Exhibiting my work for Sale.

We were all asked to exhibit our work for the potential commission piece.  Some students only had a Maquette to show off their design concepts and there were a lot to choose from. It  was really quite scary and we were all feeling the nerves. I was really nervous knowing I had to talk about my work.


The Lady was greeted at the entrance by the Tutors and they had a chat before she was shown upstairs to look at the work exhibited. We were then asked to come and stand by our work and talk about it. We brought other pieces of work to show off to her as well as Kim thought she may be interested in other pieces. I was profusely perspiring by then.  First I talked about the laser etched piece and Kim my tutor thought she might be interested in the piece with some special framing. I then talked about my wire bird and Rabbit and explained I was just showing my skills of what could potentially be made if she was interested in the wire pieces and then we moved onto the sculpture I designed for the brief. I explained that I had designed the piece around using the most of the space in her unit that was in the brief. The Gentleman with her asked more questions and asked me if the battery pack could be moved or hidden somehow and if more lights could be added to the piece down the spine and around the bowl bottom and I said they could be added no problem, also adding that the lights could be changed for a mains plug option if they would prefer.

I didn’t win the commission with the lady I designed the piece for, she chose a piece by one of the second year degree students. Who had been influenced by an artist she was interested in.

Her piece was a highly finished piece of work. It was beautiful and If I have to be honest I had a feeling as soon as I saw it that she would win.

I have however been told that the gentleman who had accompanied her was her father and he loved my piece and wanted to purchase it for himself with the added lights and the battery packed moved. He will be in contact with one of my Tutors soon. So I now have to decide how much I want to sell my piece for.

I have no idea how to cost the piece of work. I know it has taken me at least 30 hours to make but I don’t want to price the piece to high that he changes his mind or is disappointed but I also don’t want to price the work lower than I think its worth. I have asked my Tutor and two other members of staff at college. so they think somewhere between £150 and £350. I think that If I was to look at it in a shop with handmade designs  I would probably expect to see a price tag around £280-£320 but I don’t know if I can really ask for that much. I guess its something I need to think more on and learn from. Hopefully keeping a record of time spent on my work in future will help me to cost my work and help prove of its worth but proving difficult because I am letting my heart rule my head. I love the piece of work and I am really pleased with how it turned out. Its a one of a kind, totally my design and creation and I haven’t made anything like it before. I have put my all into making it, blood, sweat, tears and sleepless nights poured into it. I wasn’t really as disappointed that the person I made it for didn’t want it.  Some people would think I would be glad to see the back of it but I am not. I know I have to think  Logically about it as I haven’t anywhere for it to go if I don’t sell it.

I decided to seek some further advice from friends and posted it onto my Facebook page.




I even searched for help via google and came across this Handbook for teachers.

Cost/ Value. Try selecting contrasting sculptures and look at:  The cost of the materials  The (sentimental) value to the owner  Does age enhance the value?  Why?   The selling price by the artist  The selling price by the gallery (usually the artist’s price + 50% or more)  The value to someone who loved/ hated it  The value if it were made by someone famous  The value if it is an original piece or a copy/ fake  The value if it is one of an edition of 10, 50, 500….  http://www.discoveryzone.org.uk/sculpture%20handbook.pdf (08/02/17)

I don’t know how much the Gentleman is willing to pay but I feel that if the price I suggest is to high for him then maybe he can make an offer or I will sell it at a later date to someone else who is prepared to pay what I think its worth.


Commission piece update.

Today I am having to go back to square one with using the Ikea base to mount the spine of the commission piece. Unfortunately after some research and talks by my Tutor Jamie there is concern with the amount of lead that would need to be used in the piece and the harm it may cause over time.  This isn’t something that can be taken lightly and so we have decided lead is not going to be used in the piece.

lead powderLead is a naturally occurring metal but its natural status doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, lead is extremely toxic to humans and affects the liver, kidneys, reproductive system, and nervous system. [1] Lead exposure can happen quietly and causes permanent problems, especially to the brain. Children are the most at-risk for lead exposure and the worst effects impact motor skills and cognitive impairment. Toxic metal and lead poisoning is a problem in many countries in the world including the United States, Iran, India, and China. Sources of lead exposure really vary which is due in part to the inclusion of lead in many chemicals and products. Occupational exposure is a public health issue everywhere and mine workers, paint factory employees, drivers, and tile makers are just a few occupations that have been identified as higher risk for lead toxicity. [2]

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/toxic-metal-health-dangers-lead/ (06/02/16)

We have set the spine back in the base using the epoxy resin   I twisted in the LED lights to the bulb part of the sculpture and I love the way they look.  I have sprayed the Ikea metal top for the Base in gold and we have measured and put a hole in the middle of the wooden basket base ready to fix to the base and the wire sculptured basket.  I have sprayed the battery box so that it blends into the sculpture as much as possible.

