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The Joy of Metals
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Metalsmiths' LiveJournal:

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Monday, August 30th, 2010
12:26 pm
newest piece
This is my newest piece. I'm working on a series of these pendants right now. It's a cast Sterling silver base with antique watch parts riveted on. I'm not 100% thrilled with how the bail turned out, but I can improve that with the rest of them.

*cross posted a couple of places, sorry if you see it more than once.
Monday, November 10th, 2008
4:47 pm
BFA thesis work
I haven't posted in ages, so none of you will remember me. But! I wanted to share some of my art work. I graduated in June with a BFA in metal design and so this is the stuff I made for my thesis exhibition.

Ahem. Warning: shit ton of pictures.Collapse )
Saturday, May 17th, 2008
6:57 pm
My projects
Hello, I am presenting some of my projects ... I'm only an amateur to the work metal...
I have big problems for small parts welding metal (copper, brass) to parties much larger ... For example, legs virus (little fire) to the body of the virus (thick copper tube ).... any suggestions? Thanks...

Others projects...

Please forgive my English is: made in google.
Cornelius Sagan
More information in my blog: alrededor del mundo steampunk
Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
12:18 am
So I went to this lecture at the university....
Posted on jewelrymakers too.

Here is a link to an "essay on design" http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/composit.htm by Charles Lewton-Brain, and for those you unfamiliar with him, yes, that is really his name. He's a high profile academic who has contributed much to the world of jewelry making. Among other interesting things he has to say is "There are a number of design systems for formal composition and these can be found in libraries. They are not much taught in art schools any more in my experience, perhaps because the teachers were not all taught by their teachers."

While on the subject of academia, at the university here last week there were two artists who juried the Nation Ring Show and then spoke about their work giving slide lectures.
Jamie Bennett who made his reputation in enameling, and Jim Cotter of the Jim Cotter Gallery whose work I'd never seen. Bennett was pretty typical for an academic metalsmith, giving a flawless presentation of his work which was excellent but in that academic way, aloof and all very identifiable as his. His enamel surfaces aren't slick, but under fired and rough giving his pieces a very cohesive look. It was not about craftsmanship, but using the media in service of his vision. In my opinion any academic, because they are supposed to be teachers, should show the work of their students. This is a valuable component in how good they are at their job. The presentation of their art is one aspect of it but how well they teach should hold equal importance. That this wasn't and isn't a normal part of reviewing the work of this class of artist I see as a shortcoming and in the service of the ego. This is a huge failing of academic metalsmithing. Many artists can't teach.

In the study of painting it's common to trace the lineage of a teacher and their students and the ones that they taught too. Did you know Pollock was a student of Thomas Hart Benton? Ok, that's not a good example of what I meant. Titian studied painting in the shop of Gentile...uh oh art history is starting to show.

The other presenter Jim Cotter is a producing artist and gallery owner. http://www.jcottergallery.com/
As such is in touch with jewelry on a whole different level. I'd seen the ads for his place in Colorado in Metalsmith magazine but had no idea of the scope of his work.

His show was very slow to get started as there was trouble with the disk he brought not being Mac friendly which sent the tech support people scurrying around in search of a PC. It allowed time for questions about what it takes to get into a gallery, what he looks for in an artist's work, and questions about his background. When the show started it was with work using tin cans from the 60's. He used the Campbell's soup can before Warhol even thought about it. I'd say his body of work exhibited a creativity and humor I'd never seen in any academic before. The guy was fearless in his use of materials. He wasn't out to make a reputation by constantly copying himself in the tedious way stereotypical of academia. His work was about exploration of material and technique. His work was about craftsmanship and materials as well as ideas. He actually used high polished surfaces on some things. No academic would ever do that in this age unless of course it was ironically. He used steel, aluminum, experimented with powdercoating and auto body paint. He also used cement before it was "the thing" in artschool. He was consistently in front of the curve in discovery and experimentation. He was setting river rocks 20 years ago. He drills holes in rocks, lines them with metal then inlays stones in them...he's been doing it for years.

This is the kind of guy who needs to be teaching, someone who actually IS a master of his craft yet willing to explore other areas not already pioneered by legions of others. He's not the "one trick pony" so often awarded the MFA and thinking themselves masters.

