Work on the unfinished Troll Screamers shown above as well as several NEW Troll Screamers will resume soon. I have several body parts ready to go for the new creations.

Sunday, 27 March 2011


For the next week, two maybe more I can’t be certain of the final time frame at this point I will be taking a break from PM’ing. I have to point out this is most certainly not out of choice by no means no. On the 24th March at 10PM whilst quietly lounging on the settee waiting for a repeat of a great movie (Pandorum) I suddenly felt a huge build up of pressure in the centre of my chest. Not pain simply a huge void like sensation accompanied by intense pressure about the size of an open hand with fingers spread.

At the same time I began to feel an immense pressure in my lower throat, literally my throat felt like it was swelling and burning, incredible burning sensation at the same time I was having severe trouble breathing. At first I simply assumed this was an anxiety attack since they can hit out of the blue for no reason and I have suffered them in the past especially as a child. I sat up straight in front of the sixteen inch room fan we have in the living room and the whole uncomfortable sensation cleared after barely five minutes. Apart from a slight distress from the pain in my throat that lingered slightly afterwards and lack of being able to draw a full breath I felt totally normal. So much so I thought nothing more of it in fact after a few minutes to the point where I was even joking about it.

About twenty minutes later the whole sensation hit me again only this time it hit twice as fast and twice as hard. I was struggling to breathe so badly I literally had a small container of Vic’s Vaporub touching my top lip whilst I drew breath in whilst sitting up in front of the fan again. This time however the sensation was so bad it barely helped. Gasping in a barely audible rasping voice which took great exhausting effort I told my wife B (Barbara) to call 999 the emergency services in the UK.

Now I have to say that sadly the emergency services have been getting a bad reputation for delayed arrival times over the years. Indeed in the past I have had reason to call upon they’re services because of my diabetes or indeed heart pains and they haven’t always had the best arrival times. Other times when I have had hospital appointments for specific times I have had to turn the ambulance crew away telling them they had arrived too late to get me to the hospital on time for my set appointment(s) and would see me sitting in my wheelchair in agony until everyone else had been seen before me.

This time however they arrived literally a minute after my wife hung up the telephone. Once in the ambulance the sensation began to wear off enough for me to talk, having an oxygen mask on my face helping me breathe answering the ambulance crew’s questions as they took me to out local hospital. Mercifully we live just five minutes drive from the hospital so it was a short journey.

On arrival at the A&E ward I was bundled off into a side room where I got the basic rudimentary treatment whilst they waited for a doctor to be free to see me. This was ten thirty PM at night. One of my elder children still living at home Simon accompanied me there and stayed with me until two thirty AM the following morning. At which point I informed him I felt much better and practically had to loose my temper to get him to go home and try to get some rest. I had after all suffered what I assumed been a mere anxiety attack and was in the safest place I could be now. He eventually agreed and went home reluctantly. Following that a nurse came to see me periodically during which time I felt tired but fine. Because I have a week heart I was given pain killers an ECG etc whilst I waited for the doctor. It was actually around four thirty AM before I finally saw a doctor. By this time apart from being extremely tired and weak I was able to answer his questions easily; my throat and the only pain I’d suffered had long since vanished. Actually the only pain I had suffered during the two events of the now previous night.

(Me several hours after my admission to our local hospital)

The doctor had reviewed all the information that had been compiled on me then calmly told me in ‘his’ opinion I had suffered a heart attack. Of course I nearly fell off the bed at that point – A heart attack no way. I had had none of the classic symptoms I had been told of to watch for in the past, a heart attack simply no way I thought. The doctor told me he was going to prescribe another wave of pain killers including ten milligrams of morphine to help me relax and for any pain I might be in. I told him I was in no pain at all the only pain having previously been in my throat. He also informed me I would be getting transferred to the not quite so local Freemans Hospital in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne as they were better set up for such situations. Stunned all I could do was lay there and agree with him.

