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Archive for August, 2008

Here’s a (not very good) photo of my latest garden welding idea –  a ‘virtual’ semi-orb arrangement with a piece of holed rock hanging from it. It’s quite a tall piece (6ft or so) – the welds need to weather a bit but apart from that it looks pretty good with the stone twisting in the breeze.

'Orb on a stick' garden sculpture

Unfortunately it also marks the end of my supply of welding rods, so I’m desperately trying to source a new vendor as we speak – any ideas of a good supplier (either in the UK or on-line) gratefully received!

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Anyone that knows me well will be aware of my copper pipe lighting creations. . . For ages now I’ve been working on developing a range of one-off/bespoke steampunk-styled creations from scrap copper plumbing, bits of brass and sundry found items. Finally, after a long time of refining my technique, sourcing just the right power supplies, bulbs and fittings, and finding what I hope is an original ‘voice’ in the field, I’m ready to release them onto the world!

As an introduction, here’s my latest piece. Smaller than most of my creations (which tend to be large floor-standing works) this neat little work lamp is named The Optimus, after the Swedish-made brass stove that forms the base of the lamp. I’m really pleased with the general look/feel, the proportions of brass to copper elements (some of my earlier pieces maybe had a bit to much copper and not enough brass to suit a steampunk purist) and the elegant touches that the stove base brings to the work (including folding brass legs, the moving pump assembly, various screw caps etc).

The Optimus steampunk desk lamp

The Optimus steampunk desk lamp

The bulb shown in the picture is a large 50W halogen, but this can be replaced with a smaller 20W bulb if required. The telephone (a fantastic photographic prop owned by the StockdaleMartin agency) was just put there as an indication of scale, but actually complements the piece really well.

I may add a few bits to the piece before it goes on show/sale – the brass fitting half way up and a triad of crevices around the base are just crying out for some additional doohickeys!

As I mentioned at the beginning, this is the precursor to my new range, and I’m working on the website to display/sell them as we speak (naturally I’ll post the full details up here when it’s ready to launch). As always, I’d love to hear what anyone out there thinks, so please feel free to drop me some comments. . .

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A friend of mine has recently started a new business venture, de-cluttering people’s overstocked wardrobes.

Called The Wardrobe Wizard, the concept centres on our natural inclination to hoard clothes that we no longer use/wear. It also relies on the fact that so many of us (for a multitude of reasons such as a lack of time, pure inertia, inclination etc) feel completely unable to rationalise our lives by ourselves unaided.

The Wardrobe Wizard logo

The Wardrobe Wizard logo

I came up with a corporate ID for the business, and also designed some marketing collaterals to send round to suitably over-stocked looking houses. In exchange, Alisceon said she would come to my place this weekend and de-clutter my rather sad-looking two rails-worth of clothes!

As a bloke, I didn’t think that I would have too many unused clothes, but I was amazed at just how much wasted space my old, tatty, unworn or simply inappropriate (the word ‘abomination’ was used a few times during the process. . .) clothes were taking up! Alisceon employs a very structured five point plan in her de-cluttering (including such things as activity analyses, clustering procedures and maintenance schedues ) which rapidly leaves one feeling much more ordered and calm!

Her business is soon to be featured in a glossy lifestyle magazine, so I’ll hopefully get a PDF copy of that and post it up asap. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in employing her services, drop me a comment here and I’ll pass on her details.

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I’ve been getting a bit worried about my ears lately. . . A combination of my rapidly advancing years, the loud-ish gigs I’ve been doing and an intense recent spell of using headphones/inner ear phones I suspect are largely to blame. Even the angle grinding in the shed is definitely not helping the situation, so something had to be done…

I asked advice from a friend of mine who works in the audiology field, and she recommended me a firm called Advanced Communication Solutions, and their fabulous product the ER20 Universal Protectors.

Although not for anyone in extreme volume situations, or for people in continually noisy environments (for those applications it seems one really needs custom-made protection which can be in the £250 bracket), the ER20s seem ideal. ACS were also incredibly helpful – I didn’t have a stockist in my area, but ordering direct from them on the phone was incredibly simple. A very helpful sales person said she’d get them in the post that night – they arrived next day, immaculately packed and all for only £13.95 English pounds!

I’ve just tried them out at the Cropredy festival (where even standing as a punter at the very front of the arena I noticed an immediate improvement) and also at a loudish gig on Monday night where I experienced none of the usual problems I’ve been having lately.

Check them out!!!

ER20 hearing protectors/ear plugs

ER20 hearing protectors/ear plugs

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Attention to detail

Near me is an old set of farm buildings that is extensively used as a tv/film location. A recent period production has just finished filming there (yet another Dickens remake, I suspect) and I swung by to have a look.

Tucked away on a side wall was a noticeboard prop, a series of posters which I am assume is seen for mere seconds on-screen, and probably only as fleeting background scenery even then. I was amazed therefore to see the amount of work and attention to detail that had gone into them – not only in the selection of paper type, the degree of weathering and the careful arrangement, but also in the choice of fonts and indeed the use of appropriate period text/content (not any old random Greek-speak/lorem ipsum here!).

I’m not sure the photo below does it justice, but I’m really looking forward to catching the final film somewhere and seeing just how much screen time this labour-intensive bit of set dressing gets

Period film/tv poster scenery

Addendum: here’s another interesting shot from the same film set – spooky!!

Skull

Skull

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Strangely for the UK, the last few days have been swelteringly hot! When you have deadlines to meet and only a ‘hot desk’ for company, it gets pretty uncomfortable!

Luckily I had an old PC cooling fan and a redundant Nokia phone charger to hand (like one does!?). Put the two together and voilà, a small, quiet and surprisingly effective personal cooling fan. So far it’s not blown up, or resulted in any passers-by losing a finger!

Desktop fan

Desktop fan

I think a nice steampunk-style stand/cradle would improve it still further, so will have a hunt in the skip for some suitable parts.

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