Friday, 21 December 2012

New Book, Lacewing and Trowbridge latest

Yesterday I installed Lacewing and very proudly it sits in its new wet environment.

On wednesday I took samples to Cheltenham for the Trowbridge job and all was terrific there as they loved all the samples so all systems go for the new year as the production team take over.

Now to settle back for a few days into the readiness of christmas and the ensuing madness that produces, some say the end of the world, some just say that is a euphemism for christmas!!

Heres to a brilliant 2013 and those chinks of light, maybe some sun, maybe less rain, yes to more experimentation and music, more instruments in the pipeline, hopefully more collaborations and some cracking venues.

Blimey. nearly forgot.  A new book by Kyra Cane called makings and drawing has just been published and my work is within the covers.  It is a book about how makers use drawing in their work through different media from pencil to computer to directly, it feature many different artists.  A must for all!!  Here's the link:

Friday, 7 December 2012

Trowbridge et al

The job in Trowbridge has started.  A brewery trail for a new housing estate on the site of the old Ushers bottling plant.  It might not sound much but rather wonderfully it is. The client is very forward thinking and the opportunites to create something of value here is very good, at the moment I am designing various samples for a meeting later in december and then hopefully production can begin in the new year.

The various gigs have all gone well and I am creating a new music room at home.

River's wood has been very wet and not too much activity to date.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The War Pig and the Gimlet- Eyed Mariners

The 'War Pig' has been sited on a Roman Legionaires diseased banner flying high over a raging battle ground somewhere in deepest Somerset, authentication to be sort.

The Gimlet-Eyed Mariners gig on Saturday 24th Nov  at 7.30 for 8.00 at the congregational church, Wiveliscombe, after their recent rehearsals all I can say is get along we are sounding brilliant!!!!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


A private commission
The 'Lacewing' is made from charred Douglas Fur it stands at 2 metres

The Travails of the War Pig

What a story this is, indeed the travails of the war pig should be written by someone more learned than myself:  I found this pig in the backroom of a shopping mall in Taunton, already this is wrong, this poor pig is a state of disrepair, no pride, it life story hidden amongst the detritus of the consumer society.  The War Pig's story is a sorry tale,  These pigs used by the Romans to frightened the War Elephants were coated in resin and pitch and set fire to, and then, squealing let loose to run amuck amongst the elephants, scattering the poor frightened beasts and so defeating their foes. Not many War Pigs survived, but recently on the Polden Hills, an excavation found the remains of  a 'Trojan War Pig' these are very rare and we are lucky to have this one preserved so well in the soils of west somerset.  From the shopping mall to my studio for the forensic examinations, creation of stretchers and in readiness for a tour of the county, The War Pig is ready, ready to spread the word, to tell of the futility of war, of the use of animals in the tactics of death, the corruption of generals, the War Pigs story is ready to be unleashed.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

F.T. Playing at I-Park. Whitley Arts Festival

I have finished editing Roman's film of me playing the Fibonacci Tree in I-Park and I have put it onto my vimeo site:  please go see as the instrument  sound great and Roman's footage is marvellous.
The Gig in Reading at Whitley Festival went very well, the students from Theale Green Community School did wonders in the small time we had together to rehearse and perform the piece, I would like to thank them for all their good work and good spirit throughout the project I would also like to thank Gemma their teacher and Matt the technician for all their help and to perform as well.

Thanks to Edmund Harcourt for putting the event together on a shoe string of a budget he really did amazingly well.

St Mary's itself, what a great venue.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Late Junction. St Mary's Church. Gimlet-Eyed Mariners

Late Junction playing of my I-Park piece is now October 4th.

Playing St Mary's Church Reading as part of the Whitley Festival:
miking up the church with piezo microphones, workshops with children to make the mikes and then play the church, very exciting.

Gimlet-Eyed Mariner's gig confirmed for the 24th November at the Congregational Chapel, Wiveliscombe at 7.30pm for 8.00 start.

World's Unknown gig at the Brewhouse in Taunton with Tim Hill and Richard Tomlinson on the 29th November 8.00pm start.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

I-Park Film

My I-Park time-Lapse is now on vimeo to watch link here:
It looks like this will feature on 'Late Junction' on radio 3 on thursday night, as one of my favourite programmes on the radio this is just too exciting.
Listen here first!!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Lymes Disease, Romans Film. Home

Okay, so I ended up getting Lymes Disease, I knew that headache I got on the last day of I-Park was abnormal and so it proved.  A week later and my should and back hurting I checked my back and yes a large rash was there, the classic Lymes rash, a trip to the drop in clinic and all is confirmed, now on antibiotics and all should be okay in three weeks, so lucky I caught it early enough the disease is a horrible one that one doesn't want to get.

