Driftwood Duck

Walking along a beach together, my Grandma handed me a scrap of driftwood she’d picked up. She loves ducks, so I slipped it in my pocket, and carved it a sleek little head to match.

Brollies and vikings and dragons, Oh My…

I’ve fallen in with a bad crowd – light entertainers! I’m helping out a little with props for their party in the woods at the weekend, with a viking theme!

I’ve aided with some figureheads for ‘viking longtents’, will be cranking out some banners later, and have been working today on a dragon costume. My housemates were chucking out some old skate helmets, so I’ve taken the hard foam core, added some umbrella-ribs and wire, stuck it all together with gallons of hot glue, then bridged the frame panels of craft foam to flesh it out. I added on a lightweight plastic tablecloth for the body, and I’ve just papier mâché’d over it, using a mixture of water, pva and acrylic paints to add a bit of a tint. I can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s dry!

The notion is to fix a powerful torch under the lower jaw, then chase people around the woods – if you’re illuminated, you’re scorched out of the game! I might have to counterweight the back of the helm to keep it stable, but for now, enjoy some dragon building pics :D

Physical jewellery showcase development

A very exciting opportunity has come up (to be discussed if and when confirmed!) but this is just a quick post to share the work I’m doing today on developing a physical showcase for my jewellery. The idea is to create a self-contained desktop display environment that I can use to showcase examples of my jewellery work – earrings, necklaces, pendants, brooches, bracelets, cufflinks and so on.

Due to my recent acquisition of a fabulously gigantic cardboard box from a friend’s recent extravagant TV purchase, I plan to use cardboard as the construction material, and brown paper as the design/background theme. I’ll see how it comes together. For now, here’s the necklace display I’m working on today. I’m structurally very happy with it, although the carpet core tube will need to be covered in brown paper to hide the yucky glue marks.

Copper Etch film – a beautiful process

Working with members of the great Tortoise Butler (Alia Sheikh and Andy Vine), I was filmed making a sample etched copper piece, and the whole thing set to a lovely piece of music by Roger Paul Mason.

As always, I’m stunned by their arcane mastery over lens, lighting, camera and editing, and this time was proud to add my own touch in the text and credits.

If you can watch HD and full screen – it’s worth it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired! I use the technique (along with a little sterling silver magic) to create some of the jewellery in my Etsy shop.

Time tracking tool

I prefer to theorise with at least a little data, so here’s a tool I’ve created to track my time and work out how to add structure to my work-from-home life.

In contrast to some of those around me (*cough*coffeeaddicts*cough*) I’m a ‘morning’ person, in that if left to my own devices and with enough sleep, I will go PING! approximately 9 hours after I go to bed, with a desire to do ALL THE THINGS. However my days then vary between getting derailed by breaks, getting so into something I forget to stop and burn out, or grinding along indefinitely, never hitting ‘flow’, but never truly relaxing either.

I’ve also noticed that some tasks are harder than others at different times of day – I’m great at assembly first thing, but struggle to plan or perform language tasks. I can write fairly well during the day, but planning’s best done last thing.

I’d like to work out when to schedule tasks, breaks, exercise, food, recreation and so on, to get the most out of myself, outside an externally imposed 9-5 and the rhythms of an office. When you work from home it makes sense to go to the shops when they’re quiet, or do the washing while the machine’s free, but that can throw everything else off if you don’t compensate.

Inspired by this post on Productive Flourishing about heat-mapping your day, I decided to eschew vague anecdata and collect some actual information. Am I useful or useless, do I need fuel or to relax, will I get derailed for the day or is it OK to mix it up with chores?

The guy who devised the circular heatmap has lots to say about defining what qualifies as a ‘productive’ state, which I found a bit confusing, so I’m not sure how I’ll define what I’m tracking, but I hope to figure it out as I go along. I might include additional info such as drawing stars to mark good ideas appearing, for example.

I was also inspired by the mood tracker provided by medhelp.org to create an extra track where things such as mood, tummyaches or other anything else could be recorded.

I love the idea of a circular map, so I think I’m more likely to use it than a histogram or other format, but I didn’t want to waste a whole sheet of paper for each day as laid out in the original pdf (it felt a bit like something from primary school!) so I’ve combined my design with a cute little booklet-making technique my friend shared the other day.

The result is a nifty little booklet which lets you note the day in the centre of the circle, record two streams of informtion around the 24 hour clock face, and keep a key on the front cover to help interpret your records. One you’ve got enough information, you can use the space on the back page to create a generalised picture of the way your state fluctuates, to use when planning out your day. That’s the plan, anyway!

Without further ado, download this:
Heatmapping your day, A4 pdf booklet

To make this:

Adding a staple in the middle of the central pages will help it hold together nicely.

Happy mapping!

Flashback – really old carvings

These go way back! Last year(s) of high school and first year(s) of undergraduate…

The interlocking apples were a terrible double pun for a teacher who liked macs, the polar bear for one nicknamed ‘bear’. The woman and moon was one of my first sketches noodling with wood – I still haven’t done much in the way of figurative sculpture, except some small partial nudes in soapstone I hope to post soon.

