I’m not using this much at the moment so switching it over to a free server for now.
I’m having a run of random poetry, just found this one while searching for a blank page in a sketchbook. It’s a bit teenage-angst-ish, but that is about my level of poetry skill!
I am the stones beneath me
Eaten up by waves eternal.
I have no arms to save me.
My legs are rooted too deeply
Some days I bubble,
Some days I threaten.
Some days I,
And others not at all.
The Bridge of Skulls is a regular motif in my dreams. It’s just a little bridge, not too fancy. Made of skulls, some femurs too. Perfectly normal bridge construction material in dream land.
Anyways, I had a dream a while back that was a poem. I couldn’t remember it exactly when I woke up, but I did write something similar down. I thought I’d lost it as it wasn’t in my dream diary (yes, I have a dream diary – it helps me separate dreams from reality) but just found it lurking in a folder on my laptop.
It’s quite pretentious, and far from refined, but it’s something I made and so I shall share it;
The Bridge of Skulls
I dreamt I was a princess.
Not an ingenue or Ophillia. Not a maiden or a damsel.
I dream I am a princess,
Bound in satin and velvet,
Layers of sumptuousness too decadent to function,
As I cross the bridge of skulls.
The surfaces are worn smooth, carefully constructed.
The surface does not trouble my pampered feet in their delicate slippers, as I try to run.
Away from riches!
Decry the King and Queen,
Their waste appals me, repels me.
I turn from it, proud of my defiance.
I dreamt I was a princess.
Now I wake,
Warm in crisp sheets of clean cotton,
Woven on the bridge of skulls.
My sister gave me a cutting of her lovely Wandering Jew a while back and it’s really flourished in my kitchen, despite being repeatedly knocked over by Jasmine, under and over-watered by me and generally tortured.
It had been growing up the side of the window frame, but after moving it and finding damp and mould underneath, I decided it needed some other support. It really does like to wander.
I’m just going to stick this one in a gallery;
I think I over engineered this one a bit. All those fancy spirals and shaping, and you can barely see it with the plant wound round. Oh well, it was simple enough to make and looks really effective in place;
I might have to add more height to the frame if the thing keeps growing like it has been!
(Excuse the black stuff in my sink – it’s there to stop Jaz pooing in it)
Things have been going pretty well for me recently. I had a really low patch over Christmas but have been recovering of late. I’d been volunteering, going out, swimming, all sorts. I even tried an aerobics class! And then pulled a muscle in my stomach and got hit with a week of horrid depression…
Oh well. Out of pain, weird rusty nail jewellery!
I’ve been volunteering at Newcastle Wood Recycling. It’s a great place for all your woody needs, and filled with welcoming and creative types. Most of what I’ve been doing is removing nails and screws from wood so it can be sold and re-used. But, while the wood finds a new life, the metal bits get swept up and thrown in a recycling bin. They seemed in need of some love.
First though, some science!
I knew I was going to be attaching new bits of metal to the rusty nails but I didn’t want it to look new. Poking around the internet I found a few different ways to ‘age’ metal quickly. A lot of them involved chemicals and treatments that I don’t have and wouldn’t really want to use. I did find this technique though, using the methane released from boiled eggs to create a patina. It seemed worth a go.
This is the selection of bits I’m experimenting with;
There’s rusty bits, silver coloured jewellery fixings, bronze coloured jewellery fixings, a bit of solder and some steel rings. And here, with not-quite-cooked-enough egg (I got impatient);
Looking tasty. After an hour or so I gave it a poke and found this;
The silver coloured earring had started to rust, as had some of the rings. No effects visible on the solder or steel.
I managed to leave it overnight before opening;
The silver coloured earring coloured really well, as did some of the rings. I think there was a slight darkening on some of the steel rings, but that might be wishful thinking. The solder didn’t seem bothered, which I was a bit worried about.
Still, I cracked on to playing with dangerously hot things;
It took a while to figure out the best way to solder them. My first few had too little solder, the rings just snapped off. For the next ones I piled on far too much solder then used rifler files to take half of it back off. A bit of a faff, but the result is much stronger. Very shiny though, clearly in need of some eggy love.
After a night in a bag of equally under-cooked egg (why can’t I boil eggs?!?!) I got these;
Again, the patina is sporadic, but that fits the style quite well. The solder is still shiny but less ‘freshly filed’ shiny. It’s worked great to cover up where I’ve filed sharp bits off the tips of the nails too. Quite pleased with these!
I’d loved the sound of the nails clanking around while I worked with them so wanted to keep them dangling, wind-chime fashion. I was going to hammer some nails flat to make spacers, but found some lurking in my broken jewellery box I could cut down instead. I hammered all the jump rings I used flat, it seemed to suit.
I had thought of egging the whole thing. The contrast with the newer silver is quite nice though, and I was worried about having a patina on the ear wire that has to go through the ear. With the chain and spacers being slightly dull from age anyway, it didn’t seem worth it. I coated the parts with the patina in matte sealant and matte varnish to stop it rubbing off on skin.
It’s hard taking photos of your own ear.
I love how they turned out. While a bit too long for my taste, they look great and move really well. The clanking, tinkling sound as they hit each other is very pleasing.
With the shorter nails, I made another, smaller pair. This time in the sunshine.
Yes, I know. I have not treated my anvil well. It really needs some TLC, but I was kinda liking the rust on it transferring to the jump rings while I hammered them flat.
I had a play with some pendant ideas too;
I’m not so sure on these. I hammered some steel wire flat for collars and soldered jump rings over the joins. Trying to get the angles right, and hold everything in place, for the solder was… tricky. Maybe if I hang them on chain not leather… I don’t know. Not happy with them yet, but something there to play with.
At least I managed to amuse the cat;
Burning stuff – it’s big and clever.
I’ve done a bit of pyrography before, burning wood for decorative purposes, but usually to deepen the colour in a carved design or some such. I think I’ve done pyrography on leather at some point, I vaguely remember the smell being awful, but I can’t remember what it was for. I really must sort out the old pictures on this site, it’s probably in there somewhere!
Anyway, when I’ve used the technique before I’ve just used my soldering iron and an old, knackered, soldering tip. This gets an ok result, but anything delicate or particularly accurate is out of the question. I did have another quick go with my soldering iron again, and tried out my newer handheld iron from Maplin. The tip on that is much smaller than the ones in my mains powered iron, so it did get finer lines, but it doesn’t seem to heat up as much so takes longer. It is a handy little tool to have around though, I only bought it for a LARP character but now use it more than my mains powered iron. It’s designed so you have to hold the trigger down to keep it powered, but I took it apart and rigged it to an on/off switch. Much easier to use.
I picked up a proper pyrography tool at Axminster. It’s an entry level one with no temperature control, but came with a handful of different tips and was very affordable.
Having the proper tool makes a big difference. I was able to actually stick to lines. Even with the lack of temperature control I managed a bit of shading, nothing fancy but good enough for me.
The different bits are much easier to use than soldering iron tips and get much crisper edges.
I sanded down a lump of pallet wood to play on and drew out a mandala design in pencil. Trying to follow the pencil lines was rather difficult. Next time, I’d be better doing a rougher outline and figuring out what shapes the pyrography tool is happy with me making rather than trying to match the tool to a drawn shape. The grain of the wood also influences the pattern, which I hadn’t really considered. Overall, it’s not bad for a first attempt. I’ll have another go at some point.
In other news, I’ve finally finished the evil Roses jigsaw my mum got me for Christmas last year. It was fiendish, but filled many rainy days!
And my cats now have pink nails. We’re trying cheaper ones than their usual brand so I wanted a different colour to tell them apart. Clearly that colour had to be bright pink. Kiki approves.
Because, clearly, I haven’t done enough of these! I have been playing with some new techniques and different designs, loving sitting in the sun with a pile of stones and some Radio 6.
(apologies for shoddy phone photos, camera battery was flat)