Community. Engagement. Advocacy. Humor.
Still not really settled since returning to Scotland. From getting in on Friday, I had to go to work for half a day and then headed off to again to Edinburgh, from where I've just returned, having enjoyed the festival madness there. In short, went to see the Yogyakarta Court Gamelan, which was phenomenal, the David Mach show at the City Art Gallery and wandered around the High Street and the West End Craft fair.
I also met with a friend of mine who works on the Tattoo and got my usual tour backstage. Also got onto the gantries above the castle, which is great fun:
The David Mach exhibition of works based on verses from the King James Bible is rather good, though I am not wholly convinced by the collages. They do work individually - for me anyway - and have a real sense of Bosch about them, but there are almost too many of them to be able to view them properly and, ultimately, they all start to seem a bit "samey". At £5 to get in, it is not an exhibition which one can return to regularly either.
A real bonus is the ability to access the studio where he has been creating the works and to see some of his older works and also the way in which he researches and makes the collages.
On the whole, I still prefer his sculptural works - of which there are all too few - though those which are there are magnificent:
As ever, made from the unlikely common object, in this case, wire coat-hangers.
During the day, I went to the genteel "West End Craft Fair", which is usually mediocre with one or two examples of interesting work. It was especially annoying this year as there were an unusually large number of BEADERS describing themselves as JEWELLERS, which they are not. (This is not up for debate: as a jeweller, I am stating this as fact.) Unfortunately, the interesting makers were all the same ones from last year - with one exception, to follow - and there were rather too many poor-quality or done-to-death products on sale. I did, however, meet with the lovely Josean Garcia, who is an Edinburgh College of Art trained glass blower now working in Venice for Murano and in his own studio making the most beautiful mouth-blown beads, which I really want to use, though I'm not yet sure how:
The gamelan music in the evening was utterly superb. I used to play in a gamelan in Glasgow, many, many years ago (now, like everything else decent and interesting in this town, defunct) and the appeal of the music is strong. I played in a Balinese orchestra, which is much gentler than the Javanese orchestra which I heard last night and it was utterly thrilling to hear these bolder instruments first-hand.
As a metalsmith, these instruments are so very appealing:
I was also introduced to Javanese dancing, which I had never seen before. This guy was just phenomenal:
I really wanted to see him perform more: his physical control was quite unbelievable and he was a most engaging performer. The musicias were all of the highest abilities and the woman shown at in the photograph below has an amazing voice:
Top tip for eating out in Edinburgh!
The Malaysian restaurant Kampung Ali in Fountainbridge. It is exactly the same as the legendary "Malaysian Delight" on Nicholson Street but big enough to get lots more people in. (Having said that, they were turning people away by the time I had eaten.)
Achar, boiled rice, Spicy tofu with cabbage, mango bubble tea: