Tag Archives: Makernow

Magnolia Leaves, Copeland China & Lily Pads

By tradition, this time of year is always very busy and this past month has been no exception.  Hence no posting.  Just thinking about what I have done in that time makes my head spin.  With delight.  And to spare you the dizziness of adding to your own busy times, I’ve just outlined a few things as an aid-memoir for me or for you to dip into if any of it takes your interest.


Making a Vessel to travel into the Other World (In memoriam 1)

Result of  the Slow Poem Workshop at Soil Culture Forum, Falmouth University.

My response to the Slow Poem, Composted Thoughts Workshop led by Mat Osmond & Tom Scott at the Soil Culture Forum, Falmouth University.  Layers of notes on one sheet of paper, torn up and placed in a dried magnolia leaf before being buried.

The Soil Culture Forum – using the arts to revitalise a resource we take for granted.  In brief, the presentations ranged from a captivating performance by Fraulein Brehms on the humble earth worm, Lumbricus Terrestris, to Yuli Somme, a felt maker from Devon who makes beautiful felt shrouds.  The creative workshops were absorbing and the whole Forum was thought-provoking, not least the key-note presentation about the state of our soils by Patrick Holden, of the Sustainable Food Trust.  (Note to self…must find out if I can get hold of a transcript of his presentation, it was so good).

making paint from mud

a workshop participant making painterly patterns from mud

my notes showing the mud and water mixtures using earth pigments from Peter Ward's workshop .

my notes showing the mud and water mixtures using earth pigments from Peter Ward‘s workshop .

Making shiny mud balls on a Hikaru Dorodango workshop led by Emma  Saffy Wilson

Making shiny mud balls on a Hikaru Dorodango  workshop (the link describes the art of Japanese perfection), a workshop led by Emma Saffy Wilson.


  • ALL MAKERS NOW? conference workshop

Trelissick Gardens (In memoriam 2)

Also at Falmouth University was The All Makers Now ? Conference A two-day conference exploring craft values in 21st century production.  I was fortunate enough to be offered one of the 12 available places open to craft makers, museum curators, technicians and artists, on the 2 day workshop held at Autanomatic, the 3D Digital Production research cluster at Falmouth, just prior to the conference.

Each group of 4 people worked on an idea for an artwork to be included in the exhibition at Trelissick House, timed to coincide with the conference.

With help from the skilled technicians, we had just two days in which to see our ideas go from the initial brain-storming session to  material realisation in a finished artwork before our very eyes.  We shaped and fashioned our way through the suite of cutting edge digital production technologies including Rapid Prototyping, Lazer Cutting, 3D Scanning and Computer-Numerically-Controlled Milling and Routing machines.

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The concept our group came up with was inspired by the famous Copeland China collection which was sold when the contents of Trelissick House were auctioned off.   As the exhibition was being held in the now empty library, we decided that a book would be a suitable matrix to contain the now lost textures of remembered objects.  A Bonhams lot ticket was the template on which areas of texture were either ‘imprinted’, embossed or ‘grown’, such as a section of a fire surround in the house, a small section of leaf pattern taken from a piece of china  or a section of the topography of the river and the land sweeping up to the house.  Even the wear marks on a piece of china, all telling some aspect of the story of Trelissick House and its famous garden.

The whole process was extraordinary and every aspect new to me.  The question we posed was: Can objects produced through the use of digital technologies (over the course of a two-day creative workshop), recapture the character of artefacts that have been displaced?

The Work for inclusion in The All Makers Now Conference Exhibition,

Trelissick House, Truro.  10th / 11th July, 2014

Title:  In Memoriam, 2014

materials: paper, acrylic, hardwood, plaster, ABS, canvas, card

processes: laser cutting, CNC milling, 3D printing, laser etching, (clay cast? if time)

Makers: Armando Chant, Barney Townsend, Rebecca Skeels, Caro Woods



A workshop delivered by Katrin and Shauna of MzTEK, a non-profit organisation with the aim of addressing the imbalance of women artists working in the fields of new media, computer arts and technology.  This workshop thanks to Creative Skills, Cornwall.

The idea was to build our own wearable synthesiser by programming a small ‘lilypad’ computer to output movement data as sound using the freely downloaded Arduino software.  Over the two days, some truly weird and wonderful inventions were created.

