Mr Brown’s Pig is the performance name of Chris Brown, a committed storyteller, puppeteer and musician. He has been an inspiration to me for many years now, and I was delighted when he asked me to remake the framework and playboard of his puppet stage.
The dimensions and hinged folding design were to remain the same so that he could continue to use it in the same manner as the previous one, but he wanted it to be constructed sturdily enough to last the next twenty years. As he transports it by strapping it to the roof rack of his car, it is clearly subjected to a fair amount of wear and tear, and this durability requirement needed suitable consideration.
It was my opinion that the original stage had become rickety because the wooden frame had only been butt jointed and screwed together, and there was a lack of sufficient bracing. Also, I noticed that the hinges that allowed it to fold up were not particularly robust.
The answer was straight forward; cut decent sized mitred braces to support every right angle join, and to cut a shallow mortice and tenon for every joint, before gluing and screwing them from the reverse side into place.
I sourced some lovely brass hinges, which although were slightly too wide, were easy enough to trim to size with an angle grinder.
The playboard on the original stage was made from laminated MDF which unsurprisingly was looking pretty tatty. I chose to use a piece of locally grown hemlock. I let it sit in my workshop for a month or so and then cut it to size, planed it smooth and rounded the edges with a router. We wanted to darken it as much as possible so it’s finished with a dark oak coloured wax.
The result is a robust frame and shiny playboard that should stand the test of time, and allow Mr Brown’s Pig to continue performing his excellent puppet shows for many years to come.
Tula and I had great time today spray painting this yellow army onto the red wall in her bedroom.
We had designed the idea ages ago but we’ve only just got the respirators we need to spray indoors. I say we, Tula did the designing, I just assisted the artistic process.
Tula Iis very pleased with the result and so she should be, and very importantly, I’m very pleased to be able to say that the filters in the gas masks did an excellent job of filtering out the nasty propelant gases we would otherwise be breathing in. A flaming success and headache free.
It had got to that point when our bathroom ceiling needed a lick of paint, so while I was at it I jazzed up the previously cream and rather dusty lampshade.
I sprayed it blue, cut a lady bird stencil and sprayed that on and then added a bit of greenery with some acrylic paint and a brush. Maybe I’ll add a few flowers too.
I wonder what else I can rejuvenate around the house?
Since finishing painting the wall at Ashley Down, I’ve taken a job working as a painter decorator for an old friend who runs a property maintenance company. It makes sense. There are some large gaps in my drawing/painting ability, many if which can be sorted out with regular practice in a sketchbook, so that’s what I’m going to do.
The picture here I sketched while waiting for some paint to arrive to paint a kitchen with. Everything was prepared and there was literally no other work I could be doing so rather than sit awkwardly in the customers flat (she was in) so I made good use of my time.
I’ve just finished painting this long picture. It’s so long it took 2 panoramic photos on my phone to get it all in. It’s been a big old job, with a massive learning curve, but I’m really pleased to have had the opportunity.
A pencil study of our sitting room. It feels so good to finally have a quiet moment to just draw for the sake of it.
This picture, painted at Ashley Down Primary School, represents the ability to stand alone when necessary. For me a musician rocking it with the help of a looper clearly sums up this personal quality.
This picture shows the stage I was at when I downed tools and finished work for the day yesterday, and therefore what I return to work on this morning. It’s another sunny day here in Bristol, I feel blessed, and I’m enjoying this project immensely. I’m learning so much and the hard work really feels worth it.
Treasure every moment!
Here’s a little video of me learning to spraypaint with both hands.