An end of frustration?

An end of frustration?

(Another New Studio)

I finished(?) the NHS project after quite a lot of stress and setbacks. It was still completed on time but I had far less time in the studio.

The interruption of the sculpture project has left me a little non-plussed about the direction of my work and how to find ways forward against the pressure of completion. Ideas reach fruition and then need to be rendered physical when the desire or drive to create is spinning off in its own directions. Today I read an article about Michael Raedecker on Artspace where he says

Inspiration can come at the most unusual moments; riding on a bus or reading a book. But most of the time you just have to work for it,” he tells Artspace. “Sitting down, making sketches, browsing in catalogues, looking at images, and letting the intelligence of the work guide the selection.”

Its the obviousness of the statement that woke me up, making begets making, so the only way to know what to make is to make.

Earlier in the week I went to see “The Weight of Words” at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.

Leaving aside the lack of overall context beyond the the declaration that the, very broad, selection of artists explore the overlap between sculpture and poetry, the exhibition inevitably questions the very nature of what sculpture is. The works in the exhibition are interesting, poignant and thoughtful in all sorts of ways, they are also often flat, digital projections, printed, photographed and less often strictly three dimensional. The lack of context serves to expand the possibilities of the precept at the heart of the overlap between sculpture and poetry and made me wonder where the notion of concrete poetry sits in relation to this selection of work. The website is very good and the exhibition is on until November so I might go again.

An end of frustration?

two apples with shadow

When I did get in I worked on apples drawing, adding strong shadows from the studio window.

An end of frustration?

large rose painted out

I also kept working on the big roses drawing, finally whiting it all out and then adding a drawing of Old English Roses

Old English Roses 120923

Each step of the process has taken more thinking than necessary as I was really disgruntled by the way the lemniscate impinged on everything else I wanted to do.

Old English Roses 120923 addition of red shadows

So after the first drawing I added the red shadows onto the edges of the flowers and then darkened the shadows.

Old English Roses 120923 darkening shadows

The drawing was left for a good few days after this stage.

Old English Roses 150923 white highlights

I had a short window to get back into the space and added some white highlights to the flower heads.

An end of frustration?

Old English Roses 220923 darker shadows

And then thought about using some stronger colours. So I blacked out the shadows and darkened some areas again but it still wasn’t defined enough.

Old English Roses 220923 stronger colours

So on my next visit, the 22nd September with the lemniscate out of the way completely I took some oil paints in to use to give the roses much more body. That’s where we are so far. Finished?


I’ve ditched Twitter, one too many Musks, but I’ve started to post on Threads as well as instagram.

I’ve continued to draw every day;

The August drawings can be seen here

and the July images here

There is a link to the previous month’s Gallery on each page.

The drawings are posted to Threads and Instagram each day.


“Isn’t it supposed to be green?”

“Isn’t it supposed to be green?”

NHS Barnsley

Lemniscate sculpture July 23rd – September 18th 2023.

On 23rd July 2023 the Barnsley Facilities Services office followed up on an email from 23rd January 2023 confirming that we were ready to proceed with manufacture as soon as we were paid. Their email stated that they thought the order had been raised earlier, said we would have it tomorrow and could we finish in time for Organ Donation Week which is 19th September 2023. I replied that To answer your question, if I start now and everything goes well then yes, 18th September is achievable. I’ve got enough kit to start work on the build but I will need the money to buy the silicon and the resin within the next three weeks. I can’t start literally straight away as I’m away until Monday 31st.

The last time I referred to this project, or illustrated it was in this blog post – ‘Gardens Project 12: First Post in Three Months’

building the lemniscate


This is a step by step guide to how it happened. I started earlier than I said as I had some materials. This is the first stage of the lemniscate on a wire frame wrapped in mesh and cotton scrim.

"Isn't it supposed to be green?"



I continued to build up the layers to around 100mm girth and balance the shape, but pressures of time meant I couldn’t take the form apart and rebuild the parts that weren’t perfect. I had to build it as close as I could and then sand it back.

"Isn't it supposed to be green?"

finishing (somewhat earlier than ideal)


After a week of adding and sanding I’d reached this form and I had to accept that this was it for the master.

“Isn’t it supposed to be green?”

I am still trying to get in to the studio as often as possible

Beginning the mould making


So I coated it with release agent, and Vaseline eventually. I use clay walls and laid the plaster on to about 25mm thickness. I decided that if I made the mould as three sections around the circumference I’d avoid problems with removing it.

Turning the mould


The next day I turned the piece over and repeated the process with the second run of mouldings.

The finished mould


A couple of days later I applied the final layer.

marking up for removal


And after a day drying, nowhere near long enough, I marked up the mould and

“Isn’t it supposed to be green?”

back to the original


Took the sections off.

the numbered and marked sections


In the end there were 23 parts to the mould. If I’d been a bit braver I might have reduced this to an even dozen. Hindsight is marvellous.

fixing the mould together


So then I put the mould back together after the parts were vaselined for release. This was a pain as the markings disappeared as the mould wasn’t dry enough.

the assembled mould


But here is the hollow mould on the 27th August. I’m awaiting delivery of the resin I was able to order on the 25th when I got payment.

plastering the gaps


On the 30th the resin arrived, and extra plaster so I was able to finish the exterior to prevent leaks.

turning the mould


The mould had to be turned to facilitate this and the process took about 2.5 hrs.

ready for the pour


The lemniscate upended to allow for resin pouring. The pour was made in three parts, the first 15kg over around an hour when there were small leaks around some lower joints. Plaster of Paris was applied to seal these and the mould was left for 45 minutes to allow the resin to reach gel consistency. Then the next 20kg of resin was poured and the process with small leaks was repeated. After another hour, around 4:45 pm the last pour of about 10kg was made. A small amount of Plaster was again used to close a couple of small leaks.

the ‘workshop’


The “workshop” with the lemniscate covered and used resin containers in the background.

the mould is full


The hardened resin at the top of the mould at 8pm on the 31st August. The lemniscate is covered and the resin left to cure for five days.

“Isn’t it supposed to be green?”

building the plinth


Building the plinth

the top of the plinth


The plinth comes in two parts and the lemniscate will be secured by the two aluminium posts on the top. I have the feeling it’s too tall.

the broken original


The original lemniscate was being used as the test piece for the top of the plinth so I could place the holes to secure it. Unfortunately it broke into three pieces before I could test it.

fixing the original


Obviously I still needed to test the positioning of the lemniscate so I have to repair the original. This image shows two of the three pieces placed together ready to be fixed, you can see the connector piece on the left and just about see the break on the extreme left at about 10 o’clock.

cleaning the cracks


A close up view of the break on the left of the photograph above.

fastening the third break


The third piece of the broken lemniscate ready to be fastened. You can see the repair to the right hand side of this break that needed fixing before the whole piece was tied in.

the completed original


The three pieces tied together and left to set. I used plaster of plaster for these with a low water mix for strength and cotton scrim to bind it together. The picture is distorted as as I had to hold the camera above my head to get it all in even with the phone zoomed out as far it would go.


"Isn't it supposed to be green?"

releasing the cast

“Isn’t it supposed to be green?”


The lemniscate coming out of the mould. The mould failed in several places, you can see the spots of plaster stuck to the body at the top left and the mid right. Also the broken broken mould at top right.

While all this was going on I was also visiting the studio, just not as often as I would have liked.

the three pieces fressh from the destroyed mould


The lemniscate almost fully released and in three pieces with very large cast marks where the mould failed to match accurately.

plaster cleaned off


The three pieces of the lemniscate after a first wash. The breaks are pretty much face to face, there are no air gaps, so I should be able to fit the pieces together and fix with epoxy.

grinding the three sections


The cast marks were ground off the separate pieces while I worked out what to do to tie them together.

fixing the breaks


The fixing process for the three pieces, metal rods are drilled into the sections fixed with clear epoxy.

"Isn't it supposed to be green?"

the assembled cast


The three sections fixed together, the epoxy will cure overnight and the piece should be ready for polishing.

cleaned, and a first polish


The lemniscate after a first polish and the removal of the excess rebar.

“Isn’t it supposed to be green?”

the workshop – the aftermath


The aftermath in the working space as I move back closer to the house.

"Isn't it supposed to be green?"

the reduced plinth


The plinth with the lighting solution being installed.

“Isn’t it supposed to be green?”


“Isn’t it supposed to be green?”

This is why I really don’t like commissions, there is a apparently a requirement for the piece to be green as this is integral to the original design. I had no idea that this was the case and found out on Friday, the 8th September, so now it will be green. It will be a bit more of a sap green than the viridian above.

"It's supposed be green isn't it?"

sanding and polishing as much as possible in the limited time available


Sanding the piece as smooth as possible in the limited time available.

"Isn't it supposed to be green?"



Now, it is green, having searched through six year old emails I found the relevant design sheet.

Victoria Hardman’s design sheet


I have a note somewhere about displaying the figure of eight horizontally so people would recognize it as infinity, but it just hadn’t registered that ‘green’ was referring to the colour and the eco credentials.

Isn't it supposed to be green

plinth with original top


The final part of the project was to fix the plinth so that light shines up onto the lemniscate.

Interestingly the support tubes on the plinth above are 540mm apart.

cured lemniscate


The posts fixed to the lemniscate here are 530mm apart. The resin continues to cure and the piece has contracted by 10mm over the past week. So this meant I needed to make a new top for the plinth.

"Isn't it supposed to be green?"

Organ Donation Memorial for NHS Barnsley


This is the final piece with the new top and lights fitted, all that remained was for the lemniscate to be given a coat of lacquer to seal the colour.



Circles Films

Circles Films

(Another New Studio)

Over the last fortnight I set up the installation area, for the moment a projection room, and played around with using both projectors each throwing to a different wall.

While I was playing with the projections I also produced the first piece of work I’ve made in the studio. A drawing of the birds nest I found when the neighbours trimmed the hedge.

circles films

first drawing in the new studio

A simple charcoal drawing on heavy paper. I made a polycam model of the nest itself

Then later made an AR test with the downloaded obj file. The obj, or format of your choice, can be downloaded here.

I wanted to break up the projected images in the installation and decided to make some large circles to to hang in front of the screens. The images below use a projection of the geranium project film and a new red film made from camera trap captures that came out in shades of red, played in sequence and on a loop.

Circles Films

Red Circles from the right

Circles Films

The geranium film projected onto the large circles

Doing so meant I emptied my portfolio so I displayed the Durer’s solid drawings that are in progress.

Circles Films

The Durer’s Solid drawings displayed in the studio

The video felt too small in the space and I wanted to complicate the surface so I used both projectors and set them with the films overlapping by about two thirds of their width. I added in a line of smaller circles cutting across the space.

Circles Films

Both projectors in the installation overlapping

I have a Vimeo Showcase of film snatches and a longer, 15 min film

There is a gallery page of stills from the  videos

And that’s as far as I’ve got