Construction Begins

Yesterday afternoon I purchased £30 worth of mild steel box tube, 1.5mm thick and 12.5 x 12.5. It wont arrive until Friday or Monday, so in the mean time I have got to work.

The steel is to be used for constructing my sculptures. These based on my concept which is dealing with the exploration of form through structural systems. Steel is an appropriate material I think, dues to my experience using it allows me to show off my skills and also for its sculptural connotations, as a material it has a strong relationship to sculpture. My steel sculptures shall be welded and then have a ground finish (grinder), I am yet to decide on a further finish. The final surface finish could be shiny, textured, deliberately rusted, even blued as I did with my triangles ball/cloud sculpture. The surface is important. I recently realized the importance that surface qualities have when it was pointed out to me that I often talk about surfaces and planes as well as structure when I discuss my work. Presently I am unsure as to what my surface finishes shall be but I shall be conducting some more research into steel surface finishing and treatments to see if I can be inspired to come up with some interesting surface finishes. The surfaces will surely inform as much about the pieces as the structures themselves (which are my main focus currently).

I also bought some 6mm round bar (10 meters) from the School Stores to be getting on with one of my smaller structure sculptures. I chopped it all up into 30cm rods and then using a 60 degree angle jig and referring to my wood and glue model I set about welding the rod into a triangulated structure.

I started this blog post yesterday. This continues from there.

This morning I visited a scrap yard in Cathays on Woodville Road, just to check it out really. The bloke running in charge was helpful and friendly, the actual place is very small, apparently acting as a small local scrap collection with its larger sister counter part to be found in the industrial estate in Butetown, I think it was on Curran Road. There were big open top containers of scrap lining the walls. Aluminium, lots of copper and brass, thick copper cable and car batteries and steel and all the rest of it. The copper was of particular interest, there where several old bashed up water tanks made from spun copper that had intact bowl like bottoms, the like of which I have used in the past to enamel. This is exciting, a viable source for me to get copper bowls and dishes to continue my series of enameled bowl work. This may need to be held back until my show work is further along however.

Whilst at the scrap yard the delivery man who was dropping my steel off at uni called to say he was on his way. I raced back to uni and managed to catch him in time. The steel is now waiting to be cut next Monday, I am in the process of deciding what lengths I want to use and what size I want it to end up being.

Today I managed to finish the 6mm rod sculpture (pictured above), welding it together at least. I gave it a quick brush and then a quick sand blast to clean it up. I need to grind the welds back to smooth them out and make them a bit more neat and pleasing to look at. I will use a Dremel with sanding bobbins was well as mini grind disks to do this as the angle grinder is to large to get into those nooks and crannies. So next Monday shall see the morning spent cleaning the rod sculpture and the afternoon cutting the box tube to size and then cleaned ready for welding.




Professional Practice Lecture Series

Finding Your Path…

Today was the first day of second term. After our start of term briefing and verbal feedback for last terms module ‘Research and Development’ I attended a lecture presented by Ingrid Murphy (head lecturer of Maker) which is the first of the series called ‘Professional Practice’.

Beginning with general thoughts and points on leaving university and education to foray out into the world of work, Ingrid briefly recounted her own experiences of signing on the dole, eventually finding work she wanted to do and then about getting on to realizing her lifelong ambitions of becoming a teacher, an educator. Next Ingrid spent much of the rest of the lecture outlining, suggesting and positing jobs, work and ways of living and working.

One of the things she said concerning work outside of the creative industries is that people with creative degrees are attractive to public sector jobs in service industries. Should my original ideas and attempts of ‘having a stab at it’ go awry this would be useful to remember.

What she was really trying to get us to think about however was our skills. What skills do I have? How skilled am I in those areas really? I am a producer I make work. But with my skills can I both produce and also provide a service?

A comforting point she made in the lecture was that when she graduated she had no plan really, just an ambition which she worked towards. This was said to remind us that success does not come about overnight, there will be a journey towards ambition and goals.

The lecture followed Ingrid’s recent journey around New Zealand where she was judging an international ceramics exhibition. Much of her time there was spent meeting artists and makers. All these people that she met she served as examples to us of the plethora of opportunities that can be found and pursued out in the world.

There are so many things to think about! What do i want to do? Where do I want to go? Well… I want to make things most of all, perhaps one day run my own business of some description. I would work most anywhere initially. Residencies seem particularly inviting to me at the moment, a way, I think, that I could develop my practice contextually as well as my skills.  I also think that after a while I would like to work collaboratively, within a group of creatives which I will have assembled working on a variety of projects producing personal work to show for galleries and also work for commission and competition. I know that I also want to work with new technologies among other more traditional skills and ways of producing work. This is very important to me. So I think I shall begin by investigating opportunities around creative technologies, particularly those focused around the merging new technologies, art, design and sustainable living.

As the lecture series progresses and I find interesting opportunities or ideas of what I might want to do hopefully a better picture of what I could do after university should build up.