Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Saw this and...

Stumbled upon this party popper that clearly did not have a winder on University Road in Leicester today. 
I wonder what brand it was. And I wonder who popped it there, and when, and why...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Putting the genie back in the bottle

Sainsburys had a sale on of party poppers, so I now own 300 of them, so today I dissected a few, and let a few off...I think they are cheap because the explosive is a little over zealous and it just shoots the streamer across the room never to be seen again..I hope they are not all the same?
Mind you the pound shop ones varied...I dissected two and one contained the nicely rolled up streamers and the second was stuffed with the little tangled ball of streamers you see on the bottom left hand page of my sketchbook.
I sat and drew out some ideas for a streamer winder.

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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Cuddy's beads

This is the tiniest thing in my Dad's museum, perched on the end of my middle finger. It is a Cuddy's (St Cuthbert's) bead from Lindisfarne. He has quite a big collection of these in his museum - they are sections of Crinoids, which were animals (not plants) somehow related to sea urchins and sea lilies. These ones are about 350-300 million years old. Wow. I don't know how to visualise that. But there are older things in the collection too (to follow...)  I've never been to Lindisfarne but have longed to go for ages. Not really for the fossils, but now I know these are there, I would love to find some of these things of the least for myself. That's the excitement with fossils - actually finding them for yourself. An amazing and exhilarating experience... (There's a wonderful introduction to fossils on the Open University website, and the info in this post is thanks to my Dad's fossil expertise!)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Farewell to custard

With much sadness, I had to say farewell to my little yellow car yesterday. I have kept one thing from it. A little bobbley bit for attaching strings that opened the lid bit in the boot but that had snapped off.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Drawing is also a good time to sit and think

I have done a lot of these sheets recording my collection since 2008, I was shocked to notice, but I havn't done one in a while. They do look a little rough and ready, (but on mass they do look better).
So today, whilst listening to the BBC coverage of the hostage situations in France, I sat and drew this card of SEGS. I have always liked things in Multiples...I can never make one of anything. I think I need to do a little more pencil shading on the Segs though..

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Thursday, 8 January 2015


As soon as I finished that last post about drawing, there was a knock on the door. It was Mr. Postman with a very exciting parcel AND card delivery...

My very own special delivery. You might recognise the unpopped party popper which is now transformed. It has a new life. It will now see many things that it wouldn't have seen if it had just exploded and ended up in the bin. It's a bit like it is living in its own portable museum case. What a lucky party popper.

And here is an officially approved milk bottle top too.

And you might not recognise my drawing, but I really enjoyed doing it - and yes, I do understand more by using my pencil. I didn't even know that silver foil milk bottle tops still existed, but I also learnt that Christmas specials have holly and 'Seasons Greetings' wishes, and that the foil gets really really wrinkly...

If you don't understand it...

Here is a thing that I do not understand. I think it has something to do with wireless resisters (?) but since I don't know what they are either, that's not very helpful. Inspired by Hazel's last post, I am going to do some drawings. I am not sure if they will help me understand what it is or how it works, but I am looking forward to reconnecting with pencil and paper to see what sort of understandings come from drawing lines...

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

If you don't understand it..draw it..

A bit chilly in my workshop today..but with 2 cardies and 2 pairs of socks I sat in there and pondered. I have bought a few more items for the A1 Scrap Metal collection and this seemed a good time to study them. One particular object, labelled a "Tension Gauge", which I bought for £2 from Blakemere was baffling I sat and drew I understand how the thing works..Still not sure where it was the textile industry maybe? but I figured out how the bits on the side clipped in and how the scale worked and the tension could be altered..

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My Dad's Museum

from the Museum of Richard Corbet Woodall (my Dad!)

Most of my peers who work within museums can recall a seminal moment in their childhoods, when they visited a museum and had a profound, moving, scary, exciting, or otherwise extraordinary experience. I can't. As a child, although I visited all sorts of National Trust houses, churches and some museums too, these visits haven't made a profound impact. For some years I felt I bit concerned about this, wondering what it was that now draws me to funny little objects and rummaging about in collections.

And then I remembered my father's museum. Tucked away in an old chest of drawers in the garage, it was where he kept everything that he had dug up from the garden and beyond. And there was plenty of stuff. The above picture is just one tray from the museum, not a particularly interesting one when compared with some of the others, but still very beautiful. Clay pipes and bits of pottery and china in here. It still looks exactly as I remember from 30 years ago, when I used to sneak into the garage and play with the things, ordering them in different ways and finding the most beautiful pieces.

Anyway, over Christmas this year, I spent an evening while staying at his house, revisiting my Dad's collection, finding old favourites, remembering what was there, and discovering all sorts of new things that I hadn't seen before. I am going to post some of these finds as my task for the new year, and look forward to sharing these 'things of the least'.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Relics and Reliquaries by Jeffrey Vallance

Michael gave me this book for Xmas by an artist called Jeffrey Vallance..he exhibits items from his life and performances as relics....I have been reading this today. (I love research leave).
I like how how has created such intricate boxes and displays for such banal objects, and as I read it, I thought how I try to elevate the everyday in other creating objects/inventions.

I havn't chosen the best example of the decorated box, but the pencil was one of my favourite objects, the other was the top of a broken bottle plus cap that had a family story attached to it.