Thursday, August 29, 2013


One of the difficult tasks on my Eden iris today, fixing the pivots. These 20mm diameter tubes need to be exactly in the middle and exactly vertical, so how to do it?

At first I thought I'd drill an 18mm hole then sand around the rim, gently expanding the hole until I got a perfect tight fit. I used a blade drill, here:

I quickly discovered that these wobble and shake the wood horribly. The nice bore type thing (I think it's called a Forstner bit) was much better but I didn't have an 18mm one. Anyway, I realised that I could stop much of the vibration by drilling a big pilot hole first with the biggest drill I could find, that cleared away most of the actual solid wood, making it less effort for the blade to cut a hole.

So, I had an 18mm hole that wasn't quite in the centre (never would be it's impossible to get these things perfect). I took a cylindrical file/rasp and started to finish off the edge. After about 10 mins of mashing the chewy M.D.F. I realised that this was going to take a long time AND probably not work, the wood texture was not ideal for rasping in this way. The end result would almost certainly not be clean or vertical.

I decided a sanding drum would be better, but I didn't have one that was tall enough, so I made one from metal tubes, glueing some sanding drum bits to it...

It was good enough to work, it still rather mashed the edge a bit but was relatively clean. When I'd cleaned out the hole to make it 20mm I found that it was a worse fit than drilling a 20mm hole from the outset!

So there seemed to be no perfect way. I decided to drill a 20mm hole directly instead. There was a gap and wobble, but thought that I could glue the pivot with epoxy resin (or clay) and set it perfectly that way. But how to make sure it was vertical and central?

For centralness (is that a word) I drew rings around the 20mm guide (22mm) and used that as a guide where to place the tube. For verticality I screwed a metal collar to the pipe...

It's deep enough so that the edge of that should be at a right angle to the pipe, so I then fixed that into the hole, clamping the collar to the wood...

And there we are, one pipe that's about as vertical and central as I could get, I think. Time is short so rather than consider infinite possibilities of getting it perfect I went for the best I could think of at the time. Now I'll glue the other six. It will probably take me all day just to attach these seven tubes!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Somewhere Out There

Not a productive day, one of slow steady toil. These past few weeks have been notable for lonely periods, which are good for creativity. The time for more painting is to come. Tonight, a poem came to me.

Somewhere Out There

Somewhere out there is a world, to touch.
Close and ubiquitous.
Humming with people,
emotions, an engine of activity and love.

Somewhere there is a place,
of warmth and comfort.
A web of answers, thoughts,
and liquid perceptions.
Silent peace.
The tears of sleep.

There is something more than surfaces,
and objects,
and temperatures,
and rigid data.
More than words.
More than mere words.
I know it is there,

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Great Being

I'm back to reading philosophy and the discussions about consciousness being an "emergent" property, something that naturally lies above the hum-drum of cellular interactions, like a face inherently "emerges" from patterns of paint in a portrait, inspired me to wonder about the implications.

As a human being we think of ourselves as one being. What is oneness? A feeling of control and influence and feedback. Oneness is communication, and self-awareness. We know what constitutes us by our influence and feedback, control and sense, of our bodies. Our clothes become us when we wear them, without even thinking about it. Our hair doesn't have any feeling to it, not much, but it's still us, if less us than something we can totally feel and control.

Of course, we are not one life-form but a collection of cells and bacteria, each a life-form in itself performing a task and co-operating with its neighbours with differing degrees of dependence and independence. Do you think that our cells are aware of us? That any individual cell knows that it forms one big being with an independent self-awareness?

We don't command our cells directly, for the notion of us itself, a control centre, is illusory, a factor that emerges from the interactions of the cells. Like a living city, cells are partly independent, and partly responsive to their neighbours, the rules, chemicals and signals from those "higher up" in the control chain. Our bodies function like a country, a world in itself with the commanding brain cells as government, capable of some wilful doctrine or law, but largely independent of the lives of the populace. The cells of our bodies live perfectly well when we are unconscious, after all. But we can't do as much when unconscious. Together we are stronger, just as one cell alone can't achieve most of what one human can. No cell will ever play the piano, never mind compose a Bach fugue, but a collection of them can and did!

Our society functions in a similar way too. We interact and socialise depending on rules and needs, interactions. Together we achieve more than we could alone. Nobody invented the electronic computer, or put a man into space; those things were collective efforts. Many activities of society are now essentially collective, with no one person capable of doing them. This applies even to vital public services. The individual has grown less and less important as civilisation has advanced.

We respond to rules as complex as those that our cells respond to. We purge the world of vermin in the same way that cells attack bacteria. Societies go to war when threatened, like an attacked body battles an infection. Our memory is made up from the collective memories of our brain cells, but so to does society form and store memories in libraries and archives, memories greater than any one person can have. Could it be that we form a new being, one collective consciousness with a united independent thought, as detached from us as one cell is from our minds? This poses a question; what is the difference between our waking conscious selves and when we are asleep and unconscious?

On a cellular level there is probably no difference. When awake we can move about though, talk, and interact, and do things... that's the key difference between being conscious and unconscious! How can a society, a country, a planet, express that it is self-aware? And to whom? Without an entity for our society to interact with then perhaps it can't be called conscious. Perhaps we seek life on other planets because the great being that is all life on Earth feels alone.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Tick tick. SO many things in progress at the moment. My main art task is the construction of the Eden cabinet, a new art project that has already pushed the boundaries of doing something intensive and expensive that 99.99% of other artists wouldn't bother with!

However last night I went to the première of a short promotional video that I wrote the music for, so here it is. It's for a charity ball in Nantwich in November, so if you know anyone in the vicinity who'd like to come then please let them know and/or spread the video. I hope you enjoy it.