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Posts Tagged ‘recycling’

This week saw the opening of the 10 day exhibition of my steampunk items and sculpture. After an extremely hectic couple of days setting up, I am really pleased with the results! We had an opening night Private View on the first day, attended by none other than the Mayor of St Albans as well as lots of friends and general punters. Smooth jazz for the evening was provided by my brother, who I must say did an excellent job! Here are just a few selected photos both from the night and also of some of the general works on show / for sale. Do get in touch if anything strikes your fancy!

Private-view-2

My brother playing jazz

David Hardy (portrait artist), Sam Sawdy (organsier), me, The Mayor of St Albans

David Hardy (portrait artist), Sam Sawdy (organsier), me, The Mayor of St Albans

10Key rings and light pulls

Key rings and light pulls

The 'Black Box' lamp

The ‘Black Box’ lamp

General view of some of the stuff

General view of some of the stuff

The 'Silver Box' lamp

The ‘Silver Box’ lamp

The 'Art Deco Uplighter' (the star of the show so far – I could have sold loads of these!)

The ‘Art Deco Uplighter’ (the star of the show so far – I could have sold loads of these!)

Another general view

Another general view

A shot with moody lighting

A shot with moody lighting

A few of the steampunk items

A few of the steampunk items

A new uplighter

A new uplighter

Steampunk coat hooks

Steampunk coat hooks

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Words fail me on Mati Karmin’s – one of Estonia’s foremost sculptors – use of recycled materials (Mines! That’s right, the explosive kind!) in the constuction of his art and furniture… Utter genius!

Check out his website here >>

Mati Karmin's Mines!

Mati Karmin's Mines!

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. . . because you never know when it is going to come in handy!?

This philosophy has been the tenet for most of my life (and hence why my tiny house is so full of stuff!). Anyway, here’s a recent story that reinforces the idea…

Years ago a friend of mine into IT gave me an old Yamaha Sub woofer unit from a set of PC speakers. I’d never used it, had none of the right cables, none of the accompanying speakers and, if truth be told, no real use for it either. I’d finally consigned it to the loft a few years ago, and during a recent futile attempt to de-clutter my life, had even contemplated simply taking it apart for ‘bits’, giving it to the local Freecycle site or even, heaven forbid, sending it to the local tip (scandalous!). . . Then, something happened (stick with me on this one). . .

Original woofer!

Original woofer!

A couple of weekends ago I did a little gig at the excellent Hitchin Folk Club (winner of 2005 Folk Club of the Year, no less!) with Navaro, supporting Little Johnny England. We’d done a sound check, sat around for a bit, and then decided that we should use the intervening time wisely by having a quick run thought of some newish material we were doing that night. The rest of the band were all ok for doing this (they had acoustic guitars, their voices and even a tambourine!) – I on the other hand (playing as I do in that band a solid body electic bass guitar, completely inaudible without some sort of amplification), realised that I had absolutely no way of playing along with them / being heard (band bass amp being already set/miked up on stage and hence unmovable).

The only way I managed to play along with them at all was to rest my front teeth on the upper bout of the guitar body so that I could ‘feel’ the notes (a bit like the feeling one gets if you hold a tuning fork in your teeth!). Not only are my teeth getting too old for that sort of thing, it looked ridiculous, gave me a pain in the neck / back and was clearly a waste of time for the others.

What I need, I thought to myself, is a tiny little amp capable of being carried anywhere at will (just in case it’s needed), which doesn’t need to be too loud, yet can handle bass frequencies without shaking itself to bits. Eureka! Enter the redundant bass woofer unit – essentially no more than a purpose-built solid box, with its own little built-in amp and a sturdy bass-friendly speaker – it even has a little bass reflex tube for added bottom end!

With a quick bit of modding (I added some feed on the side so that it can be stood and carried in a more space-saving upright position, made a handle out of some old bits of cast off metal, soldered together a lead to allow a standard guitar jack lead to plugged on to the thing and voila! It’s never going to make an appearance on a stadium stage, but as a portable, ‘go-anywhere and simply be heard for rehearsing’ amp, it does the job. And more importantly, it’s now put to good use rather than adding to landfill!

Here’s a few photos:

Handle components

Handle components

Handle assembled

Handle assembled

The new 'Bass Amp' woofer!

The new 'Bass Amp' woofer!

Note the new cable and handle cable tie

Note the new handle, cable and cable tie

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Just heard a very good half hour programme on BBC Radio 4 (as detailed below) all about art made from litter – my kind of heaven!!

You can hear it on the BBC’s excellent ‘listen again’ service, available here –  better be quick though, as I think they only keep programmes up there for one week after transmission?

26 February 2009,  11:30: The Art of Litter
John Wilson explores the reasons why some artists use rubbish in their work and the messages they often communicate about waste, consumerism and the dispensability of modern life.

BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 95 FM and 198 Long Wave

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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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