I was surprised and delighted by the two presenters and the sharp contrasts between them.
Saturday, October 27th, 2007
5:09 am
my first attempt
we have started our silver smithing class. i made five rings and a pendent, i seem to have a knack for this. i guess i will be making a new living out of this. these are my first attempt at making any kind of jewerlly.picturesCollapse )

Current Mood: accomplished
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007
3:24 pm
Sunday, May 27th, 2007
3:49 pm
ACETYLENE question
Hi there. I was lighting my acetylene torch a bit ago and I accidentally lit it when the valve wasn't letting enough gas through. it made a rapid succession of quiet popping noises and some smoke came from my torch tip. I closed the torch valve and the tank valve and went out of the room. A little while later I came back and turned on the torch valve. gas came out, so I turned it off, got my striker, turned it on again and emptied the hose. then i turned down the pressure gauge.

what should I do now? Was it a backfire? flashback? or am I crying wolf here? It seems okay now. should i get the hose and torch inspected?

Sunday, April 29th, 2007
3:03 pm
Here's a picture of a brooch I made recently for a competition (Ars Ornata - Inside Out), but it also counts towards my degree work (I'm in 2nd year and loving it!). It's a composite skeleton, essentially, and the pin and catch are formed by the hands (one of which is a bat's arm and the other is sort of human).

just the one photoCollapse )
Friday, April 6th, 2007
6:40 pm
Metals networking site?
I stumbled across this site today, and it looks potentially intriguing. It doesn't seem to have a lot of members yet, but the idea of a metals-specific social networking site does appeal to me! I've joined, though I haven't participated yet, and thought others might be interested.

Please note that I am A Bad User and did not wade through all the terms and conditions, so I'm not vouching for them.

I am cross-posting this, so you may see it more than once.

Current Mood: curious
Thursday, September 28th, 2006
9:32 am
Here's an idea for an art project. I want to construct a hanging metal sign. The support will be a basic pole with an arm on it that I can construct at my forge. The sign I want to be a piece of sheet metal that I've cut holes and lines through to form the Japanese kanji for rain. It will hang from the crossbar of the pole from two supports on either side of the top and will be able to swing forward and backward in the wind. I suppose snow might be more appropriate at this point here in Wisconsin; maybe that will be my second one. Maybe I'll make them interchangeable; that would be kind of neat.

Anyway, I've never done work with sheet metal, or even really thought about it. What's the best way to do that sort of thing? Do you cut out pieces with a torch? What kind or torch would I need? I have a feeling the little propane one I have wouldn't do the trick if I'm using sheet steel. Speaking of what I'm using, what's a good compromise between durability against weathering and expense and ease to work with? I certainly don't mind if it turns colors and begins to rust a bit as long as it stays in one piece for a good long time. Notable signs of weathering would be part of the aesthetic I'm going for anyway.

This just came to mind this morning, and it's not something I've ever really done before, so I thought I'd just throw the idea out and ask for comments, any comments. I'll ask my grandfather too when next I see him since he's been working metal longer than I've been alive and will probably have good ideas, but more perspectives never hurt.


(Cross posted to volundsforge and my personal journal.)

Current Mood: creative
Saturday, September 16th, 2006
8:45 pm
My bad
In earlier comments, I said "Ar" referring to silver. I meant "Ag." Sorry about any confusion.
Sunday, September 3rd, 2006
5:50 pm
Questions about gold alloys
OK, I have seen pink gold that's really pink, peach gold that's really peach, yellow gold that's really yellow, white gold that's really white, and purple gold that's really purple though it's not really workable. Green gold is only slightly green-ish, and apparently blue-green gold isn't much better. Deep green gold may be green, but the cadmium makes it a Bad Idea. That leaves me thinking about red gold - Au with Cu - and blue gold - Au with Fe - as possibilities.

With gold prices being so high, has anyone here used these before? Are they indeed red and blue? How tarnish-resistant are they?


Current Mood: curious
Wednesday, August 30th, 2006
5:25 pm
Hi y'all!
I'm a newbie here, a lapidary whose muse is pushing her to explore metalsmithing, specificaly alloying some 14kt blue-green gold. I have a small oxy-propane torch, scale, files, buffer and the like - what else do I need? How do I stir the molten metal? How do I turn it into wire and sheet? I'm thinking about sand-casting a pendant setting - is this hard?

Current Mood: curious
Monday, August 28th, 2006
4:41 pm
Thank you all for your responses to my last post inquiring about welding. I have more questions...ya'all cool with that?

In my last post I'd mentioned that I had learned that a journeyman welder was 3yrs of schooling. What I hadn't realised, and no one mentioned, is that you have to apprentice for those 3yrs. I've also learnmed that apprenticeships are rarely advertised and usually found out by word of mouth.

Does anyone know if there is some sort of preliminary schooling for welding that I'd need to take before embarking on this 3yr deal, without an apprenticeship? Just a community college class or something? It seems odd that I would seek employment for an apprenticeship without any education, ya know? I know-dumb question...but still.

Do anyone have any advise on seeking apprenticeship?

