Sunday, July 12, 2020

'Time Lord's Sundial'

I've got to thank an old friend, David Wentz, for that title...

About a week ago, I posted up an image of an older piece of mine on to Facebook. I try to temper my frustration with how social media is reflecting social concerns (badly!) with regularly posting up old images from my attempts as a photographer and 'promotional' images of past work.

'Celts at the Gates - Shield and Spears' 2008

Now, I am quite proud of that piece. And also extremely happy with this image of that piece. The echo of the curves as shadows.

There was some back and forth comments from folks who caught the posting on Facebook : (1)

Something started cooking, spawned from the back and forth from Kathryn Chiasson and David.
(stick with me here)

Way back in 2017, I attended a design workshop by Adrian Legge of the UK. (2)

As part of the process, we each selected two or three images out of a group of '25 images that inspire you' to work with.
This was one of the images I chose to develop further ideas from :

False colour image of trails in a cloud chamber (poached from Discover magazine)

Those who are familiar with my personal 'Rivendale' style, can certainly see the connection here.
In the workshop, part of the design task was first selecting elements from the source image to develop further:

From my drawing book at the workshop

You can clearly see that my years as a working blacksmith lead me to get ahead of the intended exercise. I had jumped straight to 'how to make it', rather than simply 'playing with the lines' as had been intended. (Actually to the third step in the exercise)

What Adrian had actually wanted us to do was go from 'inspired lines' to 'outline an object':

'Star-Dial' concept drawing

So I had to pull back - seen above is one of three (quite) different possible objects we were tasked to draft, working from our earlier selected element roughs. (The other two objects I proposed were a desk lamp and a wall fixture.) This was certainly the most divergent concept from my normal work for me, both in terms of type, and scale.

You can get the general intent here. Two fairly massive spars, each pierced with aligned holes, holding up a constructed arch, also pierced. There is a more elaborate central construction, holding in place a glass disk. Below this all is a set of carefully placed stone slabs. You can see the intended scale, the arch extending 15 - 20 feet, set 8 - 10 overhead.
The combination of central disk and markings / variations in the stones would act as either a seasonal marker, or alternately as a sun dial. There was the possibility that holes punched in the uprights could be aligned to work as a night-time star finder (as another seasonal marker).
Part of the inspiration here was the juxtaposition of the the lines from that ultra modern cloud chamber instrument, pushed backwards to our most ancient of measuring devices like Stonehenge.

I think you can see the connection between Kathryn's idea and David's title.
The initial 'Star-Dial' concept is unlikely to ever go past these roughs. To develop it further, considerable research into sun and stars would be required. The scale of the object means actually making it would only prove feasible as a major public sculpture commission. The details of design would most certainly be very site specific.

The more recent suggestion by Kathryn and David might also be explored. This might prove both reduced in scale, and a bit simpler to lay out and install. The potential of marking shadows over a surface with irregular shapes or curves would be interesting.
Something based on Victorian clock mechanisms crossed with Celtic la Tene comes to mind...

In case any of you were wondering 'Where do Ideas come from'?

1) In the past, I have been at times extremely open in terms of my linkages on Facebook. I was originally extremely skeptical about the value of Facebook. Some people I know have had extremely good results, in terms of promoting their work, even generating commissions or sales. I started both personal and work related (Wareham Forge and Norse Encampment) pages on this platform as a means of illustrating what I do. I regularly cross link the postings from this blog back to FB entries.
As it stands right now, my 'friends' list sits at just over 600, my 'followed' total at about 130. The majority of these are at best folks I may have some loose shared connection to (Blacksmiths, Re-enactors). Most are not actual friends, meaning people I know well or even in passing.

2) For an overview of my participation in that workshop - see the earlier blog posting:

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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