Rusty skull and bee

An impromptu photoshoot to show some rust treatment experiments with an iron-and-resin version of my mask sculpture, complete with an unexpected model.

Festive printable penguin for colouring

Happy Xmas, gentlepeeps, and I wish you all a fantastic new year! In lieu of a card, here’s a pdf of a festive penguin to print and colour in, if such things float your personal boat. I had so much fun inking it. Any request for other colour-able beasties for me to draw?

Inked penguin

Festive (Sc)Owl

In case there are any more Humbugs out there, here’s a high-resolution scan of my festive ScOwl picture (based on a burrowing owl) which you may print out for festooning places with humbuggery as the season demands.

(If clicking the image just takes you to the overlay you can ‘view full size’, or try opening the link in a new tab)

Jewellery for sale in the Bealach Gallery

Exciting news, a selection of my jewellery will be for sale in the Bealach Café and Gallery up in the Scottish Highlands! Check out their facebook page too – it’s a beautiful place, and I hear very good things about the scones! I covet so many of the gorgeous paintings on the walls, and I hope the locals and passing traffic like my jewellery as much as the setting.

Pierced sterling silver brooches and pendants with hammered textures.

Waxes and casting and metals, oh my!

More work in the new medium – wax carvings to be cast in metal, and some from my first batch, which I’d already received back from the casters. The dragon will turn into a belt buckle, the smaller version of the wave ring will be cast in sterling silver, and the little bird will be, I think, a little bronze statuette. There will also be copper ginko leaf buttons, barnacle and wave buttons, and a driftwood and barnacle ring. Phew!

Lighting watercolours for photograpy

It’s always great borrowing someone else’s fancy kit; a friend was visiting with some £160 LED light boxes so I thought I’d have a go with using this technique for capturing watercolours or other drawings done on textured paper – something that I’ve struggled with in the past, especially when trying to create icons for websites. I was absolutely delighted with the results, now I just need to find some more reasonably-priced lights that will achieve the same results.

BBC Props – Flower of Life

A recent short-notice commission from BBC R&D Production labs – props for a sci-fi short, intended to showcase new technology. The props are a set of broken McGuffins, a light-up palm reading device and a mysterious button, themed around a ‘tree of life’ and ‘flower of life’ design. I haven’t seen the film yet, but they were pretty excited – the writer wanted to take the McGuffins home!

Credits Sequence – Message from Mumbai

For this year’s film challenge, our entry depicts the last contact between two sisters, about to be separated for 30 years as a rogue exoplanet diverts one’s home planet’s orbital trajectory.  Say that five times fast.

In a film challenge, I usually have 20 seconds to cram the credits into, tacked on the end of our 3-5 minute film.  With actors, a team of about 10 and lots people to thank, it’s tricky to fit everything in and make it readable.  I had to drop dramatic impact and the loneliness of space for a dense but elegant arrangement, but I’m pretty pleased with the result. If I’d had more time, I would animate the planets along their orbital paths, and give each ‘page’ solo time on screen, as well as using a better blur which moves across the screen, rather than streaming everything upwards.

Film challenge – Message from Mumbai

Tortoisebutler’s entry into this year’s Sci-Fi London 48 hour film-making challenge.

The given mandatory criteria:
Title – Message from Mumbai
Prop – A handful of ball bearings is passed from one character’s hand to another
Line of dialogue – “These things come full circle. Why do you think it’s called a revolution?”

We shot up in Manchester this year, camping out on an empty floor of a converted cotton mill – oodles of space, not much in the way of power sockets or chairs, but it was a fantastic weekend and great to work with the team again.

The film stepped away from our usual time travel and action staples, working instead with a single location, a ‘talking heads’ focus, and working to build a world and a mood. I’m too close to it to assess it clearly, but although watching it felt slow and un-dramatic, I think that the feelings of love, loss and hope we were looking for came across, without resorting to manufactured conflict or blame. The actresses did a beautiful job of conveying brittle, forced cheerfulness over a crushing inevitability.

I helped out on the writing for the first time, including creating more ‘Science Bits’ at the start to help it make sense, although it was too late to tweak the rest to match, alas… I learned a lot, and it’s conquered a lot of my long-seated ‘I can’t come up with stories’ blind spot.  The experience also made me more aware of how much a story turns into a graphic novel in my head, so next time I’d like to add storyboards, if I can!

I also aided Ms Costume and did the credits sequence, which I love so much I’m going to do a separate post on them.

Oh, and one of our actresses turned out to be an operatically trained singer, so I wrote some lyrics to match our composer’s original score (in about two minutes flat). Alas we only had time to record three lines (hold on ’till the credits to hear it!) but there’s talk of turning it into a proper song!

One day, one day…

PS. Hammocks are absolutely fantastic, I’m absolutely taking one next time!