Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Of the way in which she manifests

I have spent, the geek that I am, the last three hours reading political manifestos trying to work out how not to waste my vote tomorrow.

The city of Oxford is divided into two sections; Oxford West (and Abingdon) and Oxford East. There isn't a wall down the middle, but there might as well be. Oxford West has dreaming spires, open spaces and extensive college grounds; Oxford East has benefit fraud, graffiti with spelling mistakes and amusing ASBO kids called Chardonnay and Princess Belezbub. I live in the rough part; on an estate which has a welcome sign underneath which somebody has scrawled "my ghetto hometown". This means I get to vote in the rough part. To be fair, it's a bit rough by "nice town in the South" standards, so I'm not going to be the victim of a drive-by or a car-jacking any time soon, it just means my insurance is a bit higher than in would be on the other side of town and people scatter car parts on their front lawns.

This is the first time ever though that I have no idea who to vote for. I'm just not sure I want the responsibility of voting any of them in this time. I will vote, because I feel oblidged to, but I wish there was a no confidence box. None of the parties offer me any real incentive to vote for them. I can read all the manifestos I want, but I'm sure by the end of it the only way for me to choose will be to get the coloured board out of the twister set and let Fate decide. She has more experience than me, although if she has a similar sense of humour then I'm in trouble.

Election fever has hit work pretty hard, although to be fair it normally denigrates into a set of "date, marry, dump" questions pretty fast. Only 40 % of the people in my lab are entitled to vote in the election anyway on the basis of nationality, so looking for pearls of wisdom and inspiration amongst my colleagues and the students is a bit like herding cats. We decided yesterday that it would be more fun to vote in the candidate for the neighbouring consituency - that way each area would get the politican they deserve rather than the one they want - on the basis that what you want isn't always the best thing for you. I am really hoping that none of us lot become the policy makers of the future. I am afraid. Very afraid.

So - an election inspired make for me today. I've just taken delivery of a massive quantity of clay so that's a good place to start playing. I want to make something small enough so it can sit on the top of my computer monitor at work.

This is a chunk of brown polymer clay. Actually, it's a mixture of a lot of the bits of polymer clay I trim off the things I make.

Normally I use them for making the mould blanks, the small objects to cast from, as the colour doesn't matter - but as with most things like this, if you mix enough colours it will eventually go brown. I remember carrying out extensive experiments with plasticine when I was a kid, so I can tell you with almost complete certainty that if you throw the brown away, the resultant mixed mass you invariably acheive after messing about with it will be a foul shade of dark green. I'm going to divide it into three roughly equal chunks.

Then each one again into three, two smallish and one slightly larger bit.

Shaping the clay gives me this...

...and with a bit more fiddling around, things start to take shape. I'd like to point out here that I very rarely make things that have faces out of clay as I find them really difficult. No matter what living creature I try to make, it will always end up looking slightly feline, which is why I stick to making cats.

If find with clay that I can poke seed beads into it and they tend to survive intact when you bake the model. So, seed beads for eyes, a bit of white and pink clay for the faces and some limbs.

Some coloured clay and little white glass beads to finish off.

Cynic? Moi? I guess I'll decide tomorrow. What's the worst that could happen?

No comments: