This year has gone so fast and a helluva lot has happened. A mixture of good and bad but got through it mostly in one piece. Kinda glad it is nearly over and looking forward to a new year and new opportunities.
After the madness of Mother's Ruin and making giant cardboard constructions in Glasgow Green on one of my other jobs with UZ Arts, I got commissioned to build a box. Not just any old box but a travelling exhibition box that would celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Touring Network, Highlands and Islands. The brief was to create a durable, interactive box or case that would illustrate stories collected over the previous months. Two film makers, Beth Chalmers and Jassy Earl, filmed folk sharing their own memories of shows, exhibitions and live events across the Highlands and Islands. After a bit of contemplation and inspiration from illustrations from the birthday card by Rosie Cunningham, I came up with this...
A big black and blue and wallpapered box with story doors, magnetic map and chess pieces. The films Beth and Jassy made are showing in the iPad mounted in the white case. The reviews so far have come in favourably and it's started its first gig of the tour circling Skye. Not sure where else it's going but it will be touring over the coming months.
Otherwise I've just returned from 2 weeks in Abu Dhabi doing more LED props. A great experience and met some brilliant people. Here's the video of the show, our stuff is about 17 mins in.
Been back all of half a day and I knew I would get bored so I had booked myself some blacksmithing lessons. Always one to take a notion to do something random but practical, I googled "Blacksmithing Glasgow" and up popped The Vanguard Centre. Right in the centre of town, nestled in amongst the railway arches in Tradeston, they are a club where they do medieval sword fighting; HEMA, to give it its official abbreviation...and blacksmithing. With their little forge and workshop space they do an intro course as well as pendant classes and leather working amongst other things. Check them out if you have an interest in messing about with metal and the lovely Sam will sort you out. The excellent teaching of Paul has seen me making a coat hook, toasting fork and a bottle opener so far. Got one more session next Monday where I'll be making a letter opener. I've got coats, I have bottles, I get letters (occasionally), just need to get an open fire or a BBQ (and a garden to put it in) to use my toasting fork!
And so onward to the next exciting adventures. 2018 has been varied; devastating, exasperating, fantastic, educational and utterly exhausting but I'm looking forward to a new life in 2019 where hopefully doors will be opened, opportunities taken and things will be made!
Best of the season to every one of you and best of luck for the coming new year.
Things are going swimmingly now and I do feel that I'm on track for finishing in some form. The sculpture, barring a few adjustments, hasn't changed much from my initial designs, which I'm pretty happy about. Having never made anything on this scale before it was always going to be a bit of a baptism of fire. Something I always seem to put myself through but then what's life for if not for adventures?
The main lesson I've learnt with this one is about my new materials. Metal is funny stuff; to me anyway. This may seem obvious to some but I've realised that bending a fairly malleable steel rod one way means it will kick out the other way. You actually need to think beyond your initial bend and towards the next one. Angles are funny things too. When placing said rod against the thing I'm wanting to bend it round (in various directions), by the time I get to the vice (even though marking and trying to keep it in my mind which way and which side to bend it) I've either forgotten which way it should go or I bend it in the opposite direction. Bearing in mind I'm the type of person who has to look at her hands before be able to differentiate left or right, maybe I shouldn't be so hard on myself. However, as I said before, things are going swimmingly and I can even see the light at the end of the tunnel. The full frame will be complete shortly and I've already started on some of the decoration and cladding. After raiding Albert's workshop and a recent demolition site I've got lots of random pieces of scrap that I'll fashion, tie, wire and possibly glue, if necessary, in place. Just one more day after this evening's shift and that should be it. The concrete plinth that the sculpture will be set into has been laid today and so it's just waiting for the installation on Sunday. There's a plan to do a Live Facebook broadcast of the transportation and installation so if you want a laugh seeing a metal donkey unicorn travel along a street in a small Catalan town then check out the Riba Rocks Facebook page this Sunday.
So, it's soon going to be just down to thinking of a title for the beast. Josep told me about the words for donkey in Catalan. A male donkey is called, "el ruc" and a female donkey is called, "la sumera". I quite took to the "sumera" word as it rolls of the tongue nicely. Also, because the word for sculpture in Spanish and Catalan is feminine, "La escultura" it seemed that my donkey needed to be female. So she will be ever dubbed thus. I'm going to use the word "Sumera" in the title somehow but I haven't quite decided yet.
I've definitely picked up quite a few new Spanish words (including some swear words naturally...Hostia! is a good one) and even some phrases. I need to get better at this speaking Spanish malarky as you feel such a plum not being able to communicate basic things. I'm definitely understanding more though so that's a good sign. They mostly speak Catalan here of course but one step at a time.
Right, back to the workshop!! In the meantime, here's some pics of Riba Roja d'Ebre, Phil and Anna's and Olly's works in progress and some more metal donkey.
Jennifer Kilgour is an artist and maker specialising in model making, sculpture, painting and drawing.
She also loves making other things like wee animations (trained in that and everything), small coffee tables (singular) and walking the family dog in the woods.