Romans film is now on vimeo I will link it here:
it has footage of me playing the Fibonacci Tree which works well and shows the instrument in a good light, the film also captures I-Park well and feature Jee Soo as well.  It is a great film by Roman and I look forward to seeing others from him.

I had a fantastic time on Long Island with Scott and Sara, boat trips, BBQs, a trip to the Catskills, a lovely break before coming home.

Yesterday I flew home and feel good, a great nights sleep last night and now I have the St Marys Church performance in Reading to look forward to, more details to come on that, but I will be miking up the church with piezo microphones and with the help of pupils from Theale school we will play the church.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A Post Script: The Residency is Over.

What happened there?  the residency is over, people came to the Open Studio we talked and performed and by monday everyone was gone.

So what happened? The day was spent preparing for the 1.00 presentations to each other, in each others studios, a chance for us all to see what the others had been doing and a chance for Ralph to see and hear what we all had been up too.
 It was good to see and hear everyone talk about their work and their process, the highlight for me was Romans film of the park and the strange narrative that went along with it, well read by Andy,  I was pleasantly surprised by how much footage he had used of my Fibonacci Tree and it playing, thanks for that Roman.

My presentation went well and the instrument was in fine form, ringing loud acoustically and electronically, this is such a good area to develop and I have a bucket load of thoughts and ideas for other places with other instruments.

The public came and I played the FT, again it sounded very good and I let the public play and it still sounded good, the pleasure on peoples faces was a joy to see and the reaction was very good, I love the American acceptance of the creative and experimentation, there really was an enthusiasm towards the instrument and what I am doing.

Next the presentation of our work in the common room, here I showed the time-lapse and gave a little talk about the scaryness of my walk home at night on a couple of occassions, and why I had taken a dark avenue for the video.

After the presentations Jee Soo and I did a short improvisation piece in her studio, me using the instruments I had made the day before.  This went well and again I was surprised at how well received it was.  Jee Soo recorded it and I have since listened to the recording which is good.

Afterwards we all ate and had an artist toast with champagne, Chef Jacob had gotten pizzas and we had a little feast together before going over to Pond Studio for a bonfire laid by Mason.
A jolly evening around the fire as one always has and then to bed.

But here was the weirdest thing, I lay in bed and a headache of proportions I have never felt before consumed me, it really hurt, I felt the back of my neck swelling and the pain would not go away, there was no respite, I couldn't sleep I lay in bed in agony, it was too painful to even think of walking back to the house to get painkillers, there were times in the night I thought that was it my brain was swelling and I going to die!  Yes very dramatic, I know, but I have never felt a pain in the head like this before and my neck was so so tender.  I got up next morning with a little relief and walked to the house and took painkillers immediately, had something to eat and got ready to go.
At 10.30 Mason took me to New London to catch the ferry to Orient Point on Long Island, my head was feeling much better, I was just consumed with tiredness!

The ferry was terrific, just relaxing on the top deck in the sun taking in the views, and hour and twenty minutes later and I am on Long Island, a sandwich at a deli and then a bus trip to East Hampton for 2 dollars, surely the bargain of the century, the journey is three hours, and what a great journey it was, lots of great characters on the bus, a bus driver who talked, farted and belched his way being both kind and rude to people, an eye opener, but a lovely little cameo take on some American life.

Met by Scott, so lovely to see his face and then off to meet Sara with whom I had shared a studio complex with at Hurstone for many a year in the halcyon days.

And yes that night in a comfy bed I slept and woke feeling wonderful.

Friday, 7 September 2012

More Editing, The Promo Video is Launched, Goodbye to Boaz.

Today after all the rain was set fair, but I spend most of it at the computer screen doing the final tweaking of the sound for the video, some frustrations, need to have another look tomorrow to have a new eye....this are heating up as the open studios are on sunday and we prepare what and I we might show off what we have done, finished or unfinished.

We got the link to the promo video of the open studio, the link is:
see what we are all doing.

If Jee Soo and I are going to do an improvised piece on sunday I will have to make a more portable instrument so that may well take up friday and saturday.

Boaz is leaving today to go to a private of his work in Miami, it is with sadness that he won't be here for the final days, his work is exquisite, he has a dry and wry sense of humour.

