Volume I Issue V - ArtMetal Features

Volume I Issue V

(above) Ulrich Skrodzi's grasshopper is part of Hephaistos's Metalsmith Showcase

In this Issue...

Sound clip update to "Expressive Design in Iron"

Up to the nanosecond with your ArtMetal News

New Artist adds "Magic Objects" to the ArtMetal Exhibiting Artists Gallery

Discourses of the Resources

SNAPSHOT views "Chalice" of many materials

Sound Clip Update to "Expressive Design in Iron"

For those of you who have already read the panel discussions during the symposium and wanted more, we have added two sound clips which document the comments made by Albert Paley and Richard Wattenberg during the symposium. Albert speaks on the individual artists educational development and talks about his own personal experience in developing his "vocabulary". Richard comments on artists personal endowment and why they have to be obsessed to be good artists.

The two sound files are in three different formats. The different formats are so that they can be heard on a variety of systems. You will see appended to the end of the sound clip name either a .aif - Macintosh compressed 11kHz 8 bit, .au - Unix / Macintosh 8kHz 8 bit, and .wav - Microsoft PC 11kHz 8 bit. These files are relatively large so you may want to go ahead and start downloading one while you read the other feature articles. Mac users note that the .aif file is much smaller than the .au file but you will loose a little bit of the sound quality with the .aif file.

Albert Paley - Developing Personal Vocabulary (6:09 min.)

paley.aif 1338k paley.au 2889k paley.wav 4012k

Richard Wattenberg - Artists Personal Endowment (5:22 min.)

Watenmak.aif 842k Watenmak.au 2523k Watenmak.wav 3504k



The British are HERE! BABA - the British Artist Blacksmith Association has arived on the World Wide Web and have joined forces with other International metalworking organizations here at ArtMetal to bring to you the best of artistic metalworking worldwide. The British Artist Blacksmiths Association was formed in 1978 and exists to promote the highest standards of craftmanship and design among artist blacksmiths in the United Kingdom and throughout the world. While the membership is largely composed of professional craftswomen and craftsmen, the association is open to anyone who supports the aims, is interested in the craft, or who is involved in architecture, design or design education.

Among the articles that BABA starts with is one that I am especially greatfull for. "Working with an Artist Blacksmith" - written by Peter Parkinson and published in hard copy by BABA for the architectural and design community explains some of the issues blacksmiths have been trying to impress upon the architectural design industry. Peter goes into the role of the artist blacksmith, commissioning the artist blacksmith, metalworking joint details, and a metals overview with details on metal finishing. This article has been reformated into several Web documents that are hypertext linked to other resources within the ArtMetal archives. Architects and designers wanting to get an idea of what artist blacksmiths are capable of doing, should take a good look at this article.

Another activity which BABA has undertaken is the traveling exhibition called "Fe-An exploration of Iron Through the Senses. " During 1995 and 1996, this international exhibition of new contemporary iron work organised by members of BABA, is touring to ten public art galleries throughout Britain. This selected exhibition is the next step forward and shows the wealth of creativity and innovation which is at present pushing forward at a vastly accelerated rate, influencing both design and artistic interpretation of the properties of iron.

Keep your eyes peeled back because in the near future BABA will be displaying some of the artwork that is in this traveling exhibition.

Hephaistos"Schaufenster" Walfrid Huber points out that, "The Medium is the Root of the Art" is not a scientific treatment of iron. Rather, it is a brief look into the historical background of our ancient material with its peculiar properties. Many of the questions about the typical forms produced by the masters of the past can be answered by scrutinizing their technique. Many puzzles can be resolved surprisingly quickly with a knowlege of how the ancient iron was made and worked. Walfrid goes into great detail about the different types of iron and how it was processed throughout the ages.

Nana Schowalter / Sculptor

Nana's most recent work is a series entitled "Magic Objects." The inspiration for these pieces comes from her dreams and research about symbols and objects of ancient cultures. She is most interested in the images left us before the development of written language, for these symbols carry a pulse to the lives of ancient humankind and tell us what images carried meaning for them. These ancient people did not by definition make art, but rather made objects that symbolized spirituality and served as sacred objects during rituals and celebrations.

