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Archive for October, 2008

Here’s something I’ve completed recently, a large candlestick made from just two found items – a banister post rescued from a skip and a rusted iron ring taken from the centre of an old cable drum.  Combined together with a bit of routing and staining, and the result is surprisingly pleasing.

Unfortunately when I took the photo I omitted to include anything to show the scale of the piece – it’s much larger than is first seems, standing some 74cm high by about 10cm across. With a large church-style candle in it, I’m hoping it’s going to make a pleasant addition to my newly-painted living room (some shots of this seemingly endless project will follow in the next few days, assuming I ever get it completed !)

rustic candlestick

rustic candlestick

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So there I was, having lunch in a small country pub to celebrate my dad’s 84th birthday. . . Glancing up into the ceiling void I spot a selection of massive (and I mean massive) copper ball cocks, just hanging there bold as brass (or do I mean copper?).

The photo below doesn’t do it justice – the lighting was poor, my batteries were low, my hand a bit shakey and there was nothing to show the scale of each item – but here is the smallest of three such devices.

What I want to know is, where can one find such things in this day and age!? Think of the potential steampunk/Maker-uses!?

Anyone have any ideas. . . contact me!!

copper ball cock

copper ball cock

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So having etched the ‘Team Wah’ logo into a brass plate (see earlier post here) I finally got around to completing a display stand for it.

In that the brass plate I used for the etching had come from my old letterbox, it seemed sensible to make the rest of the letterbox (ie the surrounding part) into the basis of the stand. Combined with the usual staples of a bit of copper and brass pipework, an old tap, a cast off light fitting and a funky wooden base, the ‘steampunk styley’ result can be seen below.

'Team Wah' completed sign

I’ve still got a few bits and pieces to add here and there (the two brass supports either side of the flap are crying out for some widgety things to be added whenever I come across the right thing – and I may add a tiny light bulb inside the yellow bezel at some point. .  .)

It serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever, other than to be a bit of a talking point for clients etc. So far no one has tried posting anything through the flap, but it’s only a matter of time. . .

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Shortly after the completion and display of The Optimus’ desk lamp, I was given some redundant computer cooling fans by Mark Brown of Applestorm IT systems.

“Thought you might be able to use them for something?” he said…

Despite their functional usage these fans turn out to be real works of art, clearly very cleverly designed/constructed and using a nice lot of copper at the core. Below is a picture of one of them that instantly set mind mind racing for possible applications (I’ve put a penny in the foreground for scale). . .

Original cooling fan

The first concept evolved into a steampunk-style desk fan, conceived as a companion to The Optimus’. This new creation came together amazingly quickly, with many of the pieces seeming to fit/look ‘right’ together almost naturally. Here’s the front view, taken for scale alongside the same telephone prop as used for The Optimus shot: 

Steampunk Desk Fan

Steampunk Desk Fan

Construction centered around lots of copper pipe, some of the beautiful newly designed UK one penny coins as end caps/general decorations, and lots of random brass/copper bits and pieces here and there. Mix all these with a judicious smattering of clock parts, an old lamp base, plumbing elements, brass candle stick bits, a spring and some simple wiring to a 12 volt supply, and, voilà!

Here’s a back view – did I mention it swivels from side to side, as well as forwards and backwars to direct the air where required?

As always, any comments/suggestions would be gratefully received…

Steampunk Desk Fan (back view)

Steampunk Desk Fan (back view)

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Someone asked me the other day why I’d not posted anything ‘musical’ lately… why has it all been ‘maker’ stuff etc? No reason to be honest, simply that nothing particularly note/blog worthy has been happening in recent weeks – life goes like that sometimes. . .

Last night however, things started to come back round. I had a gig with Navaro, the folk/county originals band that I occasionally dep for on bass guitar. The imminent release of their first album Under Diamond Skies is just around the corner (27th October) but advance copies are now becoming available on-line from either HMV or Amazon (and I’m guessing elsewhere in the near future?)

Navaro - Under Diamond Skies Album cover

Navaro - Under Diamond Skies Album cover

To mark this event and also as a pre-cursor to a range of forthcoming gigs – including one at the fabulous Stables theatre – the band was joined for the first time ‘live’ last night by the top melodeon player Gareth Turner (of Little Johnny England fame etc) who also plays on the album.

Considering we didn’t have a full rehearsal, and despite the tune re-arrangements and key changes required to meet the challenges of the full band, the gig went incredibly smoothly and seemed well received by all.  I’ve no photos or recordings unfortunately so you’ll have to just take my word for it!  I’ll try to add further content from other gigs as/when it becomes available…

A review of the album can be found on the Folk and Roots website here (you’ll need scroll down the page a bit!)

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So back in 2003, I (along with 40 or so other artists) took part in specially curated art exhibition outside the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MODA) in North London. Called ‘MODA Outsized’, the exhibition ran from April – August 2003 and was concerned with site-specific works which all had a theme of domestic design at their core.

My piece was called ‘Trunk‘, as seen below (sorry for the rather small sized image, it’s the only one I could find after all this time!). Filling the hollowed out stump of an old tree, the work was a collection of wooden domestic/household items, emerging from the ruined stump a bit like new shoots. The arrangement had an almost ‘cathedral-like’ appearance and (in my head at least!) discussed many current issues such as recycling, sustainability etc.

'Trunk' as it was in 2003

'Trunk' as it was in April 2003

The piece should have been removed at the end of the exhibition but since it was truly site-specific (and indeed concreted into place) that would have been impossible without a sledgehammer! Luckily the very helpful museum’s Facilities Manager said it could just remain until it fell apart – being composed entirely of wooden elements and situated out in the full force of the elements that seemed pretty likely in a few years.

I popped back to see it a year or so later, and it was holding up surprisingly well. Someone had even added to it – there was an old fishing rod wedged into the middle…

Being over five years on I thought it was time for another visit, and the results can be seen below… Clearly time has taken its toll on poor old ‘Trunk‘! Although I was surprised to find a lot of the actual elements still in one piece they were pretty widely scattered around the surrounding woodland, and the body of the work itself had only the strongest pieces remaining in place. It’s a pretty accessible site and I think vandalism had sounded the death knell of the work, rather than the effects of just the elements. Still, it was nice while it lasted and in a way its return to the earth fits the ethos of the piece quite well (saying that I’d love to get my hands on the culprits – probably a roving bunch of militant art critics!?)

'Trunk' in 2008

'Trunk' in October 2008

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