A drink to you Boaz.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Trip out to MASS MOCA. Another Migraine

Yesterday was our trip to MASS MOCA in North Adams, Massachusetts. A huge modern art gallery in a disused energy building.
First up the cafe had a terrific selection of loose teas, they give you hot water, a tea pouch and a spoon the rest is up to you.
They also had the "Invisible Cities' exhibition which I had missed in England, and very glad to see here, based on the Italo Calvino book of the same name, the highlight for me where the Sopheap Pich, Carlos Garaicoa and Lee Bul, with Sopheap Pich being the pick of the bunch.

Sopheap Pich

michael for scale

But what I wasn't ready for was three massive floors of Sol Lewitt whose work stood head and shoulders above all others, a retrospective of his work to stay here for 25 years and I really suggest that anyone anywhere should at some point in the next 25 years make a sojourn to see this fantastic work, seeing any photograph does not do it justice, the pencil and crayon drawings on the walls have an ephemera that can only be understood live, impossible to reproduce.

Sol Lewitt

The Oh Canada exhibition also had a few gems.

We drove back stopping at Northampton for a Moroccan meal, which was nice.

Back to I-Park in time for another Mad Men and for me to get another bloody Migraine!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

More Time-Lapse. Sound Editing begins. Oh and a Hoe up a tree.

As promised a picture of a 'bloomin'onion' from yesterdays blog, and yes that is one onion fried in batter.
Today it was back out with the time-lapse camera, filming

in the Piano field

on the wheel bridge

and up a tree on a seat used by hunters, 

I was shooting rocks, trees and grass!
That past a very pleasant few hours and whilst the camera clicked away idle thumbs got to work and a few mini installations took place, I found a whole load of old farm stuff, a hoe, two saws, a plough shear and I thought I might just place them in surreal places to give passes by a reason to smile at the incongruity of it all.

So the hoe is now 15 feet in the air atop a sapling, 

the saw is embedded in the side of a tree 

 the plough shear sits between two divided boughs.

I came back to pond studio and downloaded the footage, edited and place within the movie, at 4.00 I went over to the house to get some lunch, later I started editing in some sound for the film, Jacob gave up his labor day and cooked us the best BBQ of beef, potato salad, black-eyed beans and sauces to die for, yum.  Followed by strawberries and cream.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Editing, Watching, Hopyard Neck Fair.

Another migraine to greet me this morning, this is getting absurd that is four is 3 weeks, not good.
A morning of putting together the video of the time-lapses, that went pretty well and I can see the things I still need to film to make it work well, also I see that I need a better time-lapse camera, this one has held me in good stead but if I am serious about taking more I think better resolution is needed.

At four Jacob came by and took us all to the local fair, The Hopyard Neck Fair and it was all you would expect, ferris wheel and rides, exhibiting cattle, very good bands playing, food stalls and I must say once you have seen a 'Bloomin' Onion' the world is a better place, hopefully I will get Tess to share her photo with me so you can all see what can be done to an onion.

My Internet has been down all day, but at last it is back and Roman sent me a clip of the video he took of me with the Fibonacci Tree yesterday.  Here it is.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Glueing, Recording and Cooking

Not a huge amount to report today other than it was another very hot day, which I spent finishing the spike in the F.T. glueing it and screwing it and making dowels.

Roman wanted to film me playing it for part of his video, which we did and we also recorded the spoken piece he wanted, I think my acting days are behind me!

I later cooked and lovely spaghetti for all with all fresh produce, one can't go wrong.
A headache after another sleepless night. It could be the oppressive heat.

Tomorrow I hope the spend the day editing the time-lapses and the sound.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Playing. Spike Making. Moonlit Boat Trip

beaters I made last night

This morning was hot and I got into playing the Fibonacci Tree again, this time recording the session so I can use it later in the sound piece for the film.  Again the F.T. sang and droned and tweeted its morning away, Amanda and Roman came over and listened and later played themselves, they both were enchanted and Roman wants to use it in his film both visually and aurally, so that was a nice boost.

In the heat of the afternoon I chainsawed the spike that is to hold the top end of the F.T. up, it worked well and I am very happy with it shape, a bit of drawknifing to touch up.

I got overheated today and by 4.00 was aching and hurting all over so I went for the supine position for twenty minutes to try and realign my back, it did help although it still hurt.  I used the fantastic outdoor shower again and got myself back on track.  Had a good chat with Andy who has been ill all day, but he seems to want to use the sounds as well.  Roman who was ill yesterday has given me a script to read for his video for the voice over, he wanted an english accent, a paranoid english accent......

