Month: October 2014

made by hand

made by hand | cardiff city hall | 2014

fab seeing my work out in public again. and i think the juxtaposition of ceramics and maker pieces really works. our booth is right next to one of the making spaces that will be used for workshops throughout the event so hopefully a high footfall.

ingrid said it was an intriguing object to have at the front of the stand which i’m taking as high praise 🙂

crystal radio at made by hand

getting the piece finished in time for the show was a pretty steep learning curve. we managed to realise about 80% of what i was aiming for, which isn’t bad going at all. the plan was to have motion sensors on each side that would trigger one of 4 different audio tracks to play (each a world band radio recording) and we achieved that, with the nice added detail that we have a short “retuning” track that plays inbetween the “station” changes.

our downfall was power supply issues. jon had warned that this was likely to be the case, and suggested a mains input running through the plinth might be the most effective solution. but i was really keen to make the piece wireless so to this end the arduino, sound card and sensors are driven from a 4xD battery pack, while the speaker/amp is rechargeable. i managed to allow the power to run down overnight, so for th opening morning the piece is plugged in to charge, and those pesky power lines are still causing me consternation 😀

radio insides

what i am happy with is the decision to keep the underlying electronics visible beneath the radio cityscape. in one way they have their own beauty – and this could be refined in future by swapping out components for more aesthetically minimal alternatives. but mainly i love that you can see the messy heart of the piece, in the way that a city has a whole world of cables and sewers and tunnels below that keep it functioning.

more spirals

use of spirals in my previous work.

time/light | mixed media | 2011
i am safe | copper, silver, vitreous enamel, paper | 2014


pleat folding | paper | 2014
printing plate | 2014
spring back fall forward | mixed media | 2013
polaroid photography | 2011 | original images by karl blossfeld

coffee pod recycling

via pinterest
alex aebi | via upcycleus
via pinterest
irene marti
julia gisbert | via recyclart
villa haikara
via pinterest
lurdish via flickr

i’d like to find out if it’s possible to enamel the capsules, perhaps exploring guilloche techniques (intricate engraved aluminium designs overlaid with translucent enamel)

interestingly the term derives from the complex patterns which can be used for authentication purposes e.g. in banknotes. these dovetail into my current interests in machine drawing and geometry.

illustrator tutorial

the spiral

One of the most common geometric motifs is the spiral, painted and carved throughout the world. And yet the symbolic meaning of the spiral in prehistoric art is speculative. Some argue it may have represented the sun, or the portal to a spirit world. Perhaps it represented life itself, or life beyond life – eternity. Or else, it may have had a more prosaic, functional purpose, that of a calendrical device, employed to deconstruct time into chapters, seasons and solstices.

a letter in mind

the challenge i set myself over the summer was to submit for 3 open calls and i managed 2 🙂 little did i expect i’d actually get in to either but here’s #1. i’ve been looking for projects relevant to my current practice and i figured pursuing the mail art route could be productive. when i can find a personal connection i know i can make a decent stab at the project and so it was with the national brain appeal’s letter in mind project.

oxytocin | 2014 | cotton fleece, silk/cotton thread, glass beads, paper, cyanotype print

this came together for me at the very last moment. the silk machine stitching represents neural networks in the brain, the glass beads the molecular structure of oxytocin (C43H66N12O12S2) a neurotransmitter associated with birth, breastfeeding and human bonding, and implicated in several psychiatric conditions.

oxytocin | 2014 | address side

i knew i wanted to revisit/extend my work with cyanotypes, although the practicalities for me are prohibitive (evicting both the kids from their room for the night o_O) i only really had one shot at this and i lucked out – the process is also at the mercy of the weather – sunny days making for sharper exposures. while i’m still at the point of seeing mostly the technical flaws i’m happy with the result, it conveys the feel i was after.

neural networks in the brain | wellcome collection

the subject of brain functioning and disease was high in my thoughts at the time, due to family circumstance. i’ve always had a great affinity for scientific imagery and i strive to convey some small part of the poetry and simultaneous simplicity/complexity of those images in my work.

preparatory studies | ink on paper, machine stitch

mark making experiments. drawing scares me. i do try to force myself closer to it as often as i can, but i can still only really approach it at a tangent.

spring back fall forward | 2013 | weloveyourbooks home 2014

previous work producing jewellery-scale models of molecules in silver and glass. having made these 3-dimentionally accurate models before i knew i’d be pushing the limits of my skill to make larger molecules. but i still wanted to explore, really get to know, those neurotransmitters that play such a significant part in my life and history.

i needed to find a way of translating these bead structures to 2 dimensions (also to fit in the mail art format). the physical act of transferring a pattern of 125 (ish) beads reliably was a headache i hoped to solve using a cyanotype print. not expecting the markings to transfer crisply, but accurately enough for bead placement. having those white dots on dark behind the beads i hoped would also increase the shine on the finished piece.

oxytocin | 2014 | detail

the iplayer has a load of “what do artists do all day?” documentaries atm. polly morgan was talking about her first sale, and installing it in the buyer’s house next to a grayson perry. i feel much the same astonishment at being on the same walls in my first bricks-and-mortar show 🙂

exhibiting and feedback

back from london with a grin on my face and a spring in my step, having seen my work as part of the letter in mind exhibition at the oxo tower in support of the national brain appeal. i’ll post up full details once the exhibition is over and we’re freed from anonymity.

but the experience of seeing my work on a wall, in a show, for the first time had quite an impact. the buzz of a really busy opening was a little overwhelming but it was (i think) almost all artists and their guests – a real mix of amateurs and established artists – and the conversation flowed around the work.

i’d read of someone who liked to check out audience responses by hanging around looking at the work next to theirs and catching comments good and bad. as i was planning to do just this one of the gallery staff came up and gave it a red dot \o/ now that really was a buzz. i figured maybe a quarter of the (nearly 300) pieces had sold by this point, which makes me feel good about the quality of the work and it’s ability to stand on its own merits.

i’d been very disappointed by how it had reproduced in the online gallery, the 3d piece look very flat and lifeless, with no hint of the play of light and dark i was intending to convey. i’m happy to say that it looked much better under the show lights, and over the moon i’ve made my first cash sale (even if that doesn’t come to me).

i think i could find this kind of buzz quite addictive. i have another submission pending atm, including a piece that needs some loose ends tidying up. i’m well motivated to get on with that now.