Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2009

I had the good fortune to be at The Grove Hotel recently for a friend’s birthday celebrations. Anyone knowing this swanky modern hotel will know that it’s been designed with a large selection of modern art and sculpture as part of its decor – I’ve put a few shots of interesting pieces up on my Flikr site here >>).

In the garden of the hotel was something that particularly caught my eye – this fantastic copper bowl which sits at the head of a water run:

Copper Bowl

Copper Bowl

Copper Bowl in context

Copper Bowl in context

Something about this piece really reminded me (although it’s much grander in scale of course!) of a copper bird bath that I created for my garden some time ago. Made from the inverted top of an old copper water cylinder, I plugged several holes that existed in the top (for the valve, the inlet pipes etc), filled the bottom couple of inches of the bowl with concrete, and added a vertical piece of 22mm copper pipe topped off with the bent figure made from the heating elements. I then added a layer of pea shingle to cover the concrete, and a few sea shells etc for interest.

Clearly there is no water in this picture, but when full it  fills just to the top of the 22mm  copper pipe that juts up from the centre. When it rain and the water level rises, excess water simply flows into this pipe and out onto the ground.

The whole thing sits on a section of aluminium pipe, just to lift it a little way off the ground.

My copper bird bath

My copper bird bath

Read Full Post »

Here’s a couple of new garden ornaments I’ve just slung together – my usual theme of rusty things stuck on the top of equally rusty poles!

I’ve had these old saws lying around for a while now and had intended to remove the wooden handles, but decided at the last minute I quite liked them left on there! Nothing much to say about either of these creations but they look quite good in silhouette against the sky/plants.

These are both just out of the welding shed, so will hopefully ‘weather’ a bit, the welding marks blend in, the wood age a bit more etc.

Big Saw

Big Saw

Little Saw

Little Saw

Big Saw / Little Saw

Big Saw / Little Saw

Read Full Post »

I went to a performance of my composer friend David Bruce’s new song set/opera Piosenki at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith at the weekend.- most excellent it was too!!

Featured in the piece is David’s ‘lagerphone’, a crazy percussion instrument made from three spade handles, bells and lots of metal disks / bottle tops!

Here is a terrible picture I took of it during the performance (I wasn’t really allowed to take photos so they were a bit rushed!) but there are some much better ones on his website here taken during rehearsals.

The is also a bit of video detailing some of the performances here – the Lagerphone kicks in at about 2.53.

Lagerphone

David Bruce's Lagerphone

There are lots of things on the web about Lagerphones – check out the Groanbox Boys site/page as a good start!

I’ve been inspired for a while now to create my own Lagerphone, but needless to say it’s taken me ages and is becoming far more complex than I ever imagined. A lot of this is down to the fact I decided I’d do a nicely crafted and ‘themed’ version, based around a single remaining ‘heavy metal-style ‘ boot from a pair I used to wear at gigs (no idea where the other one went but I always suspected it feel out of my car one night when getting changed in some terrible pub car park somewhere!).

The Boot! (will for the bottom foot of the lagerphone and serves as the inspiration for the whole theme)

The Boot! (will for the bottom foot of the lagerphone and serves as the inspiration for the whole theme)

Another long task in the creation of my Heavy Metal Lagerphone has been obtaining enough bottle tops (a vital component and responsible for the jangly sound the ‘phone makes when shaken or banged on the floor) – I figured I’d need around 400 of these, and for months now have been getting friends and family to collect them for me. I also decided these had to be burnt in a fire to give them the correct distressed patina – yet more delays as it’s never a good time to have a bonfire here in the UK now (rubbish weather, smoke restrictions, etc).

Burnt bottle tops!

Burnt bottle tops!

Anyway, here are a few work-in-progress shots on my Flikr site – I’ll add more of these as the project progresses. David’s opera was a real inspiration for me to crack on with the project – as always, watch this space!

Read Full Post »

Handle bargain!

Look what I’ve just bought in the sale at my local B+Q DIY Store for 10p – that’s 0.10 of an English pound, people!

Brass handles bargain!

Brass handles bargain!

Not only were they dirt cheap, but I also thought they would be perfect for my Steampunk Carrying Case project.