Thank you again........and again.
Saturday, August 19th, 2006
10:43 am
I apologise if this entry is inappropriate, but I'm hoping it's not and you'll all be jazzy and good natured. I'm looking for advise...

I've reached a crossedroads in my life after turning 30yrs old and not having anything more to show for it than when I was 20(which is about ZIP). After living in B.C. Canada for 7yrs I moved back to Toronto with a plan:the plan was to get a welding ticket of some kind and head for Alberta, where they're supposed to pay upwards of $150,000.
Now, of course I know nothing of welding-and I mean nothing. How long the schooling takes, how much the potential cost is etc The college websites are rediculous in how little any information of substance they offer, but after some net searching today, I learned that these Alberta jobs that I covet($40hr with an $80 a day living allowance) are actually looking for a journeyman welder. Ok, so I look that up because, again I know nothing, and what I learn is that this is 3yrs of schooling *gasp*.

I don't know anyone in the field, or in schooling for it. I think right now I'm looking for words from anyone that might've taken this path, or has stories/advise from their own paths. I'm going to leave this post rather open ended, without asking anything specific because I'd dig ANYTHING that anyone has to share.
Thank you all so much.

Friday, August 4th, 2006
1:12 pm
Faceting inquiry
I'm afraid I've been a rather inattentive community owner this summer, but the major distraction in my life is finally over so now I can move on to being distracted by 10,000 other things. I hope everyone has been having a fun and productive summer. The bulk of my studio time was spent in the alloying and forging of our wedding bands, which ended up being simpler than my original plans, but beautiful nonetheless. I'll post photos when I have them.

In the meantime I would love to know whether anyone here has ever gone through the process of having gemstone rough custom cut either on a small scale, or with a foreign commercial cutting service? The main focus of our honeymoon was digging sunstone in southern Oregon, and now we'd like to get the better pieces cut. I am willing to send the less spectacular material overseas; however I do have a few pieces that I hesitate to entrust to a commercial service. I guess the real issue is, how do I find someone I can trust?

For those who are curious, here is a bit of what we collected over 3 days:

Sunstone roughCollapse )
Friday, June 23rd, 2006
3:15 pm
Studio Safety
I work as a Studio tech, mainly my job is to yell at students when they aren't following the rules. One rule that they all love to break is wearing flip-flop sandels to the studio. yeah. And today was no exception.

in a class of about 15 students only three students wore studio appropriate shoes. Well that left 12 studenst in flip-flops. Over by my computer station we have a box of old mens shoes that we make the students wear if they are in open-toed shoes, bad thing is that we only have about 4 pair. I don't think we have ever had so many students conveiently "forget" about the rule ( even though they have been told it everday this week). So my Shop manager made all the students in flip-flops wear plastic grocery bags on their feet. It was funny to see. Granted we know that the plastic bags won't do much protection wise, but it definatly will make the students remember to bring appropriate shoes next time they are in here... well hopefully.

All the professors and older students were laughing thier butts off.

yeah this made my day.
Monday, June 12th, 2006
12:47 pm
soldering on the cheap
I need to solder one sterling jump ring. Only one! I have a butane torch, and some pieces of solder left over from my jewelry class, but I don't have a shop setup at home. What would be an economical way to get this one ring done? I would prefer not to buy large amounts of flux and pickling chemicals while I am doing metalwork only infrequently.. though I can, if I have to.
Monday, June 5th, 2006
8:04 pm
pricing question
Pricing question for you guys: a friend of mine is looking to buy a piece of 14ga sterling silver (for use in a technical application, not jewelry) and have it cut to 1.2x3.0" and polished to a high gloss - close to mirror finish. He has located a local jeweler who can do the work, but he's curious about how much he ought to pay for it, including both the cost of the silver and the labor to finish it.

Here's his quote:

Assuming this person has the equipment to
cut silver plate to size, how much is she likely to charge / how much
should I expect to pay for that sort of service? Suppose she has
1"x6" plate, and I want that cut in half to two pieces of 1"x3". By
monsterslayer, I'd expect to pay $25 plus shipping for the silver,
plus some amount for the cutting service. Like $10 for the cut? Plus
some sort of markup on the silver?

What if I want her to do the polishing?

How much would you charge for this work?

Thanks for your input.
Sunday, June 4th, 2006
1:27 pm
nice work
I suppose this entry falls under the general category of "sharing the joy of metals"; in this case, sharing some joy I just surfed into. Here are a few links to photos and information about a remarkable sculpture in precision-milled bronze and stainless steel by artist Mark Ho of Amsterdam. Amazing, no?


Some info about the sculpture

The story of the sculpture's creation

An email from the sculptor, with contact info and his current selling price of the sculpture
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