Moving on I still need to spray the spine of the piece and find a way to counter balance the spine and bulb so that it stays in position and doesn’t sway and fix the metal and wooden base with basket fixed on to the base.

After waiting for the Resin to set we attached the sprayed base and the wooden top for the basket to be attached to and then attached the basket with staples. I then attached the bulb part to the spine and was so happy to find that it didn’t sway to the side like it did the first time we tried to use the base. The battery case fits just nicely behind the wire basket in a piece of wire. I cut and bent to wire that were sticking out at the top of the piece and then bent some more wire around the top to finish it.

Although my initial idea was of a vase like structure I am pleased I went off course and decided to go with my heart and let the sculpture take on a form of its own. I am really happy with it, I think it will fit nicely in the space it needs to fit in but I won’t know if the piece will be chosen until tomorrow. If it is then great and if it doesn’t it will look lovely in my house.

Update for Commission piece.

20170124_110614After my last update I was unsure of the way the piece had started to look and I agreed with my mini critique that the bottom looked like a wicker chair. I decided I didn’t like it and wanted to change it because it wasn’t the reaction I wanted. I begun to cut and move the wire and position them in different places to change the form it was sitting in. I wanted it to look more bowl like and that’s what I did. I really liked the two pieces separately but when I had put them together they just didn’t look right.

Because the piece has to fit in a awkward space and needs some height,  I decided to find a way to hang the bulb part of the sculpture. I would have liked to have hung the piece in the unit from fishing wire so that it could have appeared to be floating but it would involve putting a hook in the top of the clients unit and I don’t think they would have liked it. Finding a solution had proved difficult and it was suggested using an old bed spring and copper wire rods to make an arm which I actually liked and decided to spray gold but I would need to find a way to make a base that can balance and hold the arm in place. It was suggested to use an old Ikea lamp base which could be sprayed and a wooden gold sprayed base on the top. Unfortunately I had to extend the arm with another bed spring and more copper rods for the bulb part to hang in the right position but I didn’t mind that. I really want the piece to sit right and I have invested a lot of time in to making it perfect. Using the old Ikea lamp and drilling a hole in the cement to fix it in we sealed the hole with Epoxy Resin and let it set but when we tested the piece the arm of the sculpture kept bending and tilting over so the solution didn’t work.

While deliberating and brainstorming with others in and around the workshop it was suggested by Jamie to try and set the arm in lead using the metal top that was on the Ikea base as a mould which we had removed. and maybe using some lead in the Bulb part of the sculpture to counter balance it. I was shown how this can be done over at the University art studio and Jamie will assist me in doing this tomorrow. Lead is an expensive material and quite a lot will need to be used but as it is a potential Commission piece it is worth investing high quality materials on. The arm of the piece was referred to as the spine by a fellow peer and I really like that so from now on I will refer to it as the spine.

I really hope the suggestion works. Potentially it could work and it will add a professional look to the piece.  The Client is coming in to view it and I only have two days left to complete it. It has been a difficult task trying to design something to fit in a particular space, I hope my measurement’s are correct  and I hope she likes it.




3D Commission update

I have been working on a vessel for a lady specific to the brief to fit in an unusual space. The measurements have now been confirmed.

I  have been trying to make  a base for the vessel to sit on but because it is made of wire I have found that my idea wasn’t stable enough and so as I added more wire  for stability and support the base begun to take a different shape to my original design. I decided to go along with it and see where it takes me.

It has begun to take shape in an unusual contemporary form.  I have never seen anything like it.  I can’t decide at the moment if I like the way its going or if I hate it.

I asked my peers for their take on it. They have deliberated and critiqued and I was told the piece was definitely interesting. The base resembles a wicker chair or the hips of a woman in a Basque with the rounder piece the belly.  It was also mentioned that the base of the piece could be a fruit bowl. I like the reactions I am getting and the honesty.  At the moment I know it is definitely not a finished piece and I won’t stop until I am happy with it.


A New Composition.

I have decided to take parts of the ‘design for a pendant’ image and rearrange the composition to fit a square of Lino for a print. Folding various photocopies of the different sized designs and deciding where to put them in my arrangement.

I used a black sharpie and traced the images onto the Lino. I liked the design so much that I thought I would make the most of it before I cut into it and so i took as many photographs in as best light as possible. I then decided to colour the Lino in with coloured metallic sharpies.

I photographed the last image on a wooden table to see the effect if the image had been painted onto wood.

