Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Confessions of Anna and the Rhino

I have a confession to make: I am useless at scrabble. I am forced to admit this because I have been invited to play by a friend who has an unwarranted (and misplaced) confidence in my ability. So, sorry as I am to do so, I must disillusion you. I am terrible at scrabble (admittedly I haven't played in more years than I care to admit to having behind me) but I was always appalling.

People are often surprised at just quite how dreadful I am at the game, because I love words, and so many think that Scrabble should be a favourite of mine. I think I'm actually put at more of a disadvantage because of my unflinching ardour for language. I love speaking it, writing it, reading it; weaving it into the world in interesting and unusual ways. Language as expression, description, emotion, creation and invention. Language is the narration of our lives, and as such it enthralls and inspires me - but in scrabble words become mathematical and logical, which drains them of their colour.

Lifeless words in a meaningless jigsaw; magnificent language, now triple-word-score.

Scrabble is about points and strategies, not linguistics and semantics, and so I fail dismally to connect with it. I admire people whose minds do work so logically, but myself cannot abide with tearing words down for something so crude as points in a game - it feels almost sacrilegious. There is something reprehensible about exploiting language for the merits of its components. It's like seeing a first edition of The Picture of Dorian Grey used as notepaper, or James Bonds' Aston Martin stripped for parts.

The joy of language is in combining words to express hopes, dreams, fears and ideas - finding a style and a voice that is unique and distinctive. Scrabble is a game with rigid rules, and my adoration of language is born of an appreciation of the opposite. My love affair with language has shown me it can be toyed with, caressed and manipulated - but should always be explored, not exploited. Scrabble is prostitution; wordplay is amour. (Sorry MJ!)

When I say things like that about words it usually provokes the reaction; "Alright love, it's only an 'effing thesaurus." Not surprising that I write, really. When I actually do write, and am not tied up with damned copywrite of images, research, and all the other rubbish that has dogged me this week - threatening to drown creativity in legality. Budget is my least favourite word. It makes me think this blasted book will have a blue striped 'Tesco-Value' jacket or be printed on supermarket own-brand toilet paper.

I did get some work done today - the latest batch of designs is finished. Well, the initial sketches are finished. Since Boodles launched 'Raindance' a few years ago, circles and diamonds have been a steady trend (and as the feedback from 'Audrey' was so good, we've extended the range.) A little more work and I might have something saleable, even if they're looking likely to go with white metal - either White Gold, or Rhodium/Palladium plated Sterling Silver - instead of my preferred 14karat Yellow Gold. There's a buttery warmth to 14k that appears harsher in 9k and brasher in 18k. In Italy of course they use nothing less than 18k, but as I have yet to exhibit in 'Vogue Gioello,' I can remain faithful to my preferred choice. 22k always looks false, whilst the norm in Indian jewellery it is such a rarity here that its unnatural-looking brilliance does not appeal to the majority.

Platinum is useless, far too soft a metal for my liking, and scratches terribly. Rose gold can be effective, and I have included designs in this new range that incorporate it, but as the coloured gold's go I am most interested in the new work with green. (The colours of gold are achieved by mixing different alloys with the pure gold. For example, 9k gold is 375 parts-per-thousand pure gold, and the rest is made up from base-metal alloys. Rose gold features more copper in the mix, whereas green gold features a quantity of silver.) Green gold plating behind yellow diamonds is dazzling - it enhances the colour in a manner that had until recently been unachievable without heat-treatment. Black Rhodium plating is striking too, and some of the pieces I am hoping to work on next will incorporate it, since the advance in plating techniques is helping Rhodium wear better. (It's a very soft metal and can only be used for plating, as it is not strong enough to sculpt.)

We'll see of course. The studded wooden bangles are still unfinished. I'm sure there is more mileage in the design, but need the inspiration to expand it correctly. The blend in texture of warm gold, chocolaty grain, cold metal and soft wood is definitely worth pursuing again, but needs to be artfully done. The carving/polishing of the wood will be as essential a feature as the metalwork, and needs consideration, for type of wood will also discern colour/grain/cost/malleability/texture/weight and so on.
I have yet to persuade Mike to have the designs 'laying around' when Stephen Webster returns to do a few more of the promo/informational junkets. Who would have believed that not living in Birmingham would ever be considered a disadvantage? I'm determined to find a way around it. (Besides, I reckon they still owe us for Lenny Henry.)

On a lighter note, after mentioning that I felt I should name check the friends I talk about, several of them have expressed a wish for me to refrain from doing any such thing. Anna informed me that she, especially, values her anonymity. (Ooops.) Today we were talking about nose-jobs. Hers is fine, whatever she says. (Mine however, is only useful now that they've debunked the myth that you can see the Great Wall of China from space - because it's good that they have another point of reference.) The subject of Rhinoplasty ultimately led to what we would call a rhino - if we had one (partly because she's also had me doing a quiz today and that was one of the questions.)

Despite her protestations, I still think there's something quite endearing about a rhinoceros called Kevin.

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