Tuesday 30 June 2009

Cambridge Open Studios Countdown Diary Mon 29th June

I will be using Garage as studio this year as this avoids both potential health & safety issues and ensures accessibility. However, need to get suitable surfaces to mount pictures on. Layout of pictures planned in Powerpoint.

Therefore went to B&Q to buy chipboard panels with the idea of painting them white and screwing them to garage walls.

Painted the backs of 4 of the 10 boards today to seal before fixing to wall - will tackle rest tomorrow.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Cambridge Open Studio Countdown - Fri 26th June

Went to the HBN meeting today (huntingdonshire business network) and received my pictures mounted by Lesley Sharp of FairFrames.

Lesley has done a fantastic job and at a reasonable price, bringing the best out of the 15 pictures done for the exhibition!

Heavens suddenly opened during the meeting with torrential rain, and I had parked on the other side of the river, a good 10 minutes walk away, and had no real protection for pictures.

Took refuge in Costa's for lunch and a drink with Sidney Skinner, who also publishes books - under UP Publications. He later kindly gave me a lift in his car to mine, so the pictures were OK.

Countdown diary of a Cambridge Open Studios Artist - Thu 25th June

Visited the Hills Road Sixth Form College Art Exhibition this eveing as daughters work also displayed there (and looking good!).

A good opportunity to see the wealth of artistic talent and ideas of the next generation of artists!

There were some excellent examples of technical competence in oils with a variety of portraits in styles from Classical to Lucien Freud. I particularly liked two sections, the fashion designs using a variety of materials other than fabrics and the photographers. Particularly struck by some of the monochrome portraits and enjoyed browsing one essay on the use of photoshopping of images and impact on beauty perception.

One series of photos dealing with death and crime suggested potential latent psychopathic tendencies.

Very thought provoking - and reassuring in a way too.

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Countdown Diary Cambridge Open Studios - Wednesday - 10 days to go.

An exhibition also needs some low cost items, such as postcards. This is always a balancing act for an artist - do you go for low numbers (up to a few hundred) at a high price that could sell out or thousands cheaply, but you end up having lots left over after exhibition?

Either way, you don't necessarily get your money back in sales!

I took a gamble and ordered 120 from moo.com. I was able to have 30 designs (4 cards each) done and they've just arrived today looking great! One worry less.

Phone line still down and internet at snails pace - Aaarrgh!

Countdown Diary Cambridge Open Studios - Tuesday - 11 days to go

Picked up my box of Open Studios Booklets from area distributor David Chow in Cottenham who's exhibiting his Photos of flowers this year (studio 131) . Gave some to Alison Hullyer (studio 133) in my Close as she's run out. We've agreed to open on the same weekends as it gets more difficult to attract visitors outside of the City. Went to Post Office, Surgery and Community Centre to stock up their booklets.

Telephone line down and broadband at a trickle at this critical time - BT engineers, Where are you?!?

Countdown Diary of an Open Studios Artist - Monday -12 days to go!

After 2 year gap, taking part again in Cambridge Open Studios as photographer - 149 studios open to public in July!

Picked up my printed pictures from Heather Maunders (artist 82) last Friday and passed on to be mounted and framed by Lesley of FairFrames. Always a balancing act in terms of costs - how many to have as just mounts and how many to frame fully as latter much more expensive. Have gone for 5 large pictures framed and 22 as mounts.

Friday 19 June 2009

The green green grass of artificial surfaces

From Wordle-images

The grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, especially if its an artificial surface, as I found out when visiting Technical Surfaces with Jon Beal of Netflare to provide web marketing training. This gave me a glimpse into the world of artificial surfaces.
With an estimated cost of £300 000 to get a new pitch constructed and surfaced, why should a club or council countenance having an artificial site instead of a natural turf one, especially when the maintenance costs of an artificial surface are slightly more expensive to maintain, at £8000pa (instead of £7500pa for turf). Answer, a ten fold increase in available playing time per week, The average turf play time per week is 4h, in contrast, artificial surfaces permit 40h per week.
Artificial surfaces come in a variety of depths, depending on the sport they are to be used for – very short pile for Tennis and longer pile for football pitches. The surfaces are also seeded with an inert medium such as sand or granulated rubber. Evenly spread this gound supports the blades and provides a hard wearing surface.
To get the most of the artificial surface over its 10 – 15 year life and keep the manufacturer's warranty, it does need regular maintenance. Sweeping is a frequent need, to even out the spread of the sand or rubber ground and straighten the blades again.
Many clubs are unaware that more frequent sweeping and maintenance can have a beneficial effect. For this reason, Technical Surfaces have made it their aim to provide impartial information on artificial surface maintenance on their new (and still growing) website. Jon and I were there to assist them with both website structure and advice on writing relevant articles that can satisfy the myriad of questions by users and owners of artificial surfaces.
Whether its artificial playing surfaces or your website, they need constant care and attention, otherwise they deteriorate rapidly, with concurrent extra costs to put right!
To find out more about artificial surfaces and their care – make a point of visiting www.technicalsurfaces.co.uk over the coming months as their portfolio of articles and case studies expands. For more information on structuring your website and writing productive articles, give me a call or contact Jon Beal at Netflare.

