Two Landscapes [July 2005]

camera lenses, camera parts, rusted painted metal disc, hematite, aluminium
given to Rie Yoshihara, 29th Oct 2006.

Another old favourite, this piece came together out of camera parts, and a rusty painted metal disc I found on the road. The amazing rusty bubbling paint on it has so much detail and texture, and I found it very evocative. It looked like a landscape to me, hence the name of the piece.

I like that it can be worn with either face showing.

I took this piece to Japan with me during my 2006 visit. While there, I went to a wonderful gig put together to showcase visiting musicians from one of my favourite labels, 12k. The event was held at Ryodenji temple, in the outskirts of Tokyo.

One of the unexpected highlights of the evening for me was seeing a group called "Trico!" play.

At the time, I wrote this in my travel blog:

"For me, the big surprise of the evening were "Trico!" (pronounced Toh-Ree-Coh) - A duo of guy on double bass, and a woman who played accordion, toy piano, harmonium and also sang. Their whimsical warmth and brilliant musicianship gently knocked me off my feet. Very deeply moved."

The woman was Rie Yoshihara.  I was wearing Two Landscapes that evening, and it immediately felt right to offer it to her as a way thanking her for the wonderful performance.

I went backstage, and eventually found myself talking to her, and gave it to her.  Some confusion at first, but I got across the language/culture difference and she was very happy to receive the gift.  Even without that difference, having someone offer you something, no strings attached like that must seem odd - but a gift in return for a gift - my work as thanks for the gift of her performance, seemed completely right and natural to me at the time, and has gone on to become quite a significant idea to me.

The Path [July 2009]

madake bamboo, lens, aluminium, hard drive case, 18ct gold
for Richard Chenhall

This piece was commissioned by Richard, a fellow shakuhachi player and friend.  He wanted something with bamboo, So i started by selecting the bamboo (a piece actually cut from a section of a damaged shakuhachi flute) and a lens that was the right size, and then shaping the bamboo ring and fitting the lens.

Once this was done, I could 'mock up' various possible internals. I showed a couple to Richard, and he liked the way it was going. I settled on an interesting detail cut from the stainless steel case of a certain model old computer hard drive - a labyrinthine pressure relief system. Stainless is pretty tough, and I broke a good half dozen fine sawblades cutting it down.

An aluminium hard drive platter spacer ring was cut down to provide something i could tap a hole into for the attachment bolt, and also as a binding to prevent the bamboo from splitting due to changes in humidity. The ball that I fitted into the hole in the labyrinth started off as a brass ball bearing, but I wanted this piece to be a bit special, so I tried to find a gold stud earring that fit in the hole. No luck, but a local jeweller was happy to make me up an 18ct gold ball the right size.

It was tricky machining the outer ring so thin - the lazy way would have been to leave it thicker, but I wanted to expose a ring of the bamboo between it and the inner part - a nice detail for the back of the piece.

n+1 [June 2009]

clock gears, ball bearing, brass ring, lens, garlic press, aluminium, camera part, text

This piece floated around my desk half finished for a long time, wating for just the right part to come along to use as the attachment point.  I could have used any old thing and had it finished ages ago, but I like this piece a lot, and didn't want to compromise.  So it waited a long time, and eventually the right piece turned up.

The brass ring was originally from a 35mm SLR camera lens, part of the focus mechanism.  The lens likewise.  The gears came from an old clock, and the back (not visible) is black anodised aluminium, cut from the case of a computer hard drive.  The attachment piece came out of another old camera, held in place by a tiny screw.  My favourite part has got to be the internal aluminium plate with holes in it.  Scratched and beaten up, it came out of an old garlic press!  The text peeking through the bottom three holes came from an old mathematics textbook on recursion sequences.

Boid [June 2005]

camera gear, mother of pearl, aluminium, lens, printed text on paper, copper washer, titanium

Boid came out of finding a small gear in a camera mechanism that was clearly a bird.
A nice fat concave lens with a chamfered edge required an aluminium ring to be machined to fit it. A copper washer became a wire to perch on, and a piece of mother of pearl became the sky. Below is a picture of boid in an early form.

The text visible is from an old mathematics textbook. I was trying out different things before I decided to print up my own text and use it. The text that I eventually settled on is a quote from a text called the Genjōkōan, written by Eihei Dōgen, a 13th century Japanese zen teacher of considerable note (founder of the Sōtō school of zen), and whose writings I'm a big fan of.

Here is what the final version looked like half assembled:

the mother of pearl has been polished up and attached to the bottom of two aluminium rings, which has had three grooves cut in it to take the three clips I made from titanium that hold the front half of the piece together. The copper washer has been cut and attached, and the text printed and cut to fit the chamfer on the lens. (calculating the radius of the circle the text is printed on was fun, games and a bit of trial and error!)

The mother of pearl backing is semi-transparent, which is lovely, when you hold the piece up to the light. This piece has always been a favourite of mine, but I let a friend talk me into selling it. An appropriately Zen lesson in non-attachment ;)

Bamboo Joint [July 2009]

30mm x 9mm. Bamboo, lens, camera parts, rubber, metal mesh, aluminum

Bamboo Joint is so called, because it is made from a section of bamboo cut from the joint part of the lower half of a Shakuhachi flute. No actual flutes were harmed during the making of this piece. My friend Tom Deaver, a Shakuhachi flute maker from Nagano prefecture in Japan, gave me some 'reject' half finished flutes last time I was there.

The joint of the flute is made by reaming out the bore of the bottom section of the flute, and gluing in a piece of smaller diameter bamboo that has been precisely turned down to fit. the insert sticks out by a few centimetres, and fits into a matching reamed out section in the top part of the flute when the flute is assembled.

The double-ring of bamboo visible in this piece is because it was cut from the section of flute where the insert is glued in place.

It uses parts from two identical watches, including the synthetic ruby watch jewels, along with a salvaged camera lens, rubber from a bike tyre inner tube (the black visible behind the camera parts), fine wire mesh (similar to what you find in a coffee press), and a machined out computer hard disk drive platter spacer ring.

The platter spacer serves to hold the back on, and also prevents the bamboo from splitting from changes in humidity.

the attachment point is a tiny cross drilled stainless steel socket-head screw. The piece is a similar size to most of my pieces - about the size of an australia 20c piece.