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Bird necklace 1

seaglass necklace

The ultimate purpose of making these necklaces was to create meaningful gifts for two people close to me. The secondary purpose was to explore the materials and learn by solving problems as I went along.


The bird is a chunkier remake of a mother-of-pearl necklace I have had since I was a child. I was interested in how it might represent flying into the cold unknown of the sky, and that the pursuit of freedom can lead to peace and the finding of a true path. It is made of an offcut of purple heart wood, a tiny remnant of my dad’s bow-making.

The glass was collected by my grandfather. When we cleared my grandparents’ house, an icecream tub of stones was found in the loft. The majority are small pebbles which appear to have been selected from beaches for their aesthetic qualities, along with some specimen stones which have been purchased. I pick up stones all the time, but I did not know my grandfather also did this.


The wood was sawn, filed and sanded. I had previously developed a way of working on aluminium- would it transfer well? Yes. I was able to create the shape very quickly. The grain of the wood creates a surprise feathered effect. I visited my dad’s workshop to ask about techniques for polishing wood, and he directed me to a buffing wheel used in a pillar drill. I enjoyed the tranformation of the surface of the wood: both the texture and the colour changed dramatically.

After I had made the bird, I marked up the remainder- could I squeeze two more birds from the offcut? No. I discovered this during the cutting- this was a false economy as the tiny piece of wood broke along the grain.

Securing the glass with silver was a process of trial and error. One side of the glass had a slight notch- would this be enough to prevent wrapping from sliding off? My preference was for a soft material- a circular plait made from very fine cord and tightened around the glass. However the notch was too shallow and this slid off: a more rigid, resistant material was needed. The wire worked well, but I was concerned the metal would fatigue at stress points. This was solved by adding a chain link to put the necklace cord through, rather than creating a loop from the wire itself. The problem of how to finish the wrapping was solved through use of a silver crimp. This looks unusual but decorative- I feel it adds balance.

Crossness Engines House

crossness engines house 1

Continuing the screen printing inspired explorations, I developed some images from photos taken in a London Open House visit to Crossness Engines House. Victorian cast ironwork and machinery, some lavishly painted. I enjoyed the challenge of working them down to 2 colours in various ways, but in the end I preferred this earlier version.



Bird in flight, street view

Whilst using Google street view to find a parking spot near a gallery, I spotted this bird caught mid-flight. This made me want to (a) track down more birds (that ‘collecting’ urge again- ripe for exploration) and (b) find more artists who are exploiting online mapping as an artistic resource.

Bird richmond rd dalston

More glitchy night pics

longest night 6longest night 4longest night 7

These were taken some time ago, but I remember well being captivated by the snow-covered trees in the dark, then captivated again as they underwent the transformation of the lo-fi camera (which added all the coloured pixels as it attempted to cope with the lack of light.) Same question: are these a product, or part of a process towards a product? How should they be presented or developed?

Sketch of Howard Skempton

howard Skempton

Sketched at a symposium about composing choral music. Mr Skempton was part of a panel discussion and I was interested by his stance and animated hands. I think fine biro is my favourite drawing medium. Small drawings from life like this- are they a finished product? Or part of a process towards a finished product and if so- what should that product be and why? Lots of people must have written about this, or made a case one way or the other with their visual practice- I need to do some research.