Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Run Down Christmas

Quite literally. I have rarely felt so tired, what with all the projects on the go at the moment, plus teaching plus various hassles with systems at work but as I'm on holiday very soon, I can't complain. Planning, mainly, to sleep!

I can now reveal a little more about the exhibition I'm planning with Dan Russell, "A Waste Land", which will open here in Birmingham on the 3rd February with an 'in conversation' event on the evening of the 4th where Dan and I will be discussing the work, followed by a reception in the Vittoria Street Gallery at the School of Jewellery. We're proud to have been featured on the front page of Klimt02 and you can read a bit more about the show there. The show will be made from the unpromising materials we've found lying about in our respective cities of Birmingham and Chatham.

Street Dump - 1

On some levels, it's been a really interesting and creative challenge but on another, it is somewhat dispiriting in that it has left me with a heightened awareness of the amount of low-grade waste which surrounds us constantly. The photograph above shows a street near the School of Jewellery which filled up like this over the course of two weeks. (Thanks to Kate Thorley, a colleague at the School for pointing this out to me.)

The work which our Artist-in-Residence, Fiona Harris, made in conjunction with the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter was launched just before we broke up for the festive season. She had exclusive access to the pattern books of the museum - the old Smith and Pepper pattern books - and her work is now on sale across Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries.

Fiona Harris - Product Launch - 2

Fiona Harris - Product Launch - 3

Enamel Hack 2 - 2

Our "enamel hack" session had the honour of a visit from our visiting Professor, Elizabeth Turrell, who uncovered a box of beautiful samples and set about ordering them for us:

Enamel Hack 2 - 3

This was followed by a weekend of music by Brian Ferneyhough, who was awarded an honorary doctorate at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire:

Brian Ferneyhough Doctorate - 1

Here is our Dean, Alison Honour (front) with Ferneyhough and I am proud to say that the medal with which the doctorate was conferred was designed by two of my ex-students (the medal is just about visible in this picture).

The Arditti Quartet were much in evidence, performing his in a variety of arrangements, from solo violin to full quartet.

Brian Ferneyhough Doctorate - 2

The programme was excellent, of course, with a fine selection of his work

MA Interim Show - 2018 - 3

We also had the interim collections from the MA Jewellery and Object course, which was held at the Parkside campus and was really well-attended. This is not so much a show of finished work as of sketches and research materials and it was fascinating to speak to the students - all of whom come from far-Eastern countries - talking about their work, especially the women who were able to discuss topics which, even five years ago, would have been "difficult" - if not impossible - to speak about.

MA Interim Show - 2018 - 2

MA Interim Show - 2018 - 4

Back to the Conservatoire for a performance by the students of electro-acoustic composition as part of the BCMG "Frontiers" series of concerts. It was interesting to see cassette tapes used as part of this!

Frontiers - 2018 - Electronica 2

Frontiers - 2018 - Electronica 1

This is what staff development at the School of Jewellery looks like:

Workshop Elves - 2

We were brushing up on stone-setting, in case you are wondering... there is more festive horror to come...

Non-festive horrors included a visit to West Midlands Police to look at their container full of knives which have been recovered from the street. This is genuinely shocking:

Knife Crime - 3 - WIP

Knife Crime - 2 - WIP

They have a whole shipping container full of this stuff:

Knife Crime - 7 - WIP

All of these weapons have been removed from the streets of the West Midlands. I was there with friend and colleague, Norman Cherry, with whom I am working on a project. More details on that very soon.

Morecambe Bay - Winter

Christmas and New Year were very quiet with a lovely visit to Scotland to catch up with friends and see my mum. On the way back down we took time to visit Morecambe. I have a very vague memory of having visited when I was much younger. There is something quite magical about out-of-season holiday resorts.

Ice-Cream Menu

Neddy - 1


Eric Morecambe

My best Christmas present:

From Dingo, of course.
My worst Christmas nightmare:

This appalling thing was at my mum's.