Week 42 of 52

Work continues on the UWS piece. It’s hard work, slow work, hot work and dusty work, but it feels like it’s coming together. The branches are being attached and the skin is going on. It requires significant precision, without much room for error. With luck, the final two branches will go on Tuesday, and that’s the serious work out of the way.

Longer diary entries will be along once this major work is out of the way.

Week 41 of 52

A week of travel and deal doing.

So in going to get my stainless steel on Monday, I hit upon an idea to call the makers of a welder I’d been thinking about a year or so back. I spoke to the owner of the company, ad he mentioned a model that wasn’t on their website, their crappy un-updated website. Hello. So I suggested that perhaps he’d consider a swap – a new website for a welding machine.

So, on Tuesday I went out to their head office, and picked up the welding machine, and since it was near UWS, made a quick site visit. Wednesday it was off to New Zealand, where I visited Gibbs Farm.

This was a real pilgrimage – being able to stand next to, and touch giant works by Anish Kapoor & Richard Serra.

The other two days there ere spent doing touristy stuff – walking around Auckland, and taking ferry tours.

Sunday was dedicated to getting the electrical supplies necessary to get the welder up and running. All going well, I should be able to begin next week.

Week 40 of 52


The armature I was building for the top half of the UWS piece has turned out to be a failure. The material wasn’t up to the weight demands, and sagged to the point it wasn’t viable.

So, with 3 weeks to go, one of which will have 4 days going to New Zealand and back, I’ve got to find another solution. I’m thinking it’s going to be stainless steel pipe, cut with lots of slots, then bent and welded. back together.

I’ve priced a small welder that’ll run off domestic house power, and which should do the job. So in the 2 days before I go away, I’ve got to get stainless steel organised, get a welder organised and gear up for a new and expensive addition to my practice.


Week 38 of 52

Work, work, work this week. I picked up the stainless braid, but apart from that, it’s been nose to the grindstone on the UWS sculpture. Progress is painfully slow – there’s lots of measuring, testing, planning and fitting. Because there’s lots of overlapping, nothing can be locked down, so I’m having to peel multiple pieces back in order to put in new support infrastructures for each new piece. That said, the work is coming along well, and the base should be complete in the next week.

I ordered a new pen for my Wacom tablet, after my old pen developed a cracked barrel. The choice was a Wacom Airbrush pen. Unfortunately, the unit that arrived was mediocre. The whole internals were insufficiently connected to the pen body, so that when you press the eraser, the nib popped out by 1mm, and then when you press down on the nib, you could feel it pop back in.

Needless to say, I returned it, and now I’m waiting for them to send a replacement.

Week 37 of 52

…in a row?

So this week, the green side of the UWS piece has been mounted to the completed armature, which has been painted black to make it less visible through gaps between the plates of the work. The attachment method I worked out was successful, but required a lot of drilling through metal. Since my drill bits had all become blunt, and drilling through metal is a mountain of effort, I dropped in to bunnings and picked up a couple of nifty things. Firstly, a drill sharpener – this is a marvel. It’s got a pair of grinding wheels driven by the drill itself, and then an attachment you put the bit into, which locates it against the grinding wheel. As you twist the attachment, the bit gets sharpened. It’s stunningly effective.

The other thing I picked up was a drill press. I’ve wanted one of these for ages, and they’re available for under a hundred bucks. So in the studio I’ve now got the Dremel, drill press, a cordless drill set up as a driver, another set up with a long socket extension, and an angle-grinder. Fun times.

The BIG news of the week, is I managed to secure a materials sponsorship for the work. The sponsor is the provider of the stainless steel hosepipe, who have been kind enough to give me all the stuff for free! This is an amazing development as it was expected to be a major cost in constructing the work. Fun, fun times.

Week 36 of 52

Had a bit of downtime this week, recovering from the grant application. Fingers crossed, I believe I put in the best proposal I could, so hopefully I’ll get the finance.

Most of the productive time this week was devoted to getting the armature for the UWS piece constructed. My original plan was to build it in PVC pipe, and then fill that with concrete. Unfortunately, after consulting with a cousin who’s a builder, I figured that the concrete would be too brittle, so I moved to galvanised threaded pipe. This has some significant advantages – it’s strong, self supporting, has readymade connectors, and won’t rust outdoors. The only problem was getting closed loops to work, because the pipe isn’t flexible. The solution to that was a PVC elbow or connection in those couple of places, which  doesn’t appear to have effected the structural integrity to any great extent, and gave me the little bit of wiggle room necessary to close off rectangles.

In the next week the job is to get the green side mounted to the armature, and then build the coloured side. I’ve got some good ideas for how the mounting system will work, and hopefully the coloured side will be able to be made relatively self supporting, so it can be hung as a single unit on the armature, but that’s a nice if you can have it, cuttable option.

The other big news is that Derby Daze [squareformat] has been submitted to Apple, so hopefully should be available in the next week to 10 days. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out, as there were a few interesting challenges to overcome, but it has further cemented my working method for  creating these books.

Week 35 of 52

A busy week in every way. Here’s the latest state of the UWS piece:

Now I’ve got to figure out the armature, and then do the other side.

The update to The Metaning went live, and progress has continued on Derby Daze.

The big task this week was working on a new grant application. Fingers crossed, it’ll get me the finance to make my work for Sculpture By The Sea.

Week 34 of 52

It’s been a great week for progress. I’ve picked up a whole bunch of extra motherboards from a couple of suppliers and commenced work on the UWS sculpture. In addition to this, I bought all the fixings used to connect them together, and learned a new aesthetic principle to guide my further works. The way my circuit board works are held together, is with thin threaded rod or long bolts, with nylock nuts and washers. These terminate in little dome nuts on the outward viewer facing surface. Previously, these were all the same outer size, however the bulk dome nuts I ordered from a local bulk supplier were a whole spanner size larger on the outside, while having the same inner thread size. I thought this was going to look unbalanced, but when combined with the washers they supplied, which were also larger diameter, it actually works a lot better. What had previously just been a functional support which ended in the dome, now has this deliberate appearance where it’s thickest at the end, and then tapers down through the nylock nut, to the threaded rod.

Just one of those wonderful surprises that turn up when unlooked for.

Due to the new arrivals of numerous blue motherboards, my plans for the colour scheme of the work have changed somewhat. I’d previously planned to have a tree with purple leaves, sitting on a patch of gold, with black & green as the rest of the colours of the rock. Now that I’ve got ten blues, four purples and a red, the plan is to have the tree grow out of the red one with the purples around it, radiating out to blue. The leaves now can be gold, which makes a certain sense as they’ll be the most beautiful, eye-catching part.

Other developments, I’ve submitted an update to The Metaning, which enables panel numbering via a setting that the user can switch on or off – better yet, the setting is remembered between reads.

Another project on the EPUB front, my first book of roller derby photography is in development – Derby Daze [squareformat], a selection of images which worked in the square cropped format.

Week 33 of 52

It’s been a fantastic week. I’ve found a new source for computer motherboards, who’s happy to keep stockpiling for me, and I finally cracked a web design thing I’ve been meaning to learn for a long time – using jQuery to set and retrieve cookies.

What this brings is the ability to do things like switching between versions of artwork within The Metaning, as well as globally switching things like captions on or off. Having implemented the captions changeable version, the effect is subtle, and beautiful, with the numbers fading in as the page flip is completed.

I’m starting work on another photography EPUB, this one packaging he square cropped images from the roller derby shoots I did.

I’m also close to locking down the final form of the UWS sculpture.