All posts by jrubinstein


The inspiration for this piece is a little hard to explain. In my mind there is an echo of Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” but also a phrase from Aberjhani’s “River of Winged Dreams”

“A bridge of silver wings stretches from the dead ashes of unforgiving nightmare to the jewelled vision of a life starting anew.”

As I worked I was struck by the way that flame shapes so easily translated into feathers

Pheonix front view
Side view

Pied Beauty 2019

This is a far more ambitious version of the fish mobile celebrating Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem than I have made before. It has echoes for me of Escher’s metamorphoses. I’ve made the birds loosely based on the finches he refers to. Like the other fish mobiles it undulates gently even in slight air currents.

Glory be to God for dappled things – 
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; 
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; 
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings; 
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough; 
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. 

All things counter, original, spare, strange; 
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; 
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 
                                Praise him.

Thought Fox 2


This is my third mobile inspired by Ted Hughes’s poem. In the poem the fox is also a thought, an idea, an almost-poem. I wanted to make a mobile in which sometimes you could see a fox and sometimes it would seem hardly to be there.

I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock’s loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

You can read the whole poem here

Burr Elm Box

I made this box and another like it from a really hopeless looking piece of burr elm.  The wood yard was throwing it out and in conventional woodworking terms it should probably have been burned.  It took a massive amount of hard work to bring out it’s beauty but I think it was worth it.

Leaf Mobile

This mobile is not, for once, inspired by a poem, just an idea that came into my head.

The leaves are made by laminating two pieces of veneer together, this makes for a pleasing (hopefully) distortion of the flat shape.  They are suspended from willow hoops allowing for a variation in movement.

I was tempted by the thought of putting “Autumn Leaves” by Nat King Cole into the background but that seemed a bit obvious.

Welcome Signs

I made these signs to welcome some Syrian Refugees to our area. One side reads “Welcome” in English, the other side reads “Welcome” in Arabic.

I’m currently offering these for sale at £45 with £10 from each sale going to “Massive Outpouring of Love (MOOL)” which is our local refugee charity.   You can find out more about MOOL at