So tired, spaced out on pain killers and morphine off I went to the larger hospital. After hours of ECG’s, blood pressure tests, more pain killers fed to me along with insulin from a mechanical intravenous feed I spent the next several hours with no sleep growing more stressed out. Eventually a doctor came to see me. He immediately informed me I had indeed suffered a heart attack at which point I countered “But I had none of the classic symptoms for a heart attack”. He looked at me blankly as if I were lying for some reason then went on to tell me I had in fact suffered a quite large heart attack, indeed massive at that. I was of course speechless from that moment on  while he talked on.

Shock, horror, none believing, fear, awe, amazement, wonder, you name it the thoughts were running through my mind spilling over each other in one rolling endless thought. The doctor told me I would be going for coronary angioplasty procedure the moment a surgical team was available to treat me. Having made sure I understood what he’d said he left. The early hours drew on mind numbingly so.

Another doctor came to see me around seven thirty Am. At this time of course due to lack of sleep physical strain from the events of the night before added to the mental stress of what I had been told at both hospitals I was clearly in no mood to be told about the risks involved during the procedure before giving my consent for the procedure to go ahead.

Essentially the information I was given (as I now remember it) was that there were ‘risks’ involved that ranged from life effecting/altering to life threatening.

1: I was to be injected with a dye that would be used to highlight my innards basically so the surgeon could better view the live x-ray feed on monitors (three it turned out to be) during the procedure. I was told there was something like a one in one thousand (or there about) risk of suffering some mild reaction to the dye which could potentially leave me mentally or physically impaired in some way. Or there was a chance I could suffer a severe reaction to the dye that could kill me outright. He did say these were extremely unlikely but possible.

2: Then I was told in the past surgeons (depending on the surgeon) chose to enter through an artery in the leg by the groin or in an artery by the wrist. It had been later agreed that the groin entry point was just too high risk and the only method now was to enter via the artery in the wrist(s) and there was still a one in two thousand (or there about) risk of death should I move during the procedure itself as the surgeon would be working within the confines of the arteries just above my heart itself depending on what he/she discovered. The procedure took some forty minutes to one hour to carry out depending on what the surgeon encountered during the procedure. Essentially I should be prepared to remain as still as I could for up to one hour. Having heard the facts was I prepared to sign the required consent forms?

I did mention my disabilities and how lying flat on my back for ‘any’ time period beyond a few minutes was impossible, but I could not ignore the facts given to me about my having suffered a massive heart attack and the desperate need for this procedure to be carried out as soon as possible.

Did I then consent to the procedure knowing the new information?

Yes in a heart beat literally. I signed the forms.

I was told I would be expected to be in for my procedure at around ten PM later that morning there were two before me.

The morning passed in an understandable daze. Ten AM came and went at which point I was informed I had been moved up to two PM. This came and went too. Finally at three thirty PM I was taken along for my procedure. During which the surgeon discovered the damage to my heart was indeed severe combined with ‘two’ badly blocked arteries one of which was a main artery.

The whole procedure ended up taking all but an hour to carry out. I was awake during the entire procedure and felt absolutely no pain from the procedure itself. Anyone waiting for this type of proceedure should be aware there is NO PAIN INVOLVED. Yes the cleansing solution spread on the wrist IS icy cold damn icy cold to the point it hurts but this passes in seconds. There IS an intense cold sensation whilst the local anaesthetic is injected which is followed by an intense burning sensation bursting out the hand through the fingertips. However again this only lasts a matter of seconds, by the time you have registered these feelings they dissipate completely. There IS a mild ‘odd’ sensation of pressure in your arm proper but nothing you could call actual feeling and most certainly NOT PAIN. If you need this procedure done – SERIOUSELY CONSIDER HAVING IT don’t be put off by anything you may here or read online saying it is painful.