Obviously Tess our Mad Men queen had us full steam ahead for another 2 episodes before I left to go for a moonlit row on the raft,  the raft that has appeared in a number of previous blogs, but tonight was different, not a breath of wind as the moon was in the sky and on the lake, it was almost too bright, it was also very very magical and I can only suggest that if you have the opportunity to go out on a boat only lit my the moon you will feel a connection to life that is a very temporal  visitor.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Time-Lapse the Dusk

Camcorder in a tree
time-lapse for 2 hours at dusk.
These are four stills from the film

Mixing Desk Heaven. To the Beach.

Vibrating bass string on the F.T.

Late last night I found in my pigeon hole that my little mixing desk had arrived, this is good news as it now means I can add fx's to the Fibonacci Tree if I want to, so today I played around with it, a bit of delay here a bit of reverb there etc etc.  I had a lot of fun and the noises now coming from the piece are terrific, even more terrific!, surely not.

We after lunch went Lyme and the Florence Griswold Museum, a house full of American Impressionism, the artist's studios, a gallery and beautiful riverside site.  This was good, some of the painting were good, the artist studio excellent, good barns so all in all a place worth going to.

But our highlight was the trip to the beach, a private beach 'Old Lyme Beach Club' of which one of the women from the lunch the other day is a member.  This was old school colonial, all weatherboard and private.  the sea was 78 degrees and we all swam out to a floating pontoon where we dived and jumped and splashed in the sea before back to shore for a BBQ of tuna, chorizos, peach and lettuce salad, yes Jacob had come too! there was beer and wine and as the sun set the moon was superb.

What a great break for us all, like kids being let out at playtime.

A walk back again in moonlight to my shack, this time Andy wanted to come and as we walked and talked we noticed the mist on the lake, as ethereal as any Arthurian legend.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Fibonacci Tree. Short video for Nancy.

Oh boy what a very poor nights sleep that was, but made some use of it and created a time-line for the sound and vision I intend.  But I do feel fairly rubbish today, it rained in the night which was nice.

No breakfast today, just up and see Amanda about siting the Fibonacci Tree for the Open Studio and I get the site I wanted which is in a hollowed area near the music studio.

I went over to photograph the FT and just had to have little play, oh my dear lord what fun that was.

Back to Pond studio to do the short video for Nancy's pre publicity, add sound and off she goes on here for you all to see.

time-lapse of water through hole in the raft

Applying for a Water Vole commission, as one does.

Day finished on a high note with a wonderful moonlit walk back from the house to my shack in the woods, can't remember the last time I did that.

Power up the Fibonacci Tree. Get video'd for I-Park promo

camcorder recording pine needles

Today saw Mason back so able to drive the mixing desk and speakers over to the red barn and power up the Fibonacci Tree..........all good here, she plays really well, a good breadth of sounds, I also added another bass string to the top leg which has a bit of tremolo when moved.....lovely.
I will put photos on tomorrow, the camera and me never seemed together at the right time!!!!
Did manage to break two of the piezo microphones, lucky I brought five with me!!!!, I might get some whilst I am here also a preamp for them.

I did a one hour long time-lapse of the pine needles and ants to go visually with the sound I recorded the other day, I think they will work and be part of the overall I-Park film and sound item I will be putting together.

Nancy came by to video us for the website and promotion of the open studio, my god it is all coming around very quickly.  she liked the time-lapse of the water from the raft so I will get that to her, and she video'd me playing the FT which I think went well so hopefully it will all look good.

Roman has downloaded the next series of Mad Men so the evenings are sorted, what a strange ritual this has become.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Time-Lapse. Stringing.

Well that was a good day, probably the best here so far, strange that yesterday I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and wondering what I was doing, what relevance does any of it have.  But today was a resounding affirmation that being an artist is what I do and what I still want to do after 30 odd years.
I reshot the time-lapse on the raft through the square hole to rid myself of the line of wood in the first effort, Boaz was so right to say that visually it wasn't working before, this one is so much better,

Time-Lapse  pond life

I also had a go at a 360 turn in the lake whilst time-lapsing, this was too quick it transpired on later watching but was an interesting process.  I also did a drifting time-lapse where I let the wind take me wherever it was going to, of course I ended up in the trees but it was a fun journey nonetheless and might have some worth at a later stage.

Later I strung the Fibonacci tree, which went well and after putting the two lighter gauge strings on I still had time to put the two bass strings on as well, it sounded good, some good resonance and the bass strings produce a harmonic from the two lighter strings when bowed.  There is a natural listening part of the sculpture which I think I may develop to give it an acoustic life as well.

I also found out that the 1/4 spanners they have here are perfect for tightening the piano pins, so I must get one before I leave.   Another fine day.  Photos of me curtesy of Roman.  Thank you.

 Still of Time-Lapse through studio roof