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New Work

I’ve been busy, but not too busy to make some new things this year. I’ll have a booth at the creative metal arts guild show in the gathering of the guilds at the Oregon Convention Center in late April; I’ll post show info as soon as there’s more details.

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Making a stitched copper cuff

20130109-191505.jpgSteps:

  1. Cut out cuff pieces
  2. Use hammers and other tools to texture and form the pieces for the cuff. When laid out, the cuff should be about 7″
  3. File and sand all edges of the pieces.
  4. Make rivets using about 1/2″ pieces of 16 ga. copper wire.
  5. Mark and drill holes one at a time, riveting as you go (so that the holes will line up)
  6. Try to form the cuff around a mandrel. It won’t.
  7. Try again. Make sure you are wearing safety glasses when the rivets pop out.
  8. Get frustrated, pull out all the rivets.
  9. Decide to stitch with brass wire instead.
  10. Cut 2 10″ lengths of brass wire, ball one end of each.
  11. Use pliers to pull wires through holes.
  12. When all stitches are done, there will be excess wire. Cut this off and use a torch to heat up the ends.
  13. Realize that the ends won’t ball up because the whole piece is heating, and you are just annealing the whole thing.
  14. Spiral form the annealed wire ends to hold the cuff together. Hammer lightly to harden.
  15. Form the annealed cuff over a mandrel to finish the shape. It will form much more nicely now that it’s annealed, and probably would not have had the rivets pop out if you did this before step 6.
  16. Decide that you are done and you like it this way better anyway.

 

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Chasing Pitch Recipe

Recently I made a new batch of chasing pitch, and this time I wrote down the recipe so that I could share it with people. Well, being the paper-saving person I am, I wrote the recipe on the back of something else, and being the conscientious person that I am, I recycled it with a bunch of other papers.

Fortunately I remember enough still that I am going to write this blog post anyway, for those of you who are interested in making your own chasing pitch.

It went something like this:

  • 1.5 oz. Asphaltum
  • 4 oz. pine rosin
  • 2 oz. beeswax
  • 8 oz. plaster of paris

I can’t say for sure that this is 100% accurate; and this was just a test recipe – I’d do a larger batch for working with – but it turned out extremely well. It has a good “tack factor”, releases well, and has just the right amount of give for working with 18-22 ga. copper. Probably would be nice for silver, too.

When I mix up a batch I use an old enameled pot and heat everything on low on the stove with all the fans going, and the house still gets pretty stinky. When the asphaltum, rosin, and beeswax are melted, I add the plaster, and stir with a piece of wooden dowel. Before it cools too much I pour it all into an old cast iron pan that I use as my pitch pot.

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Raising Stake

I’ve finally added a raising stake to the tools in my studio. It’s a basic “T” stake that is pretty versatile for raising bowl shapes. The main use for this stake will be in making copper bowls; I’ve committed myself to having a bowl-making workshop and found that it is a great excuse to invest in more tools.
I’ve made bowls before with the limited tools I have using round doming/dapping stakes for raising. However, to do much beyond a simple semicircular bowl, I needed a raising stake like this one.
The raising method I learned is “raising by crimping”. The basic method is to create pleats or crimps in the metal starting from where the outer edge of the base would be, and then hammering down on the pleats from the outside so that all the metal is raised up to the dimension of the inside of the crimp. this is a lot easier to show than to explain, so when I get started on my next bowl project I’ll post some photos showing the project.
Oh, and generally I won’t use a vise to hold my stakes – it tends to tilt off to the side with much hammering, so I use a stake holder, which is basically a piece of steel with a square hole, bolted to the work surface.

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New Studio Space, New Work

We’ve been moved into our new house for a couple of weeks now and the studio space is starting to resemble a studio. There’s still a lot of organizing to do, but it’s proving to be quite functional and I’m getting some new work produced – soon to be for sale.

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New Custom Penannular

I finished a lovely custom penannular yesterday for a customer on Etsy; I hope she likes it as much as I do. It was a chance to also experiment with trying some new photography. I photographed this piece in the softbox outside on black-brown plexi lit from the underside (not enough, I think). I like the effect achieved and I think if I were to spend a little bit more time experimenting with this setup I would put together a brighter light box for the plexi and diffuse the external light even more. The plexi picks up glare very easily, but makes nice crisp shadows and a rich backdrop.

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CMAG Spring Metal Arts Show

Come see works from metal artists from the Creative Metal Arts Guild. In addition to artists work for sale, there will be demonstrations, activities for kids, and a guild gallery. Being held May 4,5 & 6 at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK Boulevard, Portland, OR. Admission is Free!

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New Directions for 2012

I have primarily seen myself as a metalworker, even though I have enjoyed working with many other materials. I’ve decided it is time to work on combining skills and interests. My first venture here will be a line of purses that incorporate handmade metal components in brass and copper. Today, I completed my first prototype piece for a handbag with an inset repousse on the flap . I’ll be working on the first inventory batches in coming weeks and posting new items to my ETSY store soon. I’d love to hear what people think about the style for the purse and any thoughts people have on the design.

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Watching a Master Engraver at Work

This is an amazing documentary following the process used by one master engraver recreating the work of another. You can see here the amount of work involved in creating metal art by hand.

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