Now as I mentioned I can’t simply lay on my back for any real time period and certainly not deadly still for anything up to an hour. How ever the surgeon agreed to hold all the surgical equipment still whilst I adjusted my lower body an inch or so in either direction every ten minutes or so. I was of course only too aware every time I moved in even this way I was risking my life. Unfortunately it was do this or suffer an uncontrolled unexpected muscle spasm that I could never have prevented and died anyway for certain. It was a great risk I simply had to take.

During the procedure the so far cheerful chatty surgeon suddenly changed his tone of voice to quite gruff and annoyed stating the damage he was finding was quite severe and why was I only on the table now? I should have been on the operating table Wednesday night when I first went into hospital. He further went on to say as far as he was concerned he did not understand how I was still ‘here’ from which I took his meaning to be I should have died Wednesday night during my initial attack the damage was so bad. He asked me how I felt at the time of my attack and leading up to and during the procedure. I responded repeating everything I had told everyone so many times over the previous two days. At this point the surgeon damn near tore my head off saying “Well of course not everyone suffers any physical chest pains or indeed pains or discomfort in the arms. There are a rare number of people who can suffer a major coronary incident which can be life threatening yet suffer nothing more than severe neck pain and or lower jaw pains.” He said this in such a tone that I felt chastised like having a weak heart from birth I should have ‘known’ this to be so?

Until I was actually ‘there’ on the operating table having my coronary angioplasty procedure done this was the first I had ‘ever’ heard of the strange chest pain free pressure and neck pains. Heart and diabetes conditions run virulently through my family’s history. Being a sufferer of both conditions I only ever seem to find out these ‘new’ facts or information through third parties or during an incident relating to one or the other to myself in hospital.

Anyway it goes without saying that the procedure went perfectly, long but perfectly. Apart from being tired beyond belief due to lack of sleep from the first night of hospital admittance. Immediately after the procedure I felt better, better to the point of being brand new. During my days I both hospitals eating was a near impossible task both wanting to eat and even doing so. I was fitted with a single (two part) ‘stent’ a small metal pipe that was actually pushed into place in two parts and then screwed together inside my artery. This will remain there for the remainder of my life keeping the main artery open at that weak point. I can’t feel it of course nothing at all.

So I came home yesterday evening. Exhausted, relived, hyper tense but much healthier. Amazingly given the fact I suffered a massive heart attack that should have killed me days before I feel and look normal outside of being visibly tired. However on the inside I am still adjusting mentally. Physically I am not as strong as I once was but this will improve over the next couple of weeks. Previously I could barely walk around five yards due to my disabilities and indeed would black out from pain if I tried to do more. Now I can barley stand for a minute without being severely out of breathe. Talking for a few minutes leaves me feeling a little dizzy headed too. This all passes after a minute or two of course. My right arm which the surgeon carried the procedure on is going to be weak for at least a week and I have been informed not to put any pressure on it or try to lift myself up or anything else using it for a couple of weeks.

Outwardly my recovery will be as normal as anyone else’s given the size of the heart attack and my existing disabilities of course but I should be back to normal and PM’ing in a few weeks at most folks.

Throughout all of this event the thing that will always linger in my mind is the fact my having a heart defect from birth, being overweight due to my lack of mobility because of my disabilities, my weight problem being added to by the two types of insulin I take, the fact I had two severely blocked arteries none of these were the direct cause of my heart attack. Oh it ‘was’ imminent I have no disillusions about that I knew it was coming eventually. No, what actually prematurely triggered the massive heart attack if anything was in fact my ‘diabetes’ this was told to me by the doctor who checked my out just prior to my home release.

You learn something new everyday for sure eh?

After the proceedure they fitted a special new clamp to hold the artery closed whilst it heald even the nurses were unfamiliar with it was that new seen here on my wrist.

Here it is removed later that day.

Regardless of not being able to PM right now i will attempt to keep my blog going as well as visit those i follow as much as possible until i return to a more stable condition so as i normally would say: more soon folks.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


Okay lets take a look at a simple looking yet what will appear to be a gravity defying stand indeed whole sculpture. Or at least it will be once the horn is fitted trust me.

