Please share the message that homophobia is bad.
Please take part in my survey about your understanding of ageing to help me create my next artwork. You’re anonymous comments may even feature in it!
Basically, anyone, old or young and wherever in the world you are, can take part. Only three questions and you can take as little or as much time as you wish to complete it.
To keep up to date with the project visit www.kjgcop.wordpress.com
Please re-blog and encourage others to participate too.
Thank you from me and my degree marks. xo
For all the artists out there. xoxo
Art … should be something that liberates the soul, provokes the imagination, and encourages people to go further.
This weekend I had a lovely meeting with Pippa from All Hallows church in Hyde Park. We will be working together for the next year or so creating a new identity for the church to further embed it in the local community as well as the communities it serves, and to raise their profile when applying for funding and fundraising for much needed repairs and building alterations.
Along with the visual identity I’ll be working on its application across a wide range of on- and offline platforms. I’ll be flexing my graphic design muscles as well as pulling out my old faithful marketing and communications skills to help them understand their audiences further and develop services inline with their needs.
All Hallows is pretty cool place. It is an inclusive Christain church with a strong political, social, and environmental conscious. It warmly welcomes members of the LGBT community and actively engages with refugees as well as those that feel damaged or marginalised. It is a church that challenges Anglican doctrines and the traditional roles of the church. It also supports the arts and has worked on a number of local projects.
One of the main challenges from this project is creating work that requires a minimum budget, is sustainable (ie they can understand and apply the brand independently), and is accepted by the small close-knit congregation.
The first round of my ideas and design thoughts will be submitted at the beginning of July.
Lily Cole talks to leading artists including Christo, Antony Gormley, Tacita Dean, Gabriel Orozco, Marc Quinn and Fiona Banner in Lily Cole’s Art Matters
I really enjoyed this series on SKY Arts. It gave an intimate look into the workings and studios of a handful of world class artists. From it I learnt about the different artists, but I also learnt the importance of being able to articulate your thoughts and process. What came across too was that people can spend their whole lives exploring a particular concern and the further they go the deeper the subject becomes. Their work continues to grow and develop, branching off into new directions throughout their career as they continue their personal and professional practice.
Another key theme for me was that each artist had a dedicated work space and they work their regularly. This echoed many of the things the second years were talking about at our Tea & Talk about working somewhere where you are productive, not staying at home all the time where you can get distracted, and organising a workspace that is clear and usuable.
I also noted Fiona Banner’s comments about her time at art school. She didn’t know what she wanted to do and had a hard time producing work that meant much to her or others during that time. It wasn’t until after she graduated and had practiced her craft and developed her thinking did her work begin to resonate with her and others. Three years really is a short time to figure things out and many of the artists featured in the have be practicing for over twenty years.
Not the finest photos but I feel good about them as its the first informal photo walk I’ve been out on since moving back to Leeds eight months ago. I didn’t realise how little I take photos anymore until I was entering the Grassington Festival photo competition and comparing that body of work to my more recent [lack of] work. I’m just not that inspired by the city so I figured I needed to get inspired or get out of the city. A shortage of time and money I figured I’d give the first option a go!
All photo taken on an i-phone 4.
To help us viscom first years prepare for second year an afternoon tea party with or older and wiser peers - the second years - was organized.
It was great idea as we got to talk to some familiar and not so familiar faces and find out more about their practice. We also got to ask question about what lay ahead for us and compare notes on our first year experiences.
Here are the pearls of wisdom shared at the event:
- Not everyone likes the same modules, just hang in there and things will either become clear or the module will come to an end.
- Have faith in yourself. If you think you can do it then put every effort into doing it and don’t let yourself be persuaded otherwise.
- Do not feel pressure to specialize. It’s OK to like lots of things or not be sure. Take your time and keep trying new stuff.
- Stop trying to change the world. It’s impossible! But you can take small steps towards it and make work with a social conscious.
- Second year is about experimenting. Just go with it and don’t try to force ideas or finished products. Have fun, try lots, and learn lots.
- Take advice but make up your own mind about its application. People will always have opinions but its your work so do what you feel is right.