"Forging a Taper"

The process of tapering is one of the five basic processes used in forging steel. While it is virtually impossible to taper a cold piece of steel, it is very common and easily accomplished while the metal is hot and malleable. Enrique Vega explains two processes used in forging a taper. The first is explained using the standard cross-peen hammer and anvil. The mechanical hammer process is also described and illustrated with a QuickTime movie (1,466K) which shows the tapering process on a 25lb. Little Giant mechanical hammer. This clip will give you a good idea of working the end of the bar to achieve the taper.
taper.mov (1,466K)

Hydrogen Peroxide H2O2 Pickle

Wouldn't you like to find a way to prevent from having to resort to mechanical abrasive techniques on those nasty red oxides left on brass after heating? Well Bill has developed a special pickle for the removal of the red oxide coating produced on brass from heating and soldering processes. This formula is relatively safe, because it is based on drugstore variety hydrogen peroxide.

Bill Seeley is a graduate from the University of Kansas and has provided some very well written articles on reactive metals to the ArtMetal Project. He is thorough in explaining the fine details needed to fully understand non ferrous metals and this article is another one that will help you become a better metalsmith. Kudos to you Bill!

A Metal Melting Furnace

Klaas introduces a small gas fired metal melting furnace for small amounts (50..300 grams) of ferrous and nonferrous metals. Yes, this furnace can reach temperatures of up to 2500 F within 15 minutes! And Klaas goes into ALL sorts of tips and techniques on how to melt your favorite metals in this high quality small furnace.

A Simple Method of Making Raised Letters for Casting

Hank shares some interesting ways of incorporating lettering into castings when raised lettering is required or necessary on the surface of a metal plaque, sculptural form or a piece of jewelry.

How to Select a Foundry

Have you ever had the notion to have your original artwork cast in editions so that you can earn additional income from your one-of-a-kind art piece? Well, look no further because Mark explains some of the ins and outs of getting your artwork ready for casting.


The SNAPSHOT feature highlights metalsmiths from around the world. This issue we go back to the United States where Gene Davies who is living and working in Los Angeles, has set up his web portfolio.

"I really didn't have much in the way of formal training. I took a semester of jewelry arts in high school, mastering the skills of breaking sawblades and finger drilling. I read lots of books on jewelry making and set up a small workshop in my garage, making simple jewelry to sell at craft fairs and swapmeets. After high school I moved to Oregon and opened a small jewelry shop, but that only lasted a year, so I took a job as a welder in a steel shop.

A few years later I moved back to Los Angeles and landed a job working on really big metal sculptures, high rise buildings. I eventually made welding foreman and worked at that until I had the bright idea of opening another jewelry store. It didn't take long to realize I was now working longer hours for less money, but at least I was my own boss. It's ten years, and about twenty-two thousand jewelry bench work hours later, and I think I've got the hang of it!"
...Gene Davies

"The chalice was fabricated from 20 guage sterling silver with 18 karat yellow gold bezels and trim, and fine silver bezels for the gemstones on the cup. The stem was cut and polished from a large smokey quartz crystal. The cup is set with the following gemstones, a 41.5 carat moonstone, a 35.2 carat drusy chrysocolla, and a 27 carat lapis lazuli carved scarab. The base of the chalice is set with a 38.9 carat sapphire, a 23.5 carat amethyst, and an 18 carat peridot. I built the chalice for fun, and for a way to display the gemstones. I got tired of just looking at them in a box."

If you are interested in downloading previous SNAPSHOTs, go to the ArtMetal archives and FTP to the pic_mnth directory. There you will find previous months text files by artists name and the accompanying gif/jpeg files. Each set of files will have the same name with a suffix of .txt, .gif or .jpg.

Want to be featured in "SNAPSHOT"? Send an email notice to Hank Kaminsky. There are several ways to get the information to him including snail mail.