I will be taking some photographs in the studio and showing how the image translates onto the wall as shadows before cutting into it and producing the design in plaster and print. I have also started another Lino which I will be cutting into.

I hope to use the black and white images and transfer them to a screen print.

Laser cutting and the making rooms experience.

The Making Rooms has an Epilog Helix 24 60w CO2 Laser Cutter for high-quality engraving and cutting of wood, acrylics, plastics, stone, and much more. http://makingrooms.org/equipment/laser-cutter/

I decided to make my first visit to The Making rooms in Blackburn so that I could produce my Design of a pendant in Acrylic on a smaller scale at 10cm which is about the size the pendant would be if it had been a formed piece

. The Making Rooms is a Independent community interest company and open to the public 2 days a week where businesses, artists, inventors, students, children and just about everyone can come and use the facilities and Technology available. Its a place where creativity, technology and advanced manufacturing come together in a community facility for use to design and make anything from high-tech products and gadgets to toys, artworks, home decorations and t-shirts.

I was interested in using the Laser cutter for my work as the laser cutter is fast and accurate so can cut or engrave extremely intricate designs so it was perfect to engrave and cut out the design for a pendant. On entering the making rooms building I was met by Julia who was very welcoming and she showed me around and went through the health and safety rules and responsibilities and introduced me to the rest of the team. I had to sign and agree to share my project on a website so that others may learn from it.  I went through my ideas with Julia and she was quick to set me up on a computer. The laser cutter works from Acrobat .pdf files which can be saved from any 2D vector graphics software such as Inkscape, Corel Draw, or Adobe Illustrator. Lines which require cutting (vectors) need to be 0.01mm thick and shapes that need engraving (rastering) must be bigger than 0.25mm

I needed to prepare my image on Inkscape and it was quite time consuming but I did have an intricate piece to work on and it was my first time. Julia showed me how to do colour mapping
Colour mapping is a function that maps (transforms) the colours of one (source) image to the colours of another (target) image. A colour mapping may be referred to as the algorithm that results in the mapping function or the algorithm that transforms the image colours. Colour mapping is also sometimes called colour transfer or, when grayscale images are involved, ( brightness transfer function )https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_mapping)

I had to adjust my images size in places as the pieces on the design were so intricate and fine that they would have just snapped.

When the image was ready to print it was important to select the correct details into the Laser printer.

Vectoring/cutting – I used 3mm Black, White and Clear Acrylic.. The black acrylic speed needed to be set at 25 with 100% power and 5000HZ frequency.

File-Print-Properties-‘Combined’ for Rastering and Vectoring.

Colour Mapping….Full Red=(R:255 G:0 B:0)   True Blue (R:0 G:0 B:255) Speed 90, Power 20, DPI 600.

Vectoring/cutting White Acrylic and Clear Acrylic 30 speed, 100 power and 5000HZ frequency.

I had to repeat the vectoring for the clear Acrylic to cut the outline again as the first time it didn’t work and I didn’t want it to snap which it is quite easy to do with the details being so fine.

The acrylic I used were from off cuts/ scraps of materials left to use and a donation was made. I was there all day but it was so worth it and the support I got from Julia was exceptional. I am so happy with the results and will definitely be visiting again soon and i recommend it to everyone to give it a try. Visit  http://blackburnisopen.co.uk/spaces/the-making-rooms/


next time I would like to see the results working with other materials such as wood or fabric. I would also like to try the 3D printer because that looks amazing.





Design for a pendant… playing with scale.

I have completed my wire sculptures of the Rabbit and birds and wanted to create a back drop for the sculptures which I hope to elevate from the ceiling in front of it,  Using the Design for a pendant printed on acetate and a projector I was able to produce a drawing of the design in pencil on a much larger scale. I have never used a projector and acetate like that before and I felt a little bit like I was cheating at first.

The projector was an old school projector and the image was quite blurry the further I took it back but I needed to do this to make the image large enough for a backdrop drawing so I used the projected image as a guide for positioning and referred to the original image as I went along to bring the drawing together.

I am really pleased with it, although I had not realised at the time that I had begun to draw the image that my projection was reversed until I begun to add the outline for the rabbits ears. I didn’t mind this to much though as it shows some variation and diversity in the creation and something to learn from. I had thought about turning the image into a large scale Tarot card but I don’t want to upset the drawing, so my tutor suggested there may still be time to do that using the image to create a large scale mono print so that I can have a body of work exploring other materials rather than a final finished piece.

I am moving on to do a Lino of one of the sections of the Design for a pendant to cast it with plaster. I am thinking about Lino printing onto fabric or a cushion cover as well. I am going to visit the making rooms today and explore laser cutting and 3D printing.