- Only do projects you are interested in. If you follow someone else’s ideas or concepts you’ll get bored, lose momentum, and create inferior work. You’ll not be happy throughout the whole process or with the outcome and it will be reflected in your marks and art.
- Keep your idea of what communication is fresh and consider the whole of the creative industries. Don’t just produce printed or drawn items, try writing poetry or scripts, create a sculpture, do a performance, manage a website, run a class…think of communication in the widest possible sense.
- Work hard at working hard: turn up to class; get yourself a routine; avoid places where you avoid work; make use of the workshops and resources; make your schedule work for you like working in the evening if you’re a night owl. You need to be disciplined and put in the hours to get the rewards.
Overall second year seems just as hard as first year and will take up just as much time, although less class time. The modules sound really interesting and even CoP gets a practical makeover. I didn’t realize that we would be undertaking a creative voluntary placement and working in the community. I’ve put my thinking cap on about what I’d like to do as lots of students seemed to have gone into schools and I don’t want to do that. I also didn’t realize that we’ll be tasked with developing a skill and getting really good at it. That sounds fun but how do you choose: another one to think carefully about over the summer.
Just another four weeks to go and I’ll guess I’ll be a second year. Eek!
Northern Art Prize
Leeds Art Gallery
28 March to 16 June 2013
The Northern Art Prize celebrates contemporary visual artists based in the North of England. Now in its sixth year is raises the profile of contemporary art and artists working in the North East, North West and Yorkshire regions.
Twelve professionals working within the arts sector are asked to nominate two artists for the prize’s longlist. From this four are selected for the shortlilst and their work exhibited at Leeds Art Gallery. The selection panel return to select the winner who is receives £16,500 (and the kudos) with the other shortlisted artists receiving £1,500.
If I were on that selection panel I would be arguing for Margaret Harrison. Her quietly haunting work really moved me. It was multi-layered with an immediate connection as well as deeper meanings that revealed themselves on further exploration and thought.
She created new works for the exhibition. Collectively known as ‘Reflections’ the installation brings together sculpture, painting and drawings. Bring together lots of different mediums something I enjoy in my work, and I think I’m leaning more towards and installation that requires some audience participation, as Harrison’s does with the reflection.
‘Common Reflections’ is a reconstruction and reinterpretation of a perimeter fence from RAF Greenham Common. The installation presents the occupation of a site adjacent to the base where, in 1981, women set up a legendary peace camp to protest against the nuclear weapons located there. I felt that Harrison presented ghosts of the occupation and the quiet of the gallery and your own reflection raised questions about what you would do for something you believed in – for your family? There was also an element of storytelling with the information about protest hung in the gallery and remnants of the women’s lives hung from the fence. The absence of figures (expect the reflects of visitor) gave space to imagine the women and their strength of feeling. I wondered what happened to them and how they were treated by the MOD, the high fence and separate from self with the mirror behind the wire added this and the feeling of loosing yourself and not being able to reach your goal.
The work is described by the gallery/artists as such: “The work comprises two opposing constructions of concrete posts, wire, mirrors and corrugated zinc sheeting and is strewn with personal items – children’s clothing, toys, photographs and kitchen ephemera. This work excavates many of the themes about women and their position in society that Harrison has explored since her first solo show in 1971. The mirrors echo the ways protesting women held up mirrors to reflect back the base and those guarding (as if to hold them to account). Here they also serve to disorient the gallery viewer with a disconcerting sense of both viewing and being viewed.”
‘The Last Gaze’ is a new painting based upon ‘The Lady of Shalott,’ a painting by John William Waterhouse (1894), from the Leeds collection, that interprets the poem by Alfred Lord Tennison that tells of a cursed woman who can only view the world via mirrored images. This was not something I was aware of in the gallery as it was stated on the large gallery sign opposite the gallery entrance and not on the work information next to it. In terms of curating this work it would have been nice to be able to read the poem and see the original work, as well as have a description closer to it. I would have gotten more from it at the time.
In saying that I really enjoyed exploring the painting and then exploring framed sections through the reflection of the rear-view mirrors. The mirrors themselves made a beautiful installation and showed the beauty and variety in the everyday. It was weird looking at a classical style picture in the contemporary objects and your attention being drawn to the adaptions of pieces of Americano. I found these eerie, with a screaming Marilyn Monroe forcing her way to the surface, Wonder Woman poised on her groin, ready to fight, while other hero-like figures flutter around her like fairies. An eye looks out from the top of her arm, looking for a reflection. Overall I found the ‘Lady’ a very sad figure and felt very voyeuristic staring at her whilst she was dealing with her demons.
The official description of the work is that it “repeats the motif of reflection, pairing the image in both color and black and white. On the adjacent wall rear-view car mirrors reflect Harrison’s painting, and offer a contemporary restaging of this idea of viewing the world only through conflicting or confusing perceptions.”
Rosalind Nashashibi’s work I did not like. The film of people from the streets of Glasgow entering Scottish Ballet’s studios during rehearsal was initially of interest to me as I enjoy watching dance and like the commentary of the recorded whispers of the impromptu audience. However, as the film went on I found it increasingly condescending, as if Nashashibi was giving them a rare opportunity to become cultured, to see something outside of their station in life. By recording it she made them zoo animals.
The film is called ‘Lovely Young People (Beautiful Supple Bodies)’ and described as “the compelling film projection features dancers, engrossed in private rehearsal when members of the local public walk in and stand awkwardly around them. The experience is mesmeric for both dancers and intruders, twinned together in an energetic performance.”
I did not have described any part of if as ‘awkward’ at all and the dancers, who after all are professionals used to an audience in both the studio and the theatre, didn’t blink an eye. This was the first instance where the premise collapsed. The second was the notion that the studio visitors were the uncultured street masses that happened upon a new experience (I felt that this was implied, not directly stated). To have been persuaded to enter a building, go up stairs and into a studio - dragged away from their day in town, lunch break, or job - the individuals are already interested in ballet, cultural happenings, or new experiences. These people are hardly new audiences or the hard to reach. These are no rural Chinese children seeing red hair for the first time, nor are it an internet meme! The third is that these are not ‘young people’ we are talking about so I really don’t get the title. From the two principal dancers that I researched, both were in their later thirties, and from the film most of the people visiting the studio were that age and a lot older.
I don’t feel that my reaction to this piece is based on the intended message. Having read Rachel K Gillies review of the piece I would like to watch it again and challenge my initial thoughts. This is the difficulty with creating film as art – you often have the briefest time to get the message across and the viewer doesn’t have an opportunity to pause, review or buy a postcard to reflect on later.
She had two other works on display in the gallery. “‘A New Youth’, created for the Northern Art Prize, includes a tree displaying a photograph of a denim-clad crotch of indefinite sex, and a large cartoon illustration of Mickey Mouse’s hands in a familiar Buddha gesture. With one hand pointing up and the other down, Buddha/Mickey’s gesture seems to accept more than one path, or in fact more than two, as the reduction of the human condition to simple dichotomies is in question when the tree itself seems to be wearing its ambiguous sex in mid-metamorphosis. This work echoes an earlier installation made by Nashashibi during the revolutionary uprising in Cairo reflecting on the role of male youth in a post ‘Arab Spring’ world.
“Nashashibi’s new print work locates masculinity in a particularly literal place. ‘Monster Walk’ comprises nine unique prints on paper, made by putting men’s jeans and underwear through a printing press, leaving the paper inked and in places worn through with the stamp of every stitch and crease of the fabric. Often the jeans rise up from the ankles as far as the thighs and then stop, to reveal a white expanse at the top of the leg, and the underwear is exposed. These halved figures invoke the crude and absurd nature of bodies and things, through their exaggerated crotches, their intimacy with the body and their trace of the real object; and in this last aspect they bear a resemblance to film and photographic processes.”
I didn’t get very much from either of them and found it hard to identify with the intended purpose. ‘Monster Walk’ look like a x-ray of nine men with their jeans hung low – choose a high street, classroom, or public space and I’ll show you another nine plus men wearing that style. The exposure of underwear is not that interesting.
The Disneyfication of religion is interesting, but the Mickey Mouse hands in a Buddha gesture, next to a tree with a male crotch on it…I had difficulty understanding. I like the idea of a tree in a gallery and the shadow produced. This tree was a small sad dead tree and as such didn’t work as a challenge to the space.
Also on display are works by Emily Speed and Joanne Tatham & Tom O’Sullivan.
The 2013 selectors are James Lingwood (Co-Director, Artangel), Jennifer Higgie, (Co-Editor, Frieze), Margot Heller,Director (South London Gallery), Tomma Abts (Artist), and Sarah Brown (Curator of Exhibitions, Leeds Art Gallery). There is no indication of when a decision will be made, but I presume it will be at some point before the exhibition closes on the 16 June. My fingers are firmly crossed for Harrison.
Artist’s Open Studios
Unity Business Centre, Leeds
The Unity Business Centre is an building just east of Leeds city centre, near Harehills, that offers workspace to a wide range of people and businesses. Three makers have units there and they grouped together to host an open studio event.
It was a really sweet event with the makers laying on a spread of homemade sweets and savouries and beautifully displaying their work and their studio spaces.
Nadeen Strachan, a clothing designer, had some beautiful Dutch wax prints dresses with a very contemporary boob-tube and puff-ball skirt style. I really liked the traditional material being updated for a younger generation. The bright colours and style also attracted my attention.
Stained glass artist, Jo-ann Eisenberg, also had her doors wide open. She takes her smaller pieces to farmer markets and craft events to sell, as well as welcoming commissions for larger windows. She had lots of photos in a portfolio to show potential clients.
The final studio was ceramics by Sandra Whyles. I really liked her colour palette and the design features on her very beautiful AND usable household items. I talked to Sandra about how she figured out that she liked ceramics and wanted to specialize in it. She said that it was difficult but it just isn’t possible to focus on all your interests. In saying that she said she just loves making and although she is focused she doesn’t ignore her other interests – textiles, book making, knitting – and finds them a welcome distraction from her day-to-day craft. She has also found ways to combine all the interests and is making ceramic boxes for books and found items for an upcoming exhibition. I also saw some vases in her display case that were wrapped in Dutch wax prints, again showing how she manages to combine her interests. The ceramics were laid out in a way that showed development and it illustrated to me that even professionals have growth in their work.
The event was a great idea for bringing the public into the centre and raising awareness of the artists work and services. It also brought the artists together and Sandra told me about how it helped them even discover makers on different floors that they weren’t aware of.
From the event I got a little bit of an insight into the ways makers need to promote themselves and what some studio spaces are like. Sandra said that she was now in her third studio space and because demand for her work grew, and the equipment she used increased, the move was necessary. I had never really thought about size of space, moving, and getting equipment before. I also now appreciate the value of working together and supporting other makers because if each of those at Unity did not network within the maker and studio community the event would not have been possible, and they would not get the peer support that would otherwise be missing by being self-employed.
Seven Arts, Leeds
Thursday 11 April 2013
I was intrigued by this performance Transportation Transformation as it was created in collaboration with a wide variety of artists as well as scientists and seemed to pull together very disparate subjects.
Just fresh from development the work was forgivably rough around the edges but nevertheless opened the windows onto the memories of immigrates to Leeds, namely those part of the Afro-Caribbean communities of Chapeltown. Theming the performance around train travel allowed for a strong and connected narrative, and made it easier to have a relatable conversation about astrophysics and teleportation.
I enjoyed the combination of dance, music, acting, video and visual arts (stage design). It kept the piece very engaging and reinforced the story. Physically and orally explaining experiences and physics broken complex social and scientific ideas down into digestible pieces. Sound bites recorded from actual research conversations included in the script were amongst my favourite bits of the show. My favourite choreographer, Lloyd Newson, uses intensely researched interviews as part of his work too. I’m also really interested in oral history and storytelling, I’m not sure why, I just enjoy it!
I stayed in the theatre for the post-performance talk and got a wonderful insight into collaboration, funding streams, and project development. Finding common ground and giving each other respect for different ways of processing and explaining information seemed to be key. The creators also share anecdotes about how working in collaboration with artists and scientists actually open up new ways to think and took the creative process off into unexpected areas.
The performance gave me lots of ideas about how I could explore immigration further in my work. This is a subject often on my mind at the moment as it seems to be a large part of my day to day life and something I blogged about previously.
Slow Art Day
Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, Leeds University
Saturday 27 April 2013
My experience of viewing art started to change when I began working in a large public gallery. As part of the job you had to invigilate and engage with visitors in one of the ten gallery spaces for one hour and then another, and another until the end of your shift. Looking at the same artwork for long periods of time started to give new meaning to it and I related in different and deeper ways too.
These feelings stayed with me and are something I’m exploring further in my first creative self-directed project at university. As part of my research into how people use galleries and the seating I came across Slow Art Day.
Phil Terry started thinking about Slow Art Day in 2008. He wanted to know what would happen if museum and gallery visitors changed the way they looked at art. Instead of breezing past hundreds of artworks in the standard eight seconds, he wondered what would happen if people looked slowly at just a few. After a couple of attempts himself, the following year he informally ask some MoMA (New York) visitors to join him in looking slowly at a limited number of works. Now, in 2013, 272 venues across the world are taking part in Slow Art Day.
And one of those venues was in Leeds and I was there, enjoying art slowly. On Saturday 27 April the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery at Leeds University was fulfilling the mission of the event and helping more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art.
In the gallery we were given some tips on different ways of looking at and considering art and were sent off in groups of two or three to look at four pre-defined works and one of our own choosing for ten minutes each.
I was worried that ten minutes would be too long, but in actual fact I barely scratched the surface of each work. I looked at each from close-up and far away, considered the way it was created and the texture, the way the work was presented (framing, plinth, curatorial choices, neighbouring works), what I felt, what I saw, and what it could mean. I also considered what it communicated to me in comparison to what it was described as on the information panel.
After looking at the five pieces of art our little groups met up outside the gallery for tea and cakes and a jolly good discussion about what we had discovered. It was brilliant to talk to people about the works and compare ideas. Our thoughts sometimes contradicted and sometimes people saw hidden elements to the work that others didn’t and it completely changed the meaning. We also talked wider about cultural issues and other exhibitions and galleries we had visited.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and will try my best in the future to think about quality over quantity; choosing a couple of works to concentrate on rather than making sure I glance at everything in the entire gallery. I picked up lots of practical and realistic skills for how to look at work and a lot more confidence is talking about it and expressing my own opinions.
I would love to continue Slow Art throughout the year and think I will contact the Students’ Union at college about setting up a club (like a book club but for art). Next year I’d also like to organise my own Slow Art get-together at a gallery that I think should be participating but isn’t (you don’t need to officially organise it through the gallery).
For my thoughts about the five works that I s l o w l y looked at please see my photos (excuse the spelling).
As part of a series of tasks we were given for our PPP blogs over reading week and Easter we were told to blog about a national event or political issue.
I choose food poverty as both a national and international issue.
Jewellery Making Workshop
Metalshop, Leeds College of Art
18 April 2013
Health & Safety
- Use common sense - keep bags out of the way, do not run, look after the tools and keep out of the way
- Know what to do in an emergency. Accident: turn machine off and get first aider or phone for help. Fire: leave by fire exit and meet in car park to sign off the sign in sheet.
- Ask technician for help with machinery, don’t rely on other students knowing the correct information.
- May need an annual refresher for the metal and jewellery room.
- Use protective items – goggles, gloves, apron, ear defenders – as and when required.
- Were sensible clothes and shoes (no saddles or bare feet). Tie hair back, and remove jewellery and scarves.
- Remember hygiene and wash hands when you leave the workshop and don’t eat or drink in the room.
Using copper today as it’s a cheap material and allows you to do lots of different works on it. It has a high melting point. It is bendy, soft but resistant. It will oxidise (goes green). Lots of pressure from steel tool swill damage it.