Working on the ball in a cage precipitated the first conversation I had with the guys who became my best friends throughout my undergraduate :) Yes, the ball is free to move inside the cage. It’s actually carved from part of the main stem of a very old virginia creeper, which has a brilliant yellow colour when freshly cut.

The triple hearts were made using the same method as my double hearts, then by splitting one of the hearts in two with a saw!

Flashback – Wordy lamp

My Mum and I love words – especially unusual or odd-sounding ones. She’s made me a lovely framed list of words which hangs in my workshop, and I made her a bookmark, and this very silly lampshade.

As a bonus, here’s a rather long list of pleasing words:

damnit
pomegranate
greenery
streamer
halo
even
boundary
compartment
groove
bright
vehement
wooden
sussurus
sword
echo
maelstrom
inhabit
incredible
unreal
bright
impulsive
postulate
incarnate
roses
anew
smooth
foreshadow
pangolin
turquoise
splinter
teak
whim
raindrop
crust
fire
squeak
bloom
between
refract
transition
detach
unusual
turgid
claw
oscillate
scandal
wear
verbatim
meander
petticoats
study
drawn
abode
delerium
cord
liquid
bone
float
anomaly
invisible
air
shell
pistol
tumble
whirl
create
teacup
broccoli
unfurl
evening
contain
crow
villany
wet
alive
dare
tendency
flock
transparent
vivid
mellifluous
paradise
tear
hoard
bells
lupine
nest
sea
shadow
smile
unknown
dark
envelope
intense
cessation
wobble
hijack
miniscus
wide
exist
shallow
graphic
absent
verdant
myth
feathers
covet
butterfly
hourglass
nefarious
itinerant
constraint
geoid
enemy
laugh
orchid
sharp
sinuous
serpent
spread
pod
trepidation
song
chasm
apparent
retrieve
drag
leaves
hang
silence
inconstant
rattle
octagon
pleiades
suspension
mango
blade
frequent
care
interior
glide
trill
vanity
everything
irrevocable
flow
incarcerate
miniscule
scent
bliss
reflection
abraid
consume
sphere
swell
fictitious
abate
inferno
wings
device
consume
orbital
declivity
hut
frog
wrapped
spider
panic
return
veneer
motives
tug
motion
copper
palm
polish
object
night
comfy
understand
push
weathered
nebulous
november
skin
contrast
yield
rust
stimulate
owl
spiral
unimportant
taste
distinct
binding
rooftops
twerp
wild
lump
submerged
firmament
another
inconstant
lap
sinew
shift
breath
pirate
silk
billow
cup
deny
comb
ice
grass
ablate
distribute
retrospect
stick
knock
writhe
nemesis
tactile
lured
countenance
underneath
planetesimal
symphony
portent
broken
shine
ravenous
flames
divide
hint
seagull
crouch
despair
footprints
splat
omen
concussion
incandescent
wayward
surge
emanate
tune
abstraction
heart
yowl
curl
coincidence
brooding
luminous
entropy
witch
promulgate
defiance
loose
elusive
smite
nestle
roots
acute
become
sensation
pyre
discrepancy
bite
defunct
shift
sand
planet
undertow
pride
boundless
erode
run
lush
glimmer
hasty
overwhelm
celestial
sigh
resonate
awake
opposite
madness
cheshire
skyline
leather
stroll
satisfy
purr
intwined
warm
glue
delight
yip
transmit
stream
swoop
propagate
likewise
found
elsewhere
spare
canoodle
omnivore
theme
high
delve
hipparcos
intangible
sap
bottom
aimless
induce
warped
direction
capture
photograph
tapir
exquisite
window
offbeat
corruption
snail
dreams
tastebud
fundamental
vial
startle
picnic
simulate
transmit
rot
braid
parachute
permission
illicit
layer
rain
swirl
quintessence
lightning
try
cerebral
legendary
tinker
gamble
oort
confinement
biscuit
brush
gleam
default
minotaur
stray
continue
grin
spice
green
illusion
overgrown
over
ache
thin
current
scruff
diffuse
steep
crazy
eddy
autumn
trumpet
toast
incinerate
ignite
vast
free
coruscate
heel
treasure
bicarbonate
walls
fingertip
crush
melt
dynamism
medusa
coloured
minature
fixed
vision
radiate
chisel
devour
opposite
static
saturated
designs
crunch
taint
spy
elaborate
joke
fallible
gorgon
gently
moon
quartet
matter
extravagant
glasses
murder
potential
blepharospasm
ancient
burn
horizon
pocket
glitter
gosling
blueshift
relentless
restless
resist
cogniscenti
bind
rime
ripple
bely
grind
alarm
undone
rotten
distinctive
oblate
cosmic
midge
hydra
winsome
machinations
concrete
concept
abandon
devious
sink
pandemonium
wash
tension
glow
jewelled
preposterous
edge
etna
glow
verdigris
inverse
sense
ideal
multiple
find
dance
hide
regret
insidious
neutral
ingest
fluff
escape
inspire
listen
raven