I wanted the stand to be attractive but not detract attention from the horn so much. At first i made a simple rectangle plaster form. To me it had quite the opposite effect of what i was looking for. The bold rectangle shape against the flowing long horn was too stark. So instead i went with a more rounded off look. Not quite a rectangle but not quite an oval either. Lets take a look at how i will be making the stand(s).

To begin with for weight i am going to make some solid plaster forms. Since the horn is well under 2mm thick and a hollow paper mache strip form the horn is extremely light weight even for my creations regardless of the size. With this in mind the stand need not be a great slab of plaster for balance.

Above is the final overall shape i came up with for stand base section. I made these from my favourite card stock of course pizza box lol.

The best way to attach the stem i am going to incorporate into this design is 'directly' into the plaster base section by means of a hole moulded directly into the design. The easiest and fasted way to do this is to simply add a small section of tubing of the size i want to use later for the support stem of the stand. When the plaster is poured into the mould the section will be omitted creating the hole.

As i said the base section need not be a great slab of plaster. With this in mind i created a small wall some 1.5cms high around the base section. I simply fixed this in place using a thin line of hot glue. As there will only be a small amount of plaster poured the small wall needs no further support than it has.

This simple mould also requires no releasing agent either. Once you have created your design your happy with such as i have here you can then pour your plaster directly into the mould and leave it to cure over night.

Twenty four hours later and a quick rounding off of the top leading edge and i have a perfect weighted base form. Now ordinarily this would not be a suitable show piece because of the minor bubble/pitting in the surface of the plaster. How ever in this case that's not a problem as i intend to cover this base section in strips anyway for a little extra support for the plaster. Whilst the weight of the horn is very minor indeed. Given time and moving the sculpture around may cause fractures in the plaster later which could result in a break above the hole. To the right of the picture as you look at it here. This of course would cause utter failure of the stand and ruin the sculpture.

Now for the support stem and retaining ring for the horn. I simply cut down the length of a small toilet roll tube then rolled in round itself. A little PVA glue helped fix it in place. I added a single layer of masking tape to the newly created tube to round off the outer face of the tube. I will of course have to re-do it as you can see i rushed this example a little too much. The masking tape is anything if smooth as it needs to be. This is a simple fix and will only take a moment later.

Here you can see how the three pieces come together to form the whole stand. I am not too happy with the height of the support stem and will reduce the height a little whilst i am replacing the masking tape.

So i am going to go off and get to making some more horns and stands. The next time you see this stand it should be fully finished and also accompanied by others with fully finished horns too all ready to go in my Etsy shop lol.

More soon.

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Okay better explain the title i think lol...

I am currently working on three large dragon head trophies, or rather have been for some time amongst other dozens of projects which i cycle through. One of the trophies is in the paint stage right now and has 'frons' (medium sized solid frills with spines) on the head. This will be a female dragon you can see some of the earlier pictures of this one in the right hand WIPs (Work In Progress) column as well as a couple of earlier posts. The other a male is to have horns.

Now whilst messing around with the horn designs for the male i got a little side tracked (whats new lol) and figured why not make some life size bull/cow horns with ornamental stands for my Etsy shop? I will modify some of these to be large dragon horns too later with twists and ridges along they're length. For now though i thought why not show you how i am making the bull/cow horn versions. Later i will show you how i am going to make the stands and the twisted and ridged versions.

In the past i have shown you how to make simple horn forms using tubes and foam. This time i will be using balloons for the larger horns. Here are the six simple steps to creating the basic armature or form. Trust me here this IS longer in the telling than the doing lol.

NOTE: Always work in a warm/hot room when using balloons to reduce shrinking.

Attach a large elongated balloon which is thicker than you want your final design to actually be. This will become clear as to why shortly. Hold the pump and the balloon(s) as shown in the picture above, then slowly begin to inflate it.