To cut metal
Measure out the copper using the square. You can scratch it with scribe. Can also use permanent ink and later use chemicals and heat to remove it.
Wear gloves because the edges of the metal will be sharp once cut.
Options for cutting
BENCH SHEARS – line up and pull handle down, pulling to the left
TREADLE GUILLOTINE – look over the top to identify the edge of the table. Line up your cutting line with the edge of the table and the other edge to stay straight. Keep away from the edge of the metal as it may be sharp. Stand on treadle and wobble to force down, release gently. Pick up cut parts when no one else is using the machine. Cut brass, copper, and aluminmum up to 1.5mm thick. Cut steal up to 1mm thick. Some plastics can be cut, but not Perspex.
Other machinery available
METAL FOLDER - put metal in and straighten along fold line. Lift with the black handle on the edge then pull up bottom blue handle to fold upwards. Free structured bends.
ROLLER – tighten up bottom when the metal is in place. Adjust back wheel to match the size of the roll you want.
TUBE BENDER – will bend tubes. Good for furniture and sculptures.
VACUUM FORMER – best to mould around a solid 3D shape with no undercuts so it can be removed. Use wood (probably MDF) as most other perish during use or after one use. Will have a flat back which is OK for symmetrical shapes where you can join two halves together later. Use high-density polystyrene, Perspex and acrylic are too brittle, less flexible and don’t pick up the details.
DOME BLOWER – create a bubble shape using acrylic.
ETCHING TANKS - photos and images transfer to etch or eat through.
TORCHS – use for welding where two of the same materials are joined with the same material. Also use for brazing where metal is joined using a metal with a lower melting point, eg joining steel with copper.
MIG WELDER – for steel
TIG WELDER – very versatile
PLASMA CUTTER – for thick metal up to 16mm. Rough cutting method which is good for organic shapes, or you can cut around a wooden mould used as a guide. Not suitable for finer materials.
ANGLE GRINDERS – for cutting, shaping, and forming
BANDSAW – for ferrous metals like brass, copper, and aluminium. Not suitable for thin materials, can do 3/4mm straight cut. Can’t do details.
SANDERS – two metal sanders and one plastic.
LATHE – shaping materials. A large centre lathe is available as well as a hobbyist (smaller). Put work in chuck and introduce cutters to carve, shape, turn metal. Hard to use and takes a while to build skills. Good for steel, brass, aluminium, sliver, gold, most plasctics, and wood (more precision than on woodshop lathes)
MILLING MACHINE – work attached to bed and the cutter moves (opposite to lathe). Precision carving of metal, but copper is too soft. Woodshop has better equipment for plastics and wood.
CHOP SAW – cutting tubes into small sections. Much quicker than using a hacksaw and doing it by hand.
Plastic is available from the metal/jewellery workshop. There’s a wide range available, but if they’re not right you can look at the Himdley’s website and order your own, or give the technician the product code. Potentially seven to fourteen day wait.
Need to change the molecular structure of the copper to make softer and easier to work with. You do this by heating it was a blowtorch until it turns a cherry red colour, even if its just for a moment. When you work the copper it will get hard again as you put pressure on it.
Leather gloves and aprons are available if you are worried about the heat.
Get some cool tweezers (try to keep them cool by avoiding getting the flame near them). Place the metal on the heat bricks on the hearth. Set them up so there is a space for air behind, this give a more even heat distribution.
The torch has a pilot light that stays on all the time. If its not on get the technician to light it for you (never light it yourself or with a lighter). Turn the gas on turning the dial on the handle. Then slowly turn on the oxygen to get a stronger blue flame. The warmest bit is the area between the blue and the red so wave that over the metal moving away regularly to check for the colour change. When ready turn off the oxygen, then turn of the gas.
The copper has been oxidized and looks black. It now needs cooled and then placed in Safety Pickle. Like the copper down using the cool tweezers and put it in the bowl of water. They can be removed immediately after by hand.