Sunday 14 June 2009

Swine flu update on progress world wide, nationally in UK and within UK regions up to 12th June 09

The news has been returning to swine flu over the past week with the WHO declaration that it is now a swine flu epidemic and that Scotland was experiencing many cases. I've been monitoring the available data from the WHO and the UK Health Protection Reports and feel that sufficient time has passed to provide some visusal data giving a possible insight on whether conrol measures are working, in the form of graphs.

The results suggest the following conclusions:
  1. The rate of new infections apparently slowing down in Mexico
  2. Control measures are having an effect in the USA and world generally in that the rate of new infections is only increasing linearly, as opposed to exponentially.
  3. Surprisingly, the UK is showing an exponential increase in the rate of new infections. Looking at the nations and regions, it appears that England's rate of increase is almost linear, with Scotland having shown an exponential increase over the last three weeks, which could explain the UK figures.
How did I interpret the graphs?

Looking at the wealth of information for winter flu and other flu epidemics, the curves created by data on numbers of confirmed infection show an approximation to an S curve. That is, infections increase exponentially (in a rising curve when plotting total infections against time) until levelling off to a tailing peak. This is how I show the data in my graphs. In a winter epidemic, this takes over circa 24 weeks.

If you plot the number of new cases against time over an epidemic, you get an epidemic curve which has a typical bell shape.

So assessing whether control measures are effective can be seen in two ways; 1. a slower rate of exponential increase during the first half of the S shaped infection curve 2. a lower peak of total infections.

We are only 6 to 8 weeks into the pandemic. It was therefore very gratifying to see that the USA and World graphs did not show the strong exponential increase in infection cases expected in an unregulated epidemic. Instead, the increases show a steady linear increase. In Mexico, there is even an indication that the epidemic is tailing off.

The exponential increase in the UK was therefore a surprise, even though this is predominantly due to the increases in Scotland over the 2 weeks before 12th June. However, we should bear in mind that the numbers of cases could still be a much lower figure than if no control measures had been introduced and also that we see significant changes for the better over coming weeks.

I'm not panicking! But I'm keeping my eye on the situation.

Thursday 11 June 2009

Getting our teeth into Glasgow

Despite a 4am start from Cambridge, Duesseldorf or Malvern, Mark, Marie,Ulrich and I found ourselves relatively bright on the Banks of the Clyde in the early afternoon. We entered the Scottish Exhibition Centre, the day before the British Dental Association Annual Exhibition to find organised chaos reigning as we came into the hall to find and set up the NRW – Dental Technician Mission Stand. Afterwards, I inevitably got distracted with the camera photographing the Squinty bridge and the Exhibition Centre in glorious sunshine.

The remaining delegates arrived later in the afternoon as we had our introduction to Scotland, with James from the Hotel Marriott reception reading out some of Burn's “Ode to a Toothache” to drive home the point of Scotland as an independent nation. Delegates also learnt how to find USPs or examples of their work unique to them by using their answers to client's specific questions and problems. Dinner in a Glasgow Tapas bar broke the ice that evening.

The next day, the German dental technicians put their new found skills to good use at the exhibition. With free internet access, I enjoyed returning the favour of the friendly and helpful reception at various stands with collecting their Tweets for my twitter blogs.

The afternoon included a visit to the exceptional Visage lifestyle Clinic where Dr Attiq Rahman, Director, introduced us to a top of the market, Harley Street clinic, combining Dentistry with Cosmetic treatments. We were all fascinated by the apparently Glass bowl like treatment room, with the treatment chair visible from reception. With smile, Attiq flicked a switch and the intelligent glass became opaque. Waiting patients could therefore gauge when the treatment room was in use or not.

We dined that night at the Piccolo Mondo where I enjoyed my Salmon and discovered an unexpected fellow Chocoholic when the after dinner mints arrived! Fortunately our preferences differed sufficiently; I enjoyed the square mints, my unnamed choclateur (or should that be chocolateuse?) preferred the round orange ones which all our colleagues generously donated to us!

Friday Morning brought us to the equally impressive Scottish Centre for Excellence in Dentistry. Arshad Ali BDS, FDSRCS (Eng & Edin), FDSRCPS (Glasg), DRD, MRD RCS (Edin) Welcomed us to his Top of the Market clinic, into which they had recently moved before dashing off to the BDA exhibition in his Bentley. Rodger & Kevin McLaughlin, father and son in house dental technicians and German speakers gave us a considerable amount of their time. Again, we were impressed by how a dental business vision could be taken to a high level.