I forgot to put anything in there for scale again, but the handles are about 30 cm in width, so pretty substantial. I thought they would be ideal to put on the edges of the carrying case, to help maneuver it around on the flat. Here’s a picture of them in place:

'Bargain' end handles in place

'Bargain' end handles in place

You will notice from this shot that there also now a handle on the top of the box – I added a couple of these recently as an additional aid in maneuvering the thing around (it’s surprisingly heavy when all the gubbins inside are in place). Here’s a better view:

View of the new top handles

View of the new top handles

I think that’s about it for the outside of the box now – I’m worried that it’s starting to get a bit over-cluttered with things. So, just the insides to complete (nearly there now!) and I can move on to the next project!

By the way, there is a set of general work in progress shots of this project on my Flikr site here >>

Again I’ll add more when it’s finally complete.

Read Full Post »

I was kicking back this Sunday and reading one of the Sunday supplements – in it was an article concerning people who had been made redundant in the recent recession and used the opportunity to set up their own craft businesses.

One that really caught my eye was the following website (it’s in German unfortunately so I’m not completely sure what each of the pages say!) but it’s for a lady who sources/finds/is donated old drawers. She turns these into new pieces of bespoke furniture – a local cabinet maker creates the cases and these are then covered in white laminate.

There are lots of designs on the site, and I loved the way the old (often scratched, covered in writing etc) drawers juxtapose against the fresh white laminate.

Check out the site here: http://www.schubladen.de/

schubLaden_-schubLaden

Read Full Post »

For what seems like ages now I’ve been writing and rehearsing with my stupendous nylon-sting guitar playing friend Gerald Roberts. Having done the tortuous bit (ie all the squabbling, negotiating and compromising needed to get an initial set of tunes together), we finally got around to getting some gigs…

Having played at a friends party (many thanks to CM and all the guests for putting up without musical fumblings throughout the evening), doing a gig in near-horizontal rain in a local park (thanks to all those brave enough to stay and watch us nearly getting electrocuted), we then went on to play a very nice charity fund-raising event in a beautiful and secluded country location. For all these gigs we were joined on upright bass by the excellent Alan Andrews, who makes a huge difference to the sound thanks to his massive bottom end!

Here’s a picture of us playing at the charity gig. . .

Us at a charity fund-raising garden party

Us at a charity fund-raising garden party

I like this photo as it shows just what a lovely setting it was. The speck on the skyline (just above Gerald’s right shoulder) is not a fault on the photo, but rather a rapidly approaching hot air balloon – what more could one ask for whilst sitting playing instrumental ‘world’ jazz music on a warm UK summer evening!

Here’s another shot, taken a bit later in the evening as the sun was beginning to set:

Us, a bit later on. . .

Us, a bit later on. . .

So, having got these first outings under out belt we are on the search for more playing opportunities, working on yet more material, and hopefully will get around to doing a recording in the not too distant future. Stay tuned…!

Read Full Post »

Hej from Sweden!

I’ve not posted for a week or so, as I’ve been having a little trip away to visit a very old friend in sunny (or as it proved, rather wet and stormy ) Sweden!

My mate lives a few Kms outside a smallish town on the coast called Lysekil, a couple of hours outside Gothenburg. He lives in beautiful seclusion there and, amongst other things, runs a small guesthouse business. Anyone wanting a truly relaxing break in beautiful surroundings, could do a lot worse – visit his website here >>

Here are a selection of rather random photos I took on the trip – I was hoping to see lots of exemplars of Swedish design whilst on my travels but I think I was just too far out in the wilds! However, I did get to drive a tractor, use a chainsaw and go in a motor boat while I was there, so those things more than made up for the lack of trendy designer things to look at!

The area is inundated with massive slugs - known as Murder Slugs by the locals!! teh only yhting known to eat them is a particular species of duck, but apparently that is really unpleasant also!

The area is inundated with massive slugs - known as 'Murder Slugs' by the locals!! The only thing known to eat them is one particular species of duck, but apparently they are also really unpleasant!

The most organised local tip I have ever seen, full of lots of lovely things to make into art!

The most organised (as you would expect) local tip I have ever seen, full of lots of lovely things to make into art!

The workshop in the local boat yard - heaven!

The workshop in the local boat yard - heaven!

Here's me driving my first tractor - enormous fun!

Here's me driving my first tractor - enormous fun!

A nearby sauna building - I just included this because I loved the photo/setting... a marvellous place!

A nearby sauna building - I just included this because I loved the photo/setting... a marvellous place!

Read Full Post »