Keep pumping until the balloon inflates and then takes on the curve you want as shown above. You could easily just inflate the balloon in the normal manor but then when you bend the balloon to make the curve you will create a crease in the balloon which will add extra work when adding the strips later. This method creates a more natural smooth curve in the balloon.

Once you have your desired curve simply let the end of the balloon go and carry on inflating the balloon fully. Remove from the pump and tie off the end as normal.

Now using a piece of string fix the balloon in the curve you want by tying it off at 'both' ends as shown above. Remember to leave a short length at one of the ends to hang the balloon from. Once we have the first layers of the strip formed shell on here whilst the paper is wet the shell will be heavy and will deform the balloon(s) from the shape you created. Hanging the balloon from one end whilst being restricted by the string will keep the curve you wanted until fully dry and then fixed in shape.

Whilst 're-shaping' balloons in the manor i am about to show you i prefer to work with a shell of no more than 6/8 layers of paper strips. This makes cutting into the strong but flexible shell(so much easier whilst also making the re-shaping easier too. When using PVA glue the paper once 'fully' dried will become stiff and fragile at this thickness. Not only would this potentialy split or shatter along the cut line but also may do so when re-shaping too. Keeping the strip shell to around 6/8 layers with a rotating layer of news paper and white printer paper keeps the shell strong and flexible too. I prefer to work with strips of around 2cms in width for balloons of this shape. Length wise is up to you but when working with news print anything longer than 20cms will crumple and form small ridges when drying if you are using a glue or paste that is too wet. I prefer a 'pure' first coat of PVA glue (any white glue) for the first layer of news paper then rotating through news paper then 80gsm white printer paper with a glue mix of: 50% water and 50% PVA glue for the final layers.

Keep your balloon in a stable as possible warm room once you have added your strips. Too hot and the balloon will swell and at best split the drying shell. This mercifully can be repaired with masking tape then a few more strips added. At worst the balloon will attempt to swell beyond the restricting paper shell and then simply burst. If this happens 'after the shell is fully dry then nothing is lost. However it can happen more than not before the paper shell has fully dried which will collapse the wet shell rendering it useless. In a normal shaped balloon shell you can sometimes replace the balloon whilst the paper shell is still wet. In a balloon such as this shape however it is near enough impossible to not even try.

Now burst the balloon then remove it. Cut or slice 'one side' just over half way down. Do not go all the way along the length of the shell. Tear off some short lengths of masking tape ready. Now carefully 'tuck' one side of the cut shell under the other side, squeeze and roll one over the other forming the final horn shape. As you can see the fold or rolled form thins out slightly down the form. This is why you need a balloon that is slightly wider than you intend your final horn form to be to allow for this thinning of the final form.

Now tape down the edges to fix them in place. Once the final shape is fixed in place go over the 'entire' cut edge with masking tape to smooth out the seem. Now again swapping between news paper and 80gsm printer paper finish off the horn to a thickness you are happy with. You can add another six layers or so (three news paper and three printer paper) then paint on three layers of my dragon skin to make a fast super hard super smooth final coating. If not then simply add as many layers of new strips as your happy with. The horn shown here is approximately 100cms x 27cms or 39" x 11" inches.

Even though at this point the shell will be self supporting hanging it up IS still the best way to dry out the project. When wet the shell will easily be dented and therefore damaged adding to creation time thanks to having to waste time filling in any deformities created in resting the shell on a hard surface. If nothing else the 'roundness' of the shell could be effected in this manor.

At this stage of drying i prefer to strengthen the shell with masking tape then simply run a short length of bamboo skewer through the open end of the shell. To which i then tie a short length of string in a 'loop' form to hang the shell from.

Once fully dried simply sand down then paint in the colours and paint types you prefer to use. Voila' one finished horn. In the second part of three parts i will show you how to make a simple but effective display stand for this project.

More soon.

Saturday, 5 March 2011


I have now completely finished five of my skulls yeah. They are NOW in my Etsy shop.


