rings


WG show invite june 2016My mum, a former nurse and midwife, is a constant source of amusement for the whole family, with her clear ideas on celebrity drugs (‘I just want a happy death’), keen interest in UKIP, and dirty humour when it comes to talking about the body. Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 13.40.52She has been a brilliant model to film over the past two years: a natural actress who loves having the camera listen to her radical views. Getting older and weaker has made her more inventive, more resilient and resourceful. Even though the journey to see my dad in the care home is a four hour return trip, and her vision and balance is ropey, she will still plug into her ipod, hop on the bus and enjoy the ride. Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 10.47.42She definitely has the balls. So, I made her a ring with a pair of balls which she gleefully refers to as Mao’s testicle ring (she misheard me when I said I’d made a ring with mouse testicles).  pendulous ring The above is a 3D file which was then printed on a 3D printer in wax. This was then attached to a ‘tree’ for casting in silver. Most of the rings I’ve been making over the past couple of years are hand-built and carved out of wax, so working with a 3D printed model is a new departure.IMG_1221IMG_1713 1As she has also survived breast cancer, I made her a breast ring too, which is meant to be worn with the nipple fitting snugly in the palm of the hand.IMG_2532_e_breast ringOnce I got into the idea of rings as trophies of desirable or missing body parts I couldn’t stop making them. Here is the bush ring. IMG_2503_bush ring_eThe film I made of my parents, Stoke Junkie, alongside more rings, books and prints will be displayed at the Royal College of Art Sculpture building, 15-25 Howie Street, Battersea, SW11 4AS from 26 June to 3 July. 12–8pm every day (apart from closed on 1 July). Drop me a line if you can make it! I’d love to show you around.

If you can’t make it, the film can be viewed at low res on vimeo here https://vimeo.com/170349107 (sorry the sound quality is not great)

And the trailer is here https://vimeo.com/168034112

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I’ve always been fascinated by jewellery, and working the The Royal Mint has made me think more about precious metals, so I thought I would explore lost wax silver casting techniques last year.

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I’d made a few rings when I was studying in Osaka in 1999 so I used these to make some rubber moulds. These could be injected with warm liquid wax: once cooled they could be customised. I experimented with adding to the form with blobs of wax that came out of the machine, and also carving away with a woodblock tool.

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The completed wax rings had to be stuck to a wax tree, which was then entirely covered in plaster. The wax was melted out, and the plaster put into a fancy machine that poured molten silver into the empty tree spaces. This is what comes out: a dark grey lump of rings attached to the tree like branches. It takes about an hour per ring to file off the stalks, smooth out the edges and polish each one up to the familiar shiny silver finish that we see in the shops.

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I made 12 rings at a time, and loved the fun of playing with the shapes and forms.

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This is one of my favourites: it’s a kind of distorted cube. The one below I gave my sister for Christmas: called the milk splash. I’ve loads more ideas I’d like to try, so look forwards to experimenting more…

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