Friday, 20 July 2012


New project: I am going to make effects pedals from scratch.
I am interested in how things work, how I can modify them to suit. As soon I got an autoharp, I took it apart and fashioned some new chord bars to go in it, which turned out to be very simple. Although after I did this I found out that it was commonplace to change the chord bars in this way! Still, I learned the mechanics of the instrument and I also made it better for my needs.
Making a pedal from scratch is a little trickier though, and will require some help from my electronically minded father. I am hoping to make something a little like this...
...but with less nuts. I plan to go around a few charity/junk shops to find some interesting objects in which to house all the electronic bits. As for the electronics, I found some circuitry on the interwebs which look a little like this...
 ...which is all jargon to me just now. It will take some time before I have any results to show you, but I may begin by taking apart some old pedals. And seeing as I have never used any pedals before, I will probably buy my 'first' one; this dan electro tremolo pedal which I am assured is quality though it is non expensive:

I will keep you posted...

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Been doing some new drawings, so thought I'd snazz up an old vest with one. Wanted to make a high contrast line pattern, white on black. First is my initial drawing, and then the vest, onto which I painted (poorly, haha) with a posca pen dipped in white fabric paint. Most of the fabric paint came off in the wash but it's quite a nice faded grey now, very subtle and lovely. I shall employ the skills of a screenprinter next time.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

degree shows 2012

It is/has been degree show time for 2012, and I have been on (what is becoming) my annual tour of the Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow degree shows. Looking mostly at Fine Art I saw some very interesting shows.
Got to thinking that the Glasgow and Edinburgh colleges need to do away with the sub categories in Fine Art and just leave it to the students to label themselves with 'photographer' or 'sculptor' or whatever.
Anyway, a few of my favourites who have websites are listed below. I'll not try to describe or critique them like I did last time, just enjoy the images.

Kirsty Mckeown  -

Tim Sandys  -

Anna Bruce  -

Magnus Eriksen  -

 Ben Cocker  -

Couldn't actually get any images for the artist Alex H Millar, but a beautiful little show was put on at the GSofA, which you can see here  -

Nicola Brennan  -

Xiao Wang  -

Another artist whose pics I couldn't get was Emma Ewan, whose work I found very emotive, and other-worldy. You can see it here  -

Thursday, 26 January 2012

vintage restoration

I recently bought an old accordion cheaply off of eBay and now I am going to restore it. It is an 'Alvari Italia' which is a brand and model that I am having trouble finding reliable information about.
One internet source claims that Alvari was a company popular in the 1930's, but went out of buisness by the 1950's. Another story tells that Alvari instruments are Chinese knock-offs, cheaply made and poor in quality. The Black Diamond Accordion website says that some modern Chinese accordions have bogus Italian sounding names, i.e. anything with an 'i' on the end of it, but that they are still good instruments.
Most worringly, the general internet chatter on forums about Alvari instruments is that they are crap. But I'm still hoping to bring it back to life and get a bit of use out of it, having never played a piano-keyed accordion I'm curious about whether or not I would like to buy a new one. And those badboys don't come cheap! I'd best stick with my little piece of 'junk' for now.

I have already begun cleaning it:

And if all else fails, I can throw it up on a shelf and make it a conversation piece.  

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

new year, new wool...

Got some new wool, fresh off the spindle...

Inspired by Kaffe Fassett's range of Regia sock yarn called 'Moor',  I am now knitting up a scarfy/cowl type of thing with it. More photos to follow...