Put on goggles and remove the lid to the Safety Pickle. Lift out the basket until it is above the liquid. Gently place the metal in the basket then slowly lower it back into the diluted acid. Leave in there for three to five minutes (if you leave in for week the surface with start to etch). Remove with the copper prongs and then rinse well with water. Once rinsed you can touch the metal and dry it with a paper towel. If you get splashed wash off with water, clothes will probably bleach.
You can use the rolling mill to emboss onto metals. Steel won’t work (will probably damage the machine), and glass and plastic will just shatter.
To emboss you need something to press into the metal, organic items work best.
Put metal into the mill and hand-tighten to fit. Roll out and place item on top of the metal. Tightened or loosen to match the item to be embossed and feed back in. If the metal curls it can be hammered flat using a hide hammer and gently knocking along the edge.
Metal can only be pushed through and embossed once. To emboss a second time would remove the first embossing. The metal may also need kneading again to soften it enough to accept the embossing.
Sawing into metal
Mark the metal with the shape. You can do this with permanent ink, making shapes with masking tap, or gluing a drawing on to the surface using pritstick.
Use a piercing/jeweller’s saw. The blade is insert by placing the saw between the work table with the handle hitting your stomach. Undo the bottom butterfly bolt and place the end of the blade into it. The teeth of the blade should point towards the handle. Put your hand on the handle and push the saw towards the bench. With the other hand insert the blade at the top and tighten the screw. The blade should ping a little when you strum it, which is important as it must be in tension.
Put your work on the peg on the workbench and put your free hand gently on the metal to guide it, but keep fingers away from the blade. Keep the metal near the back of the gap. Start sawing up and down with the saw at 90degrees to the metal. Keep the saw moving and the work moving.
The blade costs 20p each. If you snap yours put it in the yellow sharps bin by the sink – don’t leave it sitting about.
Making a ring
Try on the ring samples and get the letter from the one that fits. You are better getting a size a little bigger. Check the circumference on the sizing chart and measure out a piece of metal, rounding up the decimal point, and marking with a scribe.
Once cut file the ends to make a good flat and clean surface for soldering. Make sure you square it off by keeping the file and metal at 90degress.
Knead then pickle the copper. Make the metal into a tear drop shape with your hands then gently tap the top with the hide hammer so the two edges meet and are level together (not stepped). It doesn’t have to be ring shaped at this stage. Put it on to a heat tile for easy transportation without getting it greasy.
Get a dish and some borax. Clean the dish out and put some water in it. Place it on a bench on top of some paper towels (the dish may leak) and grind the borax in until the water turns semi-skimmed-milk white.
Get some silver solder (35p) and sand it to remove grease, avoid touching the cleaned area. Cut the strip a little long ways and then side ways to make small bits. Put them in the borax water. There are five grades of solder and each works at a different melting point. Some projects may need you to layer it up and you would stat with the ‘hard’ and work through to the ‘extra easy’, this way the original won’t melt as you work.
Using a paintbrush, brush the borax water on to the area of the ring to be soldered (if it was a good project or expensive metal you would cover all of the ring). Use the paintbrush to lift the silver from the dish and to put on to the join in the ring. Use just enough.
Move the ring on the heat tile to the hearth and heat up gently using a red/orange gas flame. The borax should turn white a bubble a little. Then turn on the oxygen and turn down the gas to make a short blue flame. Heat the whole ring in a circular motion for even heat distribution. When it turns red turn off the flame and then using tweezers put the ring in the water and then pickle it.
File off the excess solder so it is only in the gap between edges. Then put it on the mandrel and gently tap the bottom edge whilst moving the ring around. Take the ring off and put it back on the other way around and tap the bottom in the same way. If you didn’t turn it around you with end up with a ring with one side narrower than the other.
It is also possible to create a D shaped ring and to slightly increase and decrease the ring size.
The ring should then be sanded down going through the various grades and then polished for around 30 minutes.
The advice for achieving the most from an arts education hasn’t changed much. And why should it when comes from John Cage and is for students at the innovative Merce Cunningham Studios in New York.
Good advice. Very good advice.
As an aspiring music teacher and current student, this is stellar advice.