Happy Christmas


Christmas festivities began properly today, Richard and I sat down for a mid-afternoon glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, the decorations are up and now there’s just feasting and frolicking for the next few days. I am also hoping to work my way through an ever-growing stack of books about wonder, light, the universe and other related subjects. A perfect way to spend the festive season.

Fairground

I am currently teaching a motion graphic design course to the 2D animation students at the University of Hertfordshire. They have been given a brief to create a 1 minute documentary film which uses motion graphics as it’s main means of communication. I have decided to follow along and make my own short film. I shot my footage a couple of weeks ago in the Hoddesdon High Street when the fair was in town. It was a beautiful evening and the fairground lights looked exquisite against the darkening sky. The final film will incorporate text, moving graphics and rhythmic visual sequences.

Arduino

I have made a discovery this week. It wont be a discovery for many people but that’s what Arduino feels like to me. In fact, my friend and PhD supervisor Alison Gazzard told me about it. Open source electronics for developers, artists and anyone else interesting in making interactive objects and installations. My mind is enthusiastically running away with many ideas for projects which could be developed using this system. It could work very nicely for my projects Two Places I Call Home and A Collected History of Light for example. There are discussions afoot about the creation of an Arduino club in which Alison, myself and digital artist David Tree gather together to create interactive machines for art’s sake. I am rather looking forward to it.

A Good Craft Day

There is nothing like the focus and hard work of a good craft day to improve one’s outlook during a damp grey October week. Friday upholstery class is good for the soul, the ladies (and two men) make very good company and an excellent cup of tea. After two years, a broken shoulder and many many hours, my chair is almost ready for it’s finishing layer. I have placed an order for a beautiful tweed fabric from the Isle of Bute and next week my chair will begin it’s final transformation. I feel proud of my work and excited by my progress.

Ahh the joys of traditional skills…

A Room of One’s Own

I have just spent the most lovely day in my garden studio. It’s grey and dreary outside but the little pipsqueak stove has valiantly kept the chill at bay. It has been my first day of dedicated PhD research. The starting point for my work is the experience of wonder as a point of intersection between art, science and consciousness and today I’ve been meandering through and mapping some of the possibilities. It is getting very large, very quickly but I am enjoying the sense of expansion it brings.

Thanks to my friend Catherine for this post’s title, stolen from her comment on my previous post about my studio.

9 Things That Happened Last Month

1. Visited the Leonardo da Vinci Anatomist Exhibition at the Queens Gallery, London.

2. Submitted a PhD Research proposal and have been invited to interview.

3. Vividly imagined Birnam Wood advancing during an outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

4. Leant against the stones on Solstice morning at Stonehenge.

5. Drank the first cup of tea from the tiny wood stove in my garden studio.

6. Made 11 bottles of elderflower cordial.

7. Saw my friend Yaron’s company Circa perform in Norwich Cathedral at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

8. Bought two boulders for the garden.

9. Sent the first blog post from my now networked studio.

 

School Trip

Last week I attended the FMX Animation and Effects Festival in Stuttgart Germany. I had a surprisingly exciting and inspiring week in the very good company of Matt and Sol from Rewind FX and 30 University of Hertfordshire Digital Animation students. Despite a 14 hour overnight coach ride, which included late night tours of a number of surreal Luxembourg truck stops, the trip was great, there was sunshine, temperatures of 32 degrees, discussions about immersive cinema, screenings of Hollywood blockbusters, late night dancing, cocktails and beer, demonstrations of new technologies, experimental transmedia art by Max Hattler and the crazy adventurers from Movie Sandbox and great conversations about creative process. I came home feeling suitably re-charged. Very pleasing.

I Like My Dentist….

A building and a crane, London afternoon
A trip into central London this morning for the last appointment of a long series of appointments dedicated to installing a new dental implant in my head. I know its not normal and probably not right but I have grown to like my dentist. He does lovely work, he plays great tunes for me from his ipod and apologises sincerely when he sticks the needle in. It would certainly be going to far to to say I’ll miss him but I couldn’t have hoped for a nicer fellow or a better outcome.

Whilst in London I also took photos, enjoyed treats from my favourite bakery, indulged in some delightful chocolate and purchased shitake mushrooms and kelp which are now brewing into a hearty stock for a noodle and vegetable soup. A welcome series of distractions from the ever-present mountain of assessment awaiting completion….back to it now….

Observing Ships and Tractors

The Observer's Book of Ships
Last Saturday saw me meandering through a field in rural Hertfordshire on a family outing to a vintage tractor fair. Despite some misgivings I have to admit I found myself enjoying the event, reminiscing about riding on old tractors around my cousins’ Australian dairy farm in the 1970’s, enjoying the familiar and comforting smell of old car interiors and browsing the bric-a-brac stalls for potential treasures. And then to my great excitement, I came across The Observer’s Book of Ships. What a delightful volume, filled with a bounty of facts and all the information and diagrams any ship observer could require. Further research has shown that this is just one of many Observer’s Books about all number of subjects; Pond Life, Ferns and Cricket to name a few…..