Wednesday, 3 February 2010


OK, so I have been seduced by wordpress. come join me there, all the posts you see here, plus new ones coming along all the time. sorry blogger :(

see you there! :)


Sketchbookity- not for the easily offended.

The graphic imagery is what I wanted. I have decided to call this project 'blood on their hands', and this refers to the shocking behaviour of some sectors of the church during the 17th and 18th Centuries. Hanging was a near daily experience in the city of Edinburgh with bodies left on display as a reminder to the citizens of what happened to those who did not conform to society's rules. I don't think my final piece weill be as dark as this, but we'll see when I get up into the workshop tomorrow.  

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Sunday Morning

Yes, I know its Wednesday, but I have been so busy I didn't get round to loading my photos up. Here is my Greyfriars trip documented in my favourite photos from the day. Expect sketchbook pages inspired by these soon, in the meantime, I'm off to another dissertation lecture...

Saturday, 30 January 2010

'Edinburgh's Dark Side'

The narrative project continues, and now I have a glass bead which will work, I have pretty much run out of excuses to be on the torch, so will have to leave it until this project is finished by the looks of things :( . Still, getting more into Edinburgh's gruesome history, and this will be forwarded even further tomorrow morning with a crack of dawn graveyard visit! My camera is up and running again so time to harness the best light of the day, and hopefully get some sketches done too. In the meantime, I have been reading more of Edinburgh's history on this brilliant blog I found: have a look, its really good and perfect for inspiration for this project. Little bit difficult to record it in a sketchbook though...
Also tomorrow I'm off to see 'Meet Your Maker', an exhibition on contemporary Scottish craft practice at the National Museum in the afternoon. Once I have warmed up from my sketching :)
Looking forward to it.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Glass Result!

So here they first beads! Managed to get some silver glass to wark, used frit. and encased and used stringer (hand pulled dont you know?!). Shocking at dots though, they need to be practiced. Overall though, I am happy with them, and more are annealing as we speak...

The whole reason I was making these was to find a couple of beads I can use in my current 'Crime and Punishment' project. Well, I think I have them :) you will have to wait a bit to see what I mean though.

Going out to Greyfriars again to sketchbook more on Sunday morning, must fill the pages! Have a good weekend! 


Friday, 22 January 2010

Melting Glass

I'm beginning to think there is a little pyromanic within me. I LOVE lampwork (or flamework as I am informed the Americans call it). Basically taking a rod of glass and melting it into a bead using your own hands. And a big torch, of course. So for the last couple of days I have been sitting at my torch melting and shaping beads, and it was only my 6th time doing it, so I am very proud to say I made something I am actually happy enough with to show the world! However, I cant show you yet because first I need to anneal them in Colin the Kiln on Monday, and then I need to photograph them. And photographing glass is hard. Wish me luck! Have a lovely weekend :)

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Dissertaton (emphasis on the "er")

Today started with a lecture. Basically, Hamid our lecturer held two fingers up at us and said 'This is how many semesters you have left until your dissertation hand in". Ouch. So, that having been said I'm mulling over my proposal in my mind and trying to think of sources. The idea I'm going with is the place jewellery has within the genre of public art. Does it have a place at all? How can jewellery be interactive? As far as I have manged to define it, public art is something which people stumble across, they don't seek it out like an exhibition. In a way it is forced upon them to view and judge. Can this be the case with jewellery (I want to define jewellery in this case as 'wearable art')? If it is, how is it received and what effect does it have (positive or negative) on the public? If this is not the case, then how can one make it so? What would be the advantage of giving jewellery a place in the public art realm? Or is jewellery something meant to be personal and private, close to the heart and not to be shared with just anyone?

So many questions. I'm confused by the whole thing to be honest. If anyone reading this has any opinions please feel free to leave me a comment, it would be very much appreciated :)

Meanwhile, this is a nice starting point. The photos are the work of Jane Gowans, a jeweller who graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone last year. These two are called 'Grope' and 'Slap'. This takes forcing the public to see and judge a piece to quite a literal level! So I'll be trying to talk to her about her opinons too :)


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Initial Drawings

These are some drawings of Edinburgh's Old Town I did this summer, and they are a nice starting point I think. I might look at witch burning as well, really interested in the idea of punishment without a crime, and why it happened back then. Time to go dark and murky with the research I think, but at least the weather at the moment complements it. Top to bottom: Greyfriars Bobby and the Hub, Mary Kings Close under the Royal Mile, and some (wonky!) extractions.