Then it was back to the exhibition to support our Scotland based speaker Dr Tobias Rinke at the Seminar on German double crown telescope techniques to a packed room. He was introduced by Consul General Moessinger, who had lent his support to our mission and chatted amiably with us at the reception with invited guests immediately afterwards. The Consul General also gave me an impromptu tweet which, with a twinkle iin his eye, he wished Alex Salmond could see!

A good introductory talk on the BDA by Clare Crishop and colleague, a meeting with Henry of Raconteur, who provide the insert pages for The Times, and many others that we met at the exhibition made this a memorable but exhausting day. But now it was time to Party! Bernd had obtained invites for all of us to the BDA Party at the Corinthian. I was flagging by 11 and returned to a welcome bed – the hardcore party goers stayed on till well after 1pm!

Whilst the party goers recovered the next morning, I made an early dash into Glasgow for a second photo tour of the Merchant City and attractive city centre. After supporting Tobias' second seminar, we went on to Dental Technology Services. I can only describe it as the Shock and Awe visit as we were shown the future of dental technical services and support by Alex Littlejohn and his sons. The forward looking family team have built up an impressive business that has acquired sufficient clout to be approached by those companies seeking places to test cutting edge equipment.

The end of the NRW Mission left us better informed and willing to look towards uniting for further action in order to support the efforts of German dental technicians interested in the UK market.

You can read our tweets collated at

Relevant German articles
on interesting business introduction and setting your company apart from others at:

Participating companies were:
Dentaform GmbH, Schroeter Dentallabor GmbH, Schueler Dental-Technik, Ivorydent, Zahntechnik Horchmer & Joyeaux Meisterlabor, Zahntechnik Peters GmbH, Ulrich Schultheis Zahntechnik, Zahntechnik Roland Volkhardt, Form+Funktion
Dentaltechnik GmbH
, Dental-Labor Froesch GmbH, Teeth 'R' Us, Cooperation for Dental Comfort.

DE Organisers – Bety Chu of NRW International, Marie-Theres Luetje of Handwerkskammer Duesseldorf and Bernd Krey of the Handwerkskammer Koeln

UK organisation & support – Mark Dodsworth Europartnerships Ltd, Chris Thomas Milton Contact Ltd, Audra Green & Helen Murfin of Virtual Advantage

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Tweets from the NRW Mission trip to the British Dental Association Annual conference

From Wordle-images

Below is a collection of the tweets I made as a result of meeting people at the British Dental Association's Annual Exhibition in Glasgow and comments from the fantastic Dental Technicians in the fact finding delegation from North Rhine-Westphalia I was supporting.

The number of hits on links within the Tweets ranged from 9 to 32, with most averaging at about 19 - 20 hits. The statistics revealed that the responses peaked within 24 hours and that half of the visitors were from the US, followed by the UK. I use www.bit.ly to shorten links and they provide the simple statistics as part of the service.

Tweeting from glasgow flyer bus on way from airport to station - assisting German delegation for rest of week in Glasgow

At German NRW stand with Ulrich of Teeth R Us and Reinhard of Helbig Dental GmbH, awaiting the masses at stand D35

Ulrich is the affable owner of a dental laboratory wih a sense of humour and a real interest in working with dentists http://bit.ly/tm23c

Ulrich thoroughly recommends the dentists version of Bohemian Rhapsody at http://bit.ly/Q14Fi !!

Roger Fangemann has already learnt the the UK dental market is not so different from the German one! Theyre like local partners

Reinhards speaking to two young dentists about to set up a practice who liked the cost effectivity of telescope prosth. http://bit.ly/4qWWYJ

Dental crowns do not need to be implanted deeper than 6mm, so why do dentist use longer pins? http://bit.ly/VwyT6

is small beautiful with dental stands at the BDA or does it actually limit what visitors can learn comments Gerd http://bit.ly/SkZrZ

Jaw alignment with Herbst appliances is a real attractant at the BDA when chatting at different stands, see http://bit.ly/vHR7S

DPAS provide dental plans for patients who want affordable dental treatment with their dentists http://bit.ly/12pZQA

BOS represents every orthodontist and their technicians and nurses in UK, lobbying and eduction http://bit.ly/JXwCM

BDPMA help busy stressed dental practice managers run their dental businesses more successfully and profitably http://bit.ly/GfpNi

Excellence in total personal improvement by combining dentistry and cosmetic surgery in one practice http://bit.ly/lUbNG

It is important to know your personality type so that you can communicate effectively with others http://bit.ly/9iRh8

