Monday, December 20, 2010

And now the end is near ...

On Friday I set up my studio space for the assessment after Christmas.  It looks rather minimal but I'm hoping the work will speak for itself - here are a few photographs:-

I've a couple more sockets to make and of course the sugar dummies/insulators and that's about it.  Over the holidays I'll be working on my sketchbook and notebook and eating chocolates and staying close to the fire.

Fingers crossed for January!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Brown ...

Remember my nice yellow ceramic piece?  It fired brown.  Brown seems to be my default setting for ceramics.  And the colour wasn't even fixed, it rubbed off on anything it touched.

So I rubbed off all the excess oxide and then tried to improve the appearance with yellow acrylic paint applied using fingers.  The best that can be said is it looks industrial but it's a far cry from the sculpural, polished look I was hoping for:-

Oh well, you can't win them all!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More printing

Here's the second woodblock print I made.  The inspiration was a Photoshopped print from the photograph I took of the wire and socket.  If all that sounds confusing, here's the sequence:-

Whilst I like the extra detail in the photograph, the woodblock looks much more alive, energetic and human somehow.  I love how woodblocks show every cut and nick that was made whereas photographs are much colder and impersonal.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Branches and wires

A while ago I took some photos of silhouettes of bare tree branches which reminded me of the way power lines also cut across the sky.  This week I decided to take this idea a bit further and made some 'drawings' of these on plastic blanking plates using insulating tape and wire.  I used some of the original photographs for inspiration and plan to incorporate them into the other sockets I made using wire and tape.

I like the way that the wire and tape and sockets, although being utilitarian and industrial in design combine to make somthing quite delicate and natural-looking.

Big sugar dummies

I made a mould of a ceramic insulator from a telegraph pole that I 'found' recently.  It's the old-fashioned type and reminds me of a baby's dummy and so I decided to cast the insulator in sugar like the big sugar dummies that I used to buy on day trips to Blackpool.  This was the idea:-

I was thinking as well of electricity and sugar both being energy sources.

Unfortunately after casting it looks rather phallic which gives a whole different nuance to this piece:-

Maybe it's the pink silicone I used for the mould ...

Anyway I'll be casting this weekend at home so fingers crossed.  Note to self - do NOT use pink food colouring for dummies.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I seemed to bump into just the right people this week so the woodblock is halfway there and one of my ceramic pieces, based on the connectors and earth wire sleeving, is glazed and I've everything crossed that it will come out yellow and not brown.  Here are the photos from the making and glazing of the ceramic pieces:-

This was the inspiration:-

I also decided to try and make a woodblock print of this photo:-

I needed to cut two woodblocks - the first is finished and I'm working on the second one this weekend whilst snowed in at home (hopefully).

I'm not as keen on the image as I was a week ago but maybe it will look better when the red goes on.  And anyway I like cutting woodblocks for some strange reason.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


What's the worst thing that can happen when you've finished your essay except for a bit of 'fettling' (as they say in Yorkshire) and you haven't backed it up on the memory stick? 
You switch on the PC and the fan is whirring and the hard drive is making a beep, beep, beep, beep noise.  The screen is dead and no amount of unplugging and re-plugging and jiggling connections makes any difference.
This can be expressed visually as:-

Interestingly when looking as the word hysteria, which most closely described my state of mind at that point, here are several other images I found:-

Gucci Hysteria clutch bag (reduced from $757 to $258).

The Hysteria black and white wrestling mask

Lancome Colour Fever Gloss in Red Hysteria

And the hysteria over swine flu ... which just goes to show that it's not worth getting worked up over anything really. 

Especially not rather manky looking Gucci clutch bags.

I know this is nothing to do with my project but I feel better now.

Normal service will be resumed with the next post.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I didn't have to go far for these images - three photos from around the college:-

I particularly like the combination of the colours, lines and numbers on the last one.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Can't sleep ... and electrocution

It must be the full moon but here I am at 4.50 am writing my blog.

I had a full week last week with open days, felting and ceramics but really enjoyed it all.  I'm excited too about the work at the moment (or maybe it's hysteria caused by lack of sleep). Here's what all the excitement (or hysteria) is about:-

This is the felt piece I made, inspired as ever by the electrical wires and in particular from a photocopy of a photograph I made:-

I really enjoyed the process of making this - it's a bit like printing or ceramics, you know the effect you're after but you're not quite sure how it will turn out.  Liz mentioned a couple of other ways to represent the electrical wiring using textiles (bleaching black cotton and using threads with latex) and given time I'd like to explore these also.  

I also did a ceramics class.  There's nothing to show yet but next week I'm looking forward to getting stuck in trying to produce something using this as my inspiration:-

The last thing I did last week was to finish off the wire piece I was making inspired by Petah Coyne.  At least I thought it was finished but now I'm not so sure.  At the review it was suggested that I just hang it from the ceiling but looking at it got me thinking about electrocution. 

Sometimes when you switch on something you see a blue spark.  Other times you switch on sockets with wet hands even though you shouldn't and the whole made me think that the wire piece was the electricity crawling out of a socket so that's what I made.  When it was wired in it reminded me even more of this and the ambiguous nature we have with electricity - we can't live without it but treat it improperly and it'll finish you off. 

I fixed the socket to the wall and took some photographs.  I can't decide if the wire should be going up the wall or along the floor.  If along the floor it needs to be longer I think.

I like it running over the floor, it looks more menacing.

The house I live in is surrounded by electric fences or rather surrounded by fields with electric fences.  Everywhere I walk I can hear them 'clicking' as they pass over tree trunks or fence posts.  It's actually quite a malevolent little sound and I was thinking of trying to incorporate this sound into the socket so that as you approach you can 'hear' the electricity too.  In this way the semi-attractiveness of the wire with it's curves and coloured pieces would be offset by the sound of the clicking.  Is it really plugged in?  Could I get a shock if I go too close?

With these cheery thoughts in mind I looked up electrocution and got some rather disturbing images and also found a lovely term - 'macroshock'This is the name given to an electrical shock that can kill you by causing the heart to fibrillate. I think I would like to explore this a little further.

Last of all, the back of the socket I was using was lovely!

I wonder if I could print directly from these pieces?  They're so random and geometric and have those unexpected little bronze and gold inserts.

I know I shouldn't but I started Photoshopping ...

The image below is from a photograph of the wire piece going up the wall, there's even the shadow of a telegraph pole in there and I want to print it NOW!