Saturday, 31 March 2012

Song of the day...

I love listening to music everyday when I get the chance in the early hours of the morning, and for me the song of the day that I want to share is 'The Last Polar Bear' by O'Hooley and Tildow.

As it's Earth Hour I think it's fitting.

Have a great day!


So this morning I awoke at 5am with a feeling of determined purpose and a new guitar riff in my head, so for me it was a musical morning! I think that every day should start like this because it makes me feel so alive, so happy and I know that no matter what happens I'm going to have a great day.
It is the last day of the flute for me, and I'm really happy with my progress. I still need to work on my breathing skills (lung capacity needs to increase a lot if I want to play more than five consecutive notes...) however I am teaching myself the Godfather theme which has been in my head all week for some reason...


I love giving gifts to people, especially at the end of a long week or the beginning of a new one. I think that there's nothing more special than making someones day a bit brighter, so with that in mind on Thursday and Friday I used some of my savings from my job at the college to purchase what seemed like half of Thornton's chocolate eggs...I went in three times throughout the day to get Easter eggs for everyone in my year, but ended up buying them for a few more people who definitely deserve a wee Easter gift!! (The young man in the shop must have realised they weren't all for me and kindly gave me a further reduced price, so thank you Thornton's man!!)

My college work has been going quite well as I have finally managed to convince myself that making a soloist music stand is the right thing to do. I think that most of the time the person that stops you from realising your potential, is you. It's hard to admit, but for the past two years I have been stopping myself from actually moving forward and increasing my creative skills!!! Now I am focused and ready for the hard work ahead. With the stand design that I'm making I am going to be working a total of eight meters of 20mm round bar for the main sections, with an added length for the top section where the music sits (and some other details on the main body) and at least 200mm of 10-12mm square copper bar.
I love forging copper every now and then and I like to think that I have managed to get my copper forging skills to an acceptable level. I think it looks great next to mild steel if you get the right finish and I think it's appropriate for this piece to have a least one dissimilar metal just as the piece of music I'm working to has different ideas and sections.

Some photographs will follow tomorrow as today is a day of Spring cleaning, music writing and relaxing because I feel I deserve it!!

That's all for now because the Internet in the house is too unpredictable at the moment!! I would say that to anyone reading this, please support Earth Hour which is happening today at 8.30pm and details of what it's all about can be found on


Monday, 19 March 2012

Final designs for 'Confirmation of Practice'...

Okay, so I realise I never actually posted about finishing the last project, so here is a brief summary of what I did...

Basically the last project was all about music (all of my work for the immediate future is going to be inspired by music), so I listened to a lot of instrumental work and drew along with it. I deconstructed pieces so that I could draw the different ornamentation e.g. mordants, turns etc. as visuals which then became the foundation for my designs.

I decided to pick a product for my design rather than make a sculpture because I liked the idea of making a music stand which could reflect the music on the score.
Below are some pictures of the design process in my sketchbook and then the final items displayed with music scores/books at my college space!!

Below is a picture of my book end/stand, designed to hold a particular book to display the front cover. In this case I chose 'The Scottish Students Songbook' (printed in 1897!!!).

Below are some photographs of my finished music stand.

Long weekends...

Okay, so first I feel I should apologise for the lack of any posts in a while. With the dissertation handed in, I can finally start to work my way towards final designs and final business plan!
The past two weeks have been quite stressful, however I had a wonderful day out in London on Friday 16th March to attend the New Designers Prepare Day.

The day started at 5am for me so that I could pack, shower and collect my tickets from Hereford station. Having never been to London, I was a bit nervous about changing at the right station...Worcester Forgate, or Worcester Shrub Hill...? Luckily the train only stopped at one, so after that it was a straight journey to Paddington Station.

On the two hour journey I managed to write a bit about some of the issues/stories that I could hear around me, from the 'Kindle' to 'The difference between Value and Worth'...I love writing about things when I'm travelling.

I got into Paddington for 11am and made my way to the Tube Station, and I can honestly say that it was my idea of Hell to begin with. There were people rushing around everywhere, there were queues for the cash machine and the ticket machine and then I had to figure out which kind of ticket to get...
Luckily for me one of the other students from Hereford College of Art was attending the Prepare Day and so I phoned her and she came to meet me, then from there it was a quick trip to Angel Station and a five minute walk from there to the Business Design Centre.

My first impression was that it was almost like a shopping mall, and the (Victorian?) design of the building was absolutely beautiful!

After taking a seat near the front there was about two hours of talks about the show, what needs to be presented and how, then a break with the chance to talk to some of the speakers, and then another hour and a half about costing and pricing, copyright and marketing.

I have to admit, that at the beginning of the talk I thought I was going to fall asleep (going out on a pub crawl the night before was not exactly the best thing to do, even if I only had a excuse is that I got a free t-shirt, so obviously had to go!!!), however I kept taking notes and found the entire talk to be really informative, well presented and although a few of the speakers ran over time, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

I think I will be getting the blacksmiths together for a meeting so I can present the information I have and just generally explain what the place is like, what to expect in relation to the stand etc.

I do feel a little guilty for taking the entire day off, however I think it was a good use of my time and I can always make up the time over the next week.

As for today...I am in bed. I think I may have picked up a cold from London so have spent the entire weekend in bed and right now it hurts to move and swallow...However, I am not giving up on the day!!! After I finish blogging, I think I may try and go into college or a least do some sketchbook work and try to get a final design!!

I will leave you with some photographs from London,

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Restful Days...

Sometimes you just need a rest day, and I can think of no better way of relaxing than spending the last day of the working week restoring a violin! Here's a few pictures of the violin as I started to take it apart. As you can see it is quite scratched, so what I'm planning to do is take it right back to the natural wood finish and use a mat laquer to protect it when I'm finished. I may even take one of the side sections out completely (because there's a bit of damage on one side) and put in a pickup then replace the wooden section with an etched brass or copper plate on a hinge so I can have the pickup running off a 9v battery :D
That's for later though. Right now I'm concentrating on getting the varnish off and smoothing out any bumps and scrapes.

I found this violin by a chance enquiry at the local music store where I buy new strings and generally just hang out when I have nothing better to do (not that I've had much free time lately with the dissertation looming...).
I got it free because it had been sitting in the back storage space for so long and isn't anything 'special'. In my eyes, it is very special because it's what inspired my third year work!!

It has been sitting in a corner in my room for too long and last Friday I decided it was time to have a day to myself working on something which isn't all about the final grade. This job lets me think about my work; why I do what I do, why I work to music and why I'm here!!!
I got in for about 9am and the workshop was so quiet, I found myself spending a good four hours sanding away thinking about what I'm going to make for my final project. There's something wonderful in a realatively simple, repetative task which lets your mind wonder and I ended up having a few break-throughs for my next design.

I haven't finished the violin yet, but it's a work in progress and I'm spending the time and effort in making it as good as can be because it's an object that represents the heart of my work and I guess my life as well. After all everything I've ever done has revolved around music in some way and it's about time I start paying attention to all aspects of my creativity lest I forget what I am all about!

The next time you feel drained and can't think straight, have a day to yourself. Do something that makes you happy and nine times out of ten you'll feel better and probably have a break-through whether it's to do with your personal life or your work!
That's all for now,

P.S. It's day four of learning the flute, and I've just about learned how to play all of the notes on two octaves. Though I'm going to admit that sometimes I accidentally shift to the lower octave...I need a bit more practice, but hopefully soon I'll be learning some tunes!!!