Gathering of great dental minds following a long Scottish dental tradition, says Henry of Raconteurmedia http://bit.ly/HNNuu

A dentist in every doctors practice? That's our business! Toothcare - http://bit.ly/DC19S

The young dentists are so enthusiastic when visiting Genix, says Sian http://bit.ly/Jvu1G

I'ts heartening to see so many seminars focussing on the patients experience at the BDA conference http://bit.ly/3lafpX

looking forward to review of NHS dental Health services undertaken by Jimmy Steel http://bit.ly/YWaS

The Scots are a courageous people who always try to make the best of it! German General Consul Moessinger http://bit.ly/2mhfM

The 50th anniversary of a German diplomatic presence in Edinburgh (General Consul Moessinger) http://bit.ly/2mhfM

"I loved meeting and interacting with the dental professionals at the BDA" says Acasha http://bit.ly/19qWgw

Dentistry with another dimension - Join the Airforce! http://bit.ly/LQf12 http://digg.com/u14uoh

“I enjoyed the visit to the Scottish Centre for Excellence in Dentistry in Glasgow” Okyay Oeztugran, http://bit.ly/aPOQU

“I've seen many interesting business ideas during th BDA conference for my clinic in Germany” Okyay Oeztugran, http://bit.ly/aPOQU

“It was a perfectly organised trip! Good insight into the British dental market. Friendly and open people” Roger Fangemann

“A top organised trip to scotland with a very interesting Exhibition visit” Gerd Joyeux http://bit.ly/SkZrZ

“Finally a big dental market that needs to be developed for telescope technology” Gerd Joyeux http://bit.ly/SkZrZ

“A very interesting trip to Scotland that was well organised and informative” http://bit.ly/vHR7S

“I was able to get a good insight into the Scottish dental market” Roland Volkhardt http://bit.ly/vHR7S

“Useful visit at the Scottish dental exhibition in Glasgow” Christian Froesch http://bit.ly/2KiS5

“You don't have to be a tooth fairy to shrink your dental bill!” Hildegart Hass-Stoetzel http://bit.ly/158IK4

Green Technologies meeting in Stratford Upon Avon

The rolling green countryside and the picturesque town of Stratford upon Avon were an appropriate place to meet Mark Dodsworth of Europartnerships for a visit to Mike Woollacott and his team at Greenwatt.

Greenwatt specialise in sustainable solutions and have particular expertise in the construction and renewable energy side of sustainable development, a growing area of interest for UK industry. Their involvement includes projects from Zero waste, via low carbon transport to sustainable engineering. Probably the best place to get an idea of their scope is to look at their projects page.

Our interest was in a potential synergy with the German market as part of the market assistance Mark and I provide for overseas companies. The enjoyable aspect of being small companies is that we can work together quite successfully for individual collaborative projects to provide a service greater than the sum of our parts. (Also see the Potsdam Green Ventures Album and the separate phototour of Potsdam itself.

It was a glorious day and sinceI had lived near Stratford upon Avon when working a post doc at the Institute of horticultural research, I took the camera into the town to take a few photos, as you can see from the slide show.

Monday 8 June 2009

Exhibition at the Lothbury Centre, Weston Colville

One of the delights of being with the Cambridge Open Studios as a participating artist is that you also help out at some of the pre launch events. This is how I found myself in the Lothbury centre in Weston Colville at the invitation of Clarissa Cochran, not only to exhibit but also to steward the exhibition on the very first Saturday.

This could have been a quiet day in the beautiful countryside between Cambridge and Newmarket were it not for the welcoming and inclusive people of Weston Colville! For on this Saturday, they also held their Fun and family event. Jane Pryor, herself an abstract artist, was besieged by families with junior school children in the hall we shared. Paint brushes, bright colours and enthusiasm abounded as the visitors made leaf prints for a future Church event. A parallel session composed stories about what life was like in a flower.

Alan Ogden, helping organise the events, returned at lunchtime and friendly yet forceful manner ensured that I was not confined to the hall but got out into the sun and enjoyed some of the food on offer. I had the best chocolate brownies I've eaten for a long time!

But what has this to do with Open Studios?!? The village event had a beneficial effect on the exhibition. The parents took a spare moment to view the exhibition; when the BBQ finished, there was a steady trickle of curious visitors. There were at least 22 adults and at least the same number of children who came to look at the pictures, ask questions, peer down my microscope at the delightfully gruesome headlouse and take away the Open Studios leaflets.

The overall moral of the story is that if you want to make your exhibition even more successful in the future, consider joining forces with or timing it to match a nearby event.

The Lothbury exhibition continues till the end of June. Cambridge Open Studios Weekends start the first weekend in July. I'm exhibiting the first two weekends, so do come along to artists 134 (Chris Thomas) and 133 (Alison Hullyer) in Milton!