'contradiction' (unconditionally false in math[s])". I took his symbol - the 'uptack' in Unicode - and applied it to my nightmare banner:

Much improved!
Anyway, I think that William's concept is strong and he has generously - rightly - made it available in the public domain. You can download and use the work freely in opposition to Trump from his website or you can buy ready made buttons and stickers from his Etsy Shop.

I would very much like to see the 'uptack' come to be seen as a symbol of resistance to right-wing nonsense everywhere and will be working on a "BREXI" version for the Unite for Europe rally in London in March.

Another quick pop-up project for the Level 5 BA Jewellery students this week, this time making collaborative pieces for performance. I didn't manage to get to any of the performances but the presented work is interesting, as usual:

Death of the Author 2017 - 1

Death of the Author 2017 - 2

Death of the Author 2017 - 3

Death of the Author 2017 - 4

One of the great things about people knowing that I work with found objects is that I get given all manner of random things. I was clearing up my bench this week and remembered that Tina Francis had dug deep into her handbag at a gallery opening some time back to give me this:

Cast-iron Figure

It is obviously part of an animated coin-bank and I'll need to think carefully about what to do with it.

Just before Christmas, I was also given a bag of the flat tops off of those old-fashioned signet rings which are not so popular nowadays: onyx or haematite carved with a Spartan's head; bloodstone; onyx inlaid with gold or set with a tiny diamond... I wasn't really sure what to do with them as they are not especially interesting on their own but it just hit me this week that they are rather good when put together and as Cursley & Bond had asked me to re-stock them with earrings, I couldn't resist laying them out and playing with combinations:

Earring Trios (WIP) - 1

Earring Trios (WIP) - 2

Also on the bench this week, my reconfigured health-and-safety conscious piece for the handling collection at The Herbert as part of the "Made in the Middle" show. You may recall that someone complained that the nail was too sharp, so I replaced the potential dagger with a potential blunt instrument:

Run Of The Mill (Health and Safety Edit)

I think it loses some of the poetry of the dialogue between the blunt deer's tooth and the pointed nail but it still gives an idea of what the work is about.

The nail, of course, became a pendant:

Health and Safety

Which can nestle in any tender bosom without risk of damage.

I also finally got round to making the piece for my colleague, Jo Pond, who gave me the corroded iron staple from which it is made:

I love that it has a very early-60s vibe to it.

Back at The Herbert this week for a second workshop, this time one on using found objects to make jewellery. We concentrated on tab-settings and making constructed cages and, much to  my surprise, a friend of old from my university days turned up with her partner to take the workshop!

You Can't Wear That! - 1

You Can't Wear That! - 2

As my little end features on music seem to be popular, here is another gem I found. My absolute favourite song by The Smiths is "The Queen is Dead". I was transported back to my early 20s this morning when I discovered that it had a video by Derek Jarman...

Enjoy. It is worth going to the YouTube version to read the comments - for once they are really interesting.

More soon!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I'm Still Here

Not having posted for four weeks, you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd dropped off the face of the earth, but I was just having an extended Christmas holiday and settling back into work again. I didn't feel inclined to do a retrospective of the year gone by and I've a horrible feeling that next Christmas I may not feel like doing a retrospective then. In short, I'm somewhat lacking in global optimism just now.

That as may be, things here are going along as normal.

Back to work again. The only thing that happened this week - apart from my usual teaching and colleagues suffering from colds, flu and sprained ankles - was a short intermediate show by the Level 5 BA Jewellery and Related Products students, where they had to make work out of really  non-traditional materials.

Mateur and Colourials - 5

Mateur and Colourials - 4
Work by Xiao Yang. Eggshell, spices, wool.

Mateur and Colourials - 3
Work by Effy Ma. Bread, sugar, plaster, pigment.

Mateur and Colourials - 2
Work by Tilly Wright.

This weekend I was back at The Herbert on what seems to have been the first day of winter as I had to scrape snow and ice off the car for the first time. It warmed up to a wet, cold day:

I was teaching a workshop on precious-jewellery making and in a mere six hours (well, six and a half: we over-ran a bit), the participants made silver rings set with moss-agate. Everyone finished them but most still had to polish them up at home.

There is another next week on using found objects.

This workshop was part of the Craftspace "Made in the Middle" show which is currently at The Herbert and you will recall that I wrote about the opening of this show before, here.

As part of the show, I've put a piece into the handling collection:

Run of the Mill - Handling Collection

Rather amusingly, this was returned to me this week for reconstruction as someone felt that the nail element was too sharp to be handled safely!

'Elf and safety, innit?!


Songs used to be just "songs" and anyone could perform them. Over the holiday, Dingo pointed out that at some point the concept of "covers" came along but we couldn't work out when this happened. It may have been at the point when performers started to write and be identified with their own material but it isn't really clear. When Thelonious Monk "performs" Duke Ellington's 'Mood Indigo', we don't think less of him; when Chrissie Hynde "covers" Radiohead's 'Creep', there it is viewed as something second-rate, inauthentic, unoriginal. It seems to me that the important thing is that the "cover" brings something new to the material, exactly as musicians always have.

A minor digression to introduce a fantastic performance of a fantastic original! Nostalgia 77's soul version of White Stripe's 'Seven Nation Army'.