Friday 18 January 2019

Having a Bit of a Turn, Going For The Throat, Getting it in the Neck, Hanging by a Thread, etc etc. . .

In a moment of inspiration, I actually thought of something for my wife to get me for Christmas just passed. I find that just one of the many downsides of being all grown up (technically at least) is that you struggle to find anything you actually want for Christmas. Anything within a reasonable price bracket anyway. Grown ups are so boring. . .

Talking of which, I actually asked my kids to get me some slippers this year, sheesh, what happened to me??

But contrary to expectation, this festive season found me prepared.
"I'll have one of those cheap Chinese micro-lathes" I said. "Please."
And that's what I got ;-)

I've only had a bit of a play with it so far, but it's pretty good. All I want to do with it is cut groovy grooves in polymer clay, or wooden beads, which is relatively undemanding. I tried it on some wooden beads I picked up in a charity shop a while ago, and once I had stopped the bead from slipping too much it worked OK. (I need something called a 'drive centre', I'm looking into it but for now I am using a countersink from my power drill which works up to a point. .)

I seem to have gone all vibrant, colour wise. . . hmmm. .

I made some experimental, randomly grooved beads, which I then painted with alcohol inks and varnished. I like how they came out even though they soaked up the varnish somewhat. I will make some plain poly clay tube beads to experiment on next. As well as scouring the charity shops for more wooden beads to mess up of course.

A double grid, ancient lino, plastic sleeving and early JBD experimental poly clay claws. Kind of Industrial Gothic

The other thing I have been slowly venturing towards is making actual necklaces using my eccentric grid based pendant focal things. Rather than selling them on for other people to have all the the fun, I have been considering how I would hang them myself, in a way that is a bit more arty and considered than just sticking them on a bit of chain.

Modelled by Ethel, the dummy retrieved from the local dump for £2 a year or two ago.The last of the big spenders, me. .

Well, that said, I have actually stuck one or two on some simple chain, but chain that consists of large, artily crude, home made (by me) links that suit the vibe of the piece. Using plain copper or upcycled garden wire hammered flat(ish) for strength and because I like how it looks.

A large image transfer poly clay square with some double sided through drilled squares that matched the colour

 I am encouraged by the results and am considering trying to sell some pieces. I admit to feeling somewhat intimidated by this prospect, as the subject of price rears it's contentious head. . .

Ethel again, showing you how it should be worn

Also, I am not entirely sure where to sell. I need to research some Facebook groups I think and ask around for some feedback and advice. Any thoughts you may have on the matter would be gratefully received ;-)

So here are some more things I have been working on. . .

Enjoy. .. and see you next time,
Jon x

Electronic components, a poly clay im trans square and a plastic railway figure

A bit long maybe?

Two fuses and a big electronic whatsit in a nice shade of blue

Copper links this time

Thursday 3 January 2019

Blog Neglect Hits new Heights, Ideas are Everywhere, Including the Strange Case of The Mirrors and The Guinea Fowl,

The New Year's Eve gig we played at our local pub had a masked theme, so I spent a happy half hour knocking up this fake primitive mask out of some packaging I had lying around and some acrylic paints. I couldn't really see to play while wearing it, so it didn't stay on long ;-)

Well, first things first - Happy New Year!

May it be full of love, light and creativity and all that stuff. . .

I have been pretty busy with all sorts of things over the last month or two, and as a consequence, not really in the mind set to write blog posts. When you are busy, some things have to be put aside, and as blog posts are a kind of ephemeral extra, they tend to be victim number one.

Victim number two, though by no means an ephemeral extra, has been bead making. I took the opportunity to take a break, as cramming in the the odd hour or two in my workshop, between serious DIY and catering for Xmas guests is not really useful or satisfying.
A break meant that I could take stock and do the New Year thing of taking a step back and looking at where I am and what direction I might take next. This break also meant sacrificing a couple of week's potential earnings, but you can't make the proverbial omelette without breaking eggs. . . Well, you could try, but it wouldn't be any entirely sane person's idea of an omelette really. . .

Some of the serious DIY I have been busy with. Faux panelling with corbels and bits. The right hand door has since been replaced and stained etc, and the wall behind the clock is a gingery dark brown. Very cozy and old looking.

So here I am, somewhat shamefacedly blogging again. Thank you for your patience ;-)

As you may have noticed over the months, my work often goes off on tangents, triggered by something I just discovered by accident, or just came across in the course of day to day life. Sometimes a process, sometimes an object or type of material. I have developed an instinct for noticing potentially useful happy accidents, and due to the positive response I get, the confidence to pursue them further.

Mirror shard, poly clay backing, blue alcohol ink, copper bail

So when I accidentally broke the mirror we had put out in the garden for the Guinea Fowl it triggered an idea. . .
Wait a minute, you put out a what?
It's a bit of a long story, but I will be as concise as I can.

We have two guinea fowl which potter about our large garden and the surrounding area, including neighbour's gardens. Everyone seems OK with this as they are harmless and quite amusing to watch if not to listen to (!).

Everyone that is except our immediate neighbour who was a touch upset by their habit of pecking at his patio doors and leaving a bit of a mess on his doorstep from time to time. Was there anything we could do about this, he wondered.

Well, other than having a quiet word with them, which wasn't an entirely serious idea, or getting rid of them, which was out of the question, we couldn't really come up with anything. So we did a bit of research.

Guinea Fowl are social creatures and live in quite large flocks in the wild, so we wondered if the reason they were hanging out by, and pecking at the windows was because seeing their reflections made them think they were amongst other Guineas.
So as an experiment we put a couple of spare mirrors we happened to have left over from our house move, out in the garden.
This did seem to get their attention, and they did spend time in front of the mirrors so we hoped for the best.
The neighbour hasn't complained since, but he has found a new partner recently, which might have mellowed him out a bit ;-)
(he looks after two boys in their early teens on his own, which must be a bit stressful)

So crossing fingers, that has amicably solved that little issue.

Not easy to photograph any of these mirror thingies. . . The copper came out looking a bit brassy in this pic

Now, to the happy accident part.

One of the mirrors was leant against our household compost bin. This bin is rather full and the seams are opening up somewhat. It needs emptying but I figured a well aimed kick might help close it up a bit. Only it wasn't a well aimed kick, it caught the mirror and smashed it to bits. (it was cracked already to be fair, so I didn't claim my 13 years bad luck). I was on my way to the waste bin with said bits when I had a 'Hmmm. . I wonder.  ." moment and headed for my workshop instead.

A mirror is basically a sheet of glass with silver nitrate on the back, so, I figured, that backing could be scraped off in such a way as to make interesting patterns. I carefully broke off some small bits of mirror and reached for the Dremel and the grinding bits.
It worked quite well, (I quickly realised I should wear a face mask as inhaling fine glass dust is not such a great idea.) so I made a few drops/charms using this technique. Extending the process to involve polymer clay backing, both coloured and non coloured.

I'm enjoying these little 'man' motifs. Kind of petroglyph - ish ;-)

So there you have it, how Guinea Fowl related disruption can lead to creative innovation of a modest kind ;-)
Which supports my long held belief that the wonder of life has a lot to do with it's random and absurd moments. . .
Until next time, which will not involve a wait as long as the last time,
Jon x

They combine nicely with other objects, so you may see more of this sort of thing in the next few months