Finally, I managed to combine a few days of family time with the search for my horse.


Rose has taken a liking to Tammie’s bed

Plus an unexpected and last-minute invitation to spend the weekend at Womad thanks to someone who had  dropped out of a party of friends because of ill-health.  Wasn’t I just the lucky one?  Three days immersed in a cauldron of melting heat, a rich array of costumes and heart thumping beats.  A mass of chilled-out humanity soaking up all the colourful sights and sounds.   I loved it.

I also had use of the 'posh' loos.  Luxury.

I also had use of the ‘posh’ loos. Luxury.

So that’s me up to date.  I’ve scarcely drawn breath and I’m off again tomorrow for the next 6 days with Richard Dealler (Mary / Michael Pilgrim Route) and crew walking over Bodmin Moor. The forecast is for rain but I’m a seasoned camper now.  (She says brazenly but without conviction).


The good news is, when I return, I will be welcoming my new horse, Tommy, to Trezelah.  This is him being vetted on Monday.  (see my blog pilgrimonhorseback.wordpress.com for more details of that).  Exciting times.



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Exciting Times

Limbo painting room

Limbo portrait room

I have been to 3 events this week that have been inspirational.   Two were hosted by UCF, and one independent cultural ‘happening’.  All enriching in their own ways.

'suicidal' portraits

‘suicidal’ portraits

  • “Into a Limbo large and broad, since called the paradise of fools, to few unknown..”  John Milton, Paradise Lost.
Tim Shaw's large-scale burning man

Tim Shaw’s large-scale ‘man on fire’

Limbo has responded to the doom-mongers in an attempt to transcend the ‘spectrum of crisis’ that prevails by orchestrating the first biannual, staged as a blue-print for a future Biennale for Cornwall.  This event has created such a buzz across the creative community.  I caught up with it yesterday when I banged loudly on the big wooden doors of the Old Coffin Store, Truro.  It was 4.30 and already half an hour past its closing time.  To my surprise, I soon heard footsteps descending some stairs and as the door opened the familiar smell of oil paints and turps wafted invitingly out into Walsingham Place.


Marie-Claire Hamon invited me in apologising for having turned the main lights off.  No problem, there was plenty of natural light available to see what there was to see.  Upstairs, she showed me the TAap room where she was working on one of the portraits of famous people who had either committed suicide or attempted to commit suicide (a final nod to the coffin store).  She kindly agreed to let me take these photos.  Thanking her, I left her to continue her work.  An auction of the portraits will take place.  (11th April).


  • On Tuesday evening, the AIR building at UCF hosted the launch of Makernow, its new digital fabrication lab.

This is such an exciting area of development in the technological capabilities for creative projects.  I already have designs I want to try out with their digital making resources and look forward to the publication of their open days soon and putting some of those ideas into practice.  The most fantastic thing about this venture is the willingness to be outward facing, to communicate and share understanding and experience of developing projects with interdisciplinary collaborators.  This kind of open sourcing is something I definitely want to be a part of.

  • MA Art Lecture Spring Series: Patrick Lowry (American Dream)

I did my MA at the same time as Patrick.  He kindly lent me his geological map of Cornwall which to my shame, I have still got.  His illustrated talk was vintage Patrick.  He is such an engaging personality and it was wonderful to see all the fantastic work he has produced over the years since I first met him.  He was primarily here to talk about his upcoming exhibition, American Dream, where he is ‘constructing a full-sized replica of the facade and garden of a 1950’s American suburban home complete with a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air‘, at the Exchange opening 26th April.  Rather worryingly, he admitted that rather than giving this lecture he should be working on the build…..having just two weeks to build the exhibition from scratch…..but he is so capable, I am sure he will achieve this seemingly daunting task.


Fiat Lux Latin – Let there be Light (TAap)

Near the end of the week now and at last, the temperature is rising and the sun has managed to find its way into my cottage and into my mood.  Today, it feels like a good time to be an artist living in Cornwall.  There may not be much money floating about but this has not deterred the creative fraternity from doing what they do best.  Making art, with the attitude – whatever else is going on – we shall not be daunted.  In fact, it feels more like a flowering of creativity than a withering of will.

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