Covenanters and Kirkyards

I revamped the Favela again! Much happier with it though, but no photos...sorry, ***** camera charger arrived and its American, so doesn't fit in the socket! Assessment yesterday went well though :) some nice positive feedback. 

So onto the next project...Crime and Punishment...and thankfully not the Dostoevsky one! Back to Greyfriars Kirkyard, the Covenanter's Prison and Edinburgh's gruesome history I think. I'm really keen to bring some lampwork into this project and mix glass and silversmithing to prove to myself it can be done. The other two stipulations for this project is that it has to be Narrative (shouldn't be a problem) and a brooch (also a good thing because a brooch is hard to over complicate...I hope).

So here is what I know about the Covenanter's Prison (which is situated in the Kirkyard and so 'haunted' it is locked so the public can't get in) is this:

The Covenanters were in short a group of people who, in the 17th Century, drew up an agreement to promote Presbytarianism in Scotland, a branch of Christianity favoured in general by the public, as opposed to Episcopacy, which was favoured by the Crown. In 1679 as a result of the battle of Bothwell Bridge, around 1200 Covenanters were imprisoned, and about 400 of them in Greyfriars Kirkyard, awaiting trial. They were kept in the prison over five months, which happened to be in the winter. It ended in them either being executed, transported abroad as slaves, or in the case of many of them, dying while imprisoned in the Kirkyard.

Thats a very brief summary, but I'll develop it further through the project, especially exploring the 'punishment' side. It seems silly not to use Edinburgh's history since its just on the doorstep. I'll try and scan in some older sketches I did of the kirkyard during the summer so you can see what I'm going for. Meanwhile, above are a few photos which I'm using for inspiration :)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Favela (nearly) Finished

I apologise for the shocking photos (done on my friends phone, due to lack of my own camera!). I'll change them when i have some decent ones! Right, this is my Favela piece, though only with four magnets (more in the pipeline) and its still a work-in-progress. Its inspired by a quote I read when I was doing my research which mentioned the way Favelas are 'Hastily thrown together'. The idea with this necklace is it can be 'hastily thrown together', with the magnets not essential, but there to be built up quickly if desired. I think this piece is by no means a technical feat, but it is definitely a step forward for me in terms of concept. The two pictures are slightly different, as I have moved the magnets around a little bit so you can see what I mean in terms of building it up quickly and easily. Sketchbook to follow tomorrow, hopefully :) *
P.S. Its tied together with knotted Buri Nuts :)

Still no drawings, but my new favourite photo!

Isn't it beautiful? I love the contrast of the peeling paint and iron rails with the clean white laundry. It was taken by William Allard in 1995 for National Geographic in Italy and I love love love it. Inpiration is just what I need right now for my source project so good job I came across it.
Favelas and magnets almost done too, just spent the day setting some resin magnets to go with it.
Bye for now!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

So little time, so much to do!

Happy New Year!! Like everyone, chaos descended upon me for the last few weeks, but I'm back and getting my head above the water this week for our assessment on Monday! Nothing to show at the moment (my camera battery died, I'm awaiting a new one), but I'm making progress. Todays job is to go out to a blacksmith in Broxburn to get an assortment of scrap iron and steel to put the finishing touch to the Favela project. Why iron and steel? I've been experimenting with interchangable decoration, using magnets! I'm really pleased with it so far and hopefully this will finish it up as I envision. Pics will follow :)
The next project coming up is Narrative, ie. it must tell a story or have a conceptual meaning and background. We were given a list of current affairs to inspire us, and they included everything from Dolly the Sheep to Pornography. I have decided to go with Crime and Punishment, but haven't really started anything yet so will let you know how that progresses.
Finally what we are also meant to have been working on is a Source Project for our degree show. I'm off to visit Edinburgh Castle tomorrow for some more inspiration there, and will hopefully have more sketchbook pages to show by the time I get to a scanner!
I hope everyone had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year