More soon.


Twenty seven years?

Has it really been that long since i had a tattoo done?

Indeed it has but i rectified that the other night. In celebration of how well my plaster pulp experiment turned out with my White Matter© Ver 2.6  especially then later with its use to make my fist sized hollow skulls. I have been thinking of a new tattoo for some time so decided to combine both tattoo idea and skull creations in a personal celebration. So i let my son loose with his tattoo gun on my left shoulder. The result so far below.

In case anyone is having trouble reading it, from left to right it says "LOVE HATE FATE". The center word FATE should have been lower down but since it was some 01:00am before we even got to doing this i forgive him this small error. One of the meanings behind the tattoo as well as celebrating my White Matter©  and skulls is a personal reminder to me. It being LOVE, HATE a constant struggle throughout my life in many ways, at many times, should not rule my life as in the end it all succomes to FATE anyway so it is a pointless task master to set loose on myself!.  

A while back he loaned his 'inks' to a tattoo artists friend and shortly after that his guns were stolen by a drug junkie from his flat with other items. He recently purchased new guns etc but when he got his inks back he forgot to check to see if they were all there before tattooing me. Unfortunately the grey and white were not. So he will have to come back to my tattoo when it is healed then add the grey and white shading on the skulls and around the words.

I will post a picture of the finished tattoo then. For now here it is some five minutes fresh.

Just thought you might be interested to know lol. Normal blog transmissions will now resume lol.

More soon.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


Here are the first three fully painted (hollow) White Matter© skulls so far. They need to dry a while before sealing with high gloss clear spray sealer left to dry a day or two. Then they will be going in my Etsy Shop immediately afterwards.

More soon

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


Thanks to a comment from a very good artist friend of mine i just realised i did not explain fully why I chose the odd long drying period for my White Matter©

skulls i am painting. I do apologise most sincerely a simple oversight I shall now repair.

Plaster ‘pure’ plaster that is, is very absorbent when it comes to moisture be it small amounts in the air or a good down right soaking. Some people may think once you use plaster from the bag and it then cures fully that is the end of the story but no. Just because you activated the plaster so to speak then it dried out again does not mean it can not then continue to absorb moisture, it will.

Now that’s pure plaster be it the basic gypsum (dry walling) plaster form or the more refined white plaster of Paris (sculpting type) The only real difference is in the name not the end effect. Plaster in any state ‘will’ continue to absorb moisture when exposed to it. Ever tried hanging paper on a new plaster wall without painting it first? This is why you should always paint a new plaster wall before hanging paper to slow down the plaster sucking the moister from the wall paper paste too fast.

Now it is at this point I ask you to remember I only use water based paints (tempura type) even though I will be using extremely thin coats none the less I will be building up small amounts of water for the skulls to soak up. Now ordinarily a day or two air drying (no additional heat) for pure plaster would be more than sufficient for my skulls to soak up and dry out considering the amount of paint I will use on each one. More so as I am not painting these with a paint brush, I am using old sponges.

The reason I have decided to give the skulls a whole seven days to dry again before sealing is the tissue pulp content of the White Matter© medium I created even though it is a small amount is going to potentially cause the plaster content to hold the water slightly longer in either small pockets or small thin layers of pulp within the White Matter© medium. Once I seal them this could cause the paint to flake later. Using other paint types would more than likely have similar effects but probably over a longer time frame.

Okay why not simply radiator dry the skulls then some might be asking? Simply for the same reasons only several times faster which would more than likely cause minute cracking and potential weak points between the pulp and plaster in the medium that may not be visible especially under the paint. Add to the mix when you say to someone “These are ‘ornamental’ and not meant to be constantly handled” There is always going to be someone who comes along and goes “Oh look at this…” Picking up what was not meant to be.

It has always been a belief of mine that accidents don’t just ‘happen’ less someone gives them a reason to. More caution means less chance of a casualty so I prefer to lean more on the cautious side when I can.

More soon.