Sunday 4 March 2012


Here's a new direction.

At the moment I feel that I've found my new Thing.  The last project benefited hugely from the decision to make an altarpiece.  It got me excited, defined the project and made me work towards a physical product.  That was my Thing for that project.

In my final project I've been foundering for a good method; wondering whether or not I have time to learn any new techniques.  On top of that I hadn't done much background research yet, so I felt rather stuck.  How was I to make the project physical without going over the top and trying to build a model of the old town?

Then I remembered brass-rubbing.  Just as any castle, cathedral or museum is improved immeasurably by the inclusion of a model, hands-on brass rubbing has always been a draw.  Last Saturday I went to Winchester.  Of course, the cathedral is full of monumental brasses; and the city museum has giant copies of coins and a little stack of paper and crayons.  It was simple fun.

During the week I tried out etching deep into zinc plates to make a rubbable image.  The process has everything that I want:  the fun part of etching (HOT BUBBLING ACID) and none of the messing about with ink.  Yesterday I went down to Northam, an industrial part of town, and found a sheet metal company.  The man had an offcut of brass and I followed him through the workshop and up a flight of stairs into a little office to pay.  Now I have a sheet of brass and a list of experiments for Monday:  etching in; etching right through; mounting in on wood with screws or glue; drawing with varnish in a pipette; soldering; polishing...

I am definitely excited.


Brass-rubbing in black on white.  My interactive final show could look like this. (From MBS Brasses)

Brass-rubbing in gold on black. (From Celtic Stitchery's Westminster Abbey collection)

A lovely brass of St. Nicholas, from Lübeck.  (From the St. Nicholas Center)

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