Apr 222016

"Potest Facere Melius" wooden table carved and biro sketching by Chu

Soker asked me into (probably) Bristol’s very own super crew, A.S.K. or After School Klub. Ben at Hang Fire was very interested to schedule a 21-strong group exhibition, with the crew’s blessing.


I had a table-top that had been around in the family for several years, the wear and tear of many cuts. The kind of table that was initially scared of a few modern marks, but over time it took on the usual beautiful patina of a crafty battleground. This was to be the stage for an ambitious creation of a coat-of-arms for the crew.

Latin scroll sketch for "Potest Facere Melius"

It is typical for heraldry to incorporate a Latin motto, so I wrote ours as ‘Potest Facere Melius’, which – without actually approaching a scholar and according to Google Translate – means ‘Can Do Better’. My limited knowledge of the language, garnered at secondary school, suspected it was accurate enough for an appropriate slogan for a band of dysfunctional pirates. It was a minor improvement on “Ventosa Veri Restabit” which I wrote on the Canalside Mural with Concrete Creations way back in Birmingham (it was engraved on a brass plaque which was later stolen from the site).

The crest was initially guarded by a rat and a pigeon but I felt it distracted from the centrepiece which featured four divisions depicting some of the common attributes shared by my fellow Klub members:

  • Toilets
  • Alcohol
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Chatting sh*t

I also planned for the crest to get a crown topping the lot (obvs).

There were a few of my concepts used for the opening night such as a tuck shop and school disco, the piece just had to be made during a self-inflicted detention too, just to go with the school vibes…

Work in progress

I scribbled/scratched the artwork onto the table freehand, under a daylight bulb during the night hours. To give the biro ink some purchase I had to etch away at least the first, polished coating. The varnish, once I began etching it away, soon became coffee, then tea and finally a vanilla. To make the lighter tones required engraving through the first wood layer completely – all done with a small, rotary sanding disc. The removal of all this coating created a new kind of dust – for me at least. Not nice at all, sort of gluey… I had to dust away any of the resulting powders as I went. It wasn’t good to have this concoction inside any of the ‘trenches’ I worked into with the biro, the pen would accumulate a dust/wood/ink soup.

360° panorama

You can drag the view around by clicking and dragging the left mouse button, the gyroscope allows you to tilt the view around you on a mobile such as iPhone.

View the 360° Panorama FULL SCREEN

Mobile – zoom in & out by pinching, choose whether you want the gyroscope switched on or off by clicking the icon (only necessary for portables)

Computer – zoom with CTRL/SHIFT or mouse-wheel

Where is the show?

The show is on until Sunday 15th May 2016 at:

Hang Fire
49 North St, Bristol
Tel.: 0117 329 3553