I, a muse, amuse

I often play with words, such as in my collection FCQ, but I also sometimes toy with other materials because I enjoy it a lot and because it’s very relaxing. And hey, I am based in England, after all.

I want to show you a few of those projects.

Scrolling down, first you’ll see photos of a mirror that all by itself transformed itself under my hands, into the circle of life.

The four smaller photos depict the first stages of the transformation.

I had found that very plain oak mirror discarded on the streets. It used to be attached to a dressing table, I think. I applied materials that I already had.

First, I glued raffia to the sides, painted that and the frame fern green, intending to go for a rustic look. To the back, I glued a floral fabric that contains matching green colours.

I glued colourful paper flowers to the front, onto the glass, including places where the mirror had degraded slightly. They were mainly yellow, red, and orange.

Then something odd happened.

I started adding silver, white and mother of pearl, obscuring the green paint. I glued two tiny painted canvases onto the glass. Each contained a flower and each was covered in gold paint.

I had no choice but to call the whole thing “the circle/cycle of life” after that. The mirror is really attractive now. I enjoy seeing it.


I also created funky objects from chunks of chert that I picked up along the shore a few years ago. Most are small decorative pieces and some have hidden meanings. By covering part of the surface with paint, I accentuate the rock material. (Remember that I am also a geologist who began collecting rocks and minerals as a young teenager.)

Below are some crappy photos of one of my two larger chert pieces.

It has mother-of-pearl paint, and a bit of gold too, in addition to the other colours, and it’s been varnished a few times. I use it as a lifting weight, along with a turquoise one with gold and white.

Below are a few equally crappy photos of the objects Embryology by Magdalena Abakamowicz reminded me of when I saw it. (I used a cheesecloth-like fabric, black paint, gold paint, varnish).

Wrapping these pieces of chert into the cheesecloth turned them into almost animal objects.

One of them is like a bandaged golden rabbit’s foot. I had to bandage these particular pieces of rock, for some reason.

Doing things like these is very good for me. It helps keep my shoulders from freezing and relaxes my sometimes slightly achy wrists too.

Finally, I’ll show you four videos I created in 2010, mixing the movement of one of my hands and various sounds, including a few not particularly pretty notes on an alto sax, as an ode to poverty.

I’d never done anything like this before, but I enjoyed it and that was all that mattered to me. I don’t care if such things look meaningless and silly to someone else. Of course they are. And then again, they aren’t. (Warning: These videos may really annoy some of you.)

The “Chinese” soundtrack is not by me. The Billie Holliday tune that I am humming in two tracks remains one of my favorites. (It’s incredibly flexible, too.) Apparently, she wrote this one herself, together with pianist Mal Waldron.

Here is some surprising evidence of the amazing flexibility of that simple little tune…

I was reminded of these videos (actually, first of a few of my chert pieces) during a recent visit to Tate Modern (notably by Embryology by Magdalena Abakamowicz, a work that I really like because it has so many dimensions). So I decided to dig them up from the internet’s attic.