4 min read
Previously, I gave a little studio tour.
Today, let's dig into how I use some of the tools I showed in the tour to make my sculpture and jewelry.
This 4 minute video shows techniques I use to create meaningful, high quality art that will last for generations.
Prefer to read? Scroll down for that version...
The first technique I got most hooked on was holloware - the very slow process of hammering sheet metal into sculptural or vessel like forms with a lot of texture and pattern.
It's a very time consuming labor of love, but the results are worth it.
By combining hammered metal with other techniques like electroformed or cast wax carvings, chasing and repousse, or enamelware, I’m able to capture a wide variety of feelings and emotions within my work.
Like this piece, called Bound.
I mentioned chasing and repousse.
Chasing and repousse is the process of hammering defined texture and pattern onto sheet metal. Sometimes this is achieved by containing the metal in pitch (sort of like tree sap) so the metal only moves where you hammer it, and other times this works over steel and/or wood forms. I tend toward the latter for large pieces because it's cleaner and the amount of pitch needed for large work is often not feasible.
Here is an example of hammering undulating waves and folds into a piece of copper using this method.
And then there is electroforming…
This is the process of plating a substrate with metal, then removing the substrate. In my case, I carve wax forms that I then turn into copper.
Once carved, I coat the wax with electrically conductive paint, then immerse it in a chemical solution with electric currents that draw copper from bars onto the wax piece turning it into shiny copper.
Once I melt out the wax, I’m left with hollow copper forms that I combine with hammered metal to create solid looking sculptures or vessels that marry smooth hammered forms with detailed texture.
Below, mixed in with the mayhem of a busy work table, the black parts to the left and on top of the hammered copper form are the waxes I've carved and will electroform for the piece below.
In this piece, called Dignifier, I sandblasted the electroformed parts to make them matte and combined them with the hammered sheet metal vessel forms to make the whole.
I change up the scale in which I work to give my body a break. Here I’m making small bowls that make excellent functional art for the home.
I use a lot of the same hammered techniques I use in my larger work, but just on a smaller scale.
I coat these bowls with powdered glass which is fused to the copper in a 1500 degree kiln. This process is called enamelware or vitreous enamel. I build up each bowl with 6 coats of glass to ensure depth of color and very high quality.
I make some of them in solid colors.
Sometimes I paint and draw on the bowls using special paint and pencils and fuse it between the layers of glass. In this way, I can tell more of a story in each piece, like this bowl from my Landscape Collection.
I want your kids and grandkids to be able to enjoy these pieces, for them to be passed down generations along with the stories your family creates to go with them.
So far I've talked about making sculpture and bowls, but now let's switch gears to a different kind of adornment...
This final piece wraps up many of the techniques I use on both a small and large scale.
I start by cutting out the parts in sterling silver and yellow gold and filing the edges.
Next, I hammer the small parts in similar ways as that first sculpture I showed. This is raising and planishing on a miniature scale, the same techniques I use on large work to shape and smooth the metal.
Hammering out leaf shapes uses a technique called anti-clastic raising, a way to get complex linear shapes I can combine with those that are smooth and round.
I carve wax on a tiny scale as well. This small leafy bezel part will be cast in 14k yellow gold at a friend’s casting shop.
On the left are my favorite carving tools, old dental tools I got many years ago at a flea market.
Once I have the part in metal, I continue to carve and shape it using my flex shaft with a variety of burs and shaping tools.
After I’ve made all the individual parts, it’s time to start combining them, by soldering and welding them together, including a tube for chain and smaller parts to bigger parts.
The final stage on this piece is setting the rock.
Here I’ve got an antique rose cut stone from the 18th century, a wonderfully old diamond being given new life.
And there you have it!
A silver and gold necklace using many of the techniques I work with on both small and large scale.
Since I make everything by hand, besides ensuring very high quality lasting objects, I can also customize some aspects to best suit your world. For example, I made this necklace with an adjustable 18-20” chain, but I’d be happy to shorten or lengthen it according to your needs.
It’s a pleasure to get to use my skills as a platform to bring unique art to your life.
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