AA2A my catalyst for more learning

I was a bit thrown by the reading week at Uni. I hadn’t realised that it was on until Andy, the technician, mentioned that he would be off on holiday. I could have gone into the foundry towards the end of the week when the other technician, Sue, was in but as it turned out my dad was ill so I had to dash up to Scotland.

So back from Scotland (my dad is now on the mend) and suddenly it was my children’s school half term so things got busy here at home. I also had my other hat on and was leading felting workshops with children with disabilities. Wool is a completely different material from steel.

When I did get back in the foundry I started to make the base of my piece (working title Desperate Dan Pie). 

I have decided to make the frame in two halves- a base and a top. This is so that when upholstered it is easier to transport. I have worked out how I will attach the pieces - the bottom, top and the piece of vintage milking machine -once in a gallery setting. 

I need to think about all these things now before it’s too late.

Using what I’d learnt from Richard Bett in Lincoln making the base was much easier than I had expected. Only a bit tricky setting the rings up and trying my best to get them centred (see photos).

With just 8 support spines it didn’t look right and also as these were in the thinner 6mm rod I decided to add in more spines. Now with 24 spines I am happier.


I decided that this was the time to transport the ‘pie’ back to my studio at home. Too big to go in my car I strapped it to the roof of my husband’s van. Once upholstered all this transportation will be more difficult. I wonder about artists who work on a much larger scale, for example Joana Vasoncelos. 

But at least I am working larger. I am pushing beyond the comfort of making works that can be transported in a car.

The other reason to bring the ‘pie’ home now is that I need to use my angle grinder to trim some protruding rods. 

This has been one of the most awkward aspects of working in metal at university. Recently the angle grinder has been recategorised and is now deemed too dangerous for students or visiting artists to use. Maybe I am being fussy as these ragged edges will be covered in fabrics but not being able to use an angle grinder alongside the welder is frustrating. 

Ask any metal worker and they will say that an angle grinder is to welding what a steam iron is to dressmaking. It is a tool that people usually use throughout the welding/fabrication process.

This week I also had a day of welding tuition with artist and metal sculptor Jack Russell. I travelled to the Rural Skills Centre (at the Royal Agricultural College near Cirencester) to do this day course.

I had booked it ages ago and so in the event I didn’t learn as much as I’d hoped. But it was good to see how other artists work. 

Jack works from photographs, drawings on paper and  designing as he makes. He doesn’t use any software such as Rhino in his practice.

I also broadened my welding skills on this day by opting to use the stick/ arc welder. I can definitely say that it’s quite a bit harder to use than a MIG welder.

So far as well as making new work the AA2A placement has acted as a catalyst. It has forced me to seek advice and tuition.


The technicians at Coventry university have been helpful and I have had some tuition from Richard Bett in Lincoln and Jack Russell in Cirencester. I have also been attending an evening class in Rhino at the Birmingham School of Jewellery. Now in week 4 of the 8 week course. I am REALLY enjoying it. 

Now I need to get on with the Rhino drawing for my third large frame.

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