Sunday, August 29, 2010


A number of months ago it was brought to my attention by a young amazing artist, Jethaniel Peterka ( ), that some of my work had "steampunk qualities" about it. I, of course, had no idea what that meant and so I had to go google it. "Retrofuturist fabrication" is one description I found, along with: "the goal of (Steampunk) redesigns is to employ appropriate materials, such as polished brass, iron, wood, and leather, with design elements and craftsmanship consistent with the Victorian era."

"Unearthing His New Set of Dreams"
Brass, copper, nickel, steel, glass, enamel, vacuum tube, fuses

So, yes, there are times when my work can fit into that description, at least partially. This recent piece, shown above, seems to move into that territory. About a year ago I found an old post office box door with a glass window in it at a second hand store. I finally got to use it in this piece.

The door opens to reveal a set of brass-ended old glass fuses that I put writings inside (on acetate), these represent the unlocked dreams within the figure. The blue backdrop is a picture of the Universe (I love that idea that we all have a Universe inside us). The poem etched on the door is about starting over by one of my favorite poets.

There's also a lens that I pulled from an old telescope in this piece. 

I surrounded it with an etched nickel plate to make it look official. The lens is suspended above an inset area that has a diagram of a heart in the background and another fuse. The lens magnifies the whole thing. This inset area sits within a brass plate 'upper body' segment that has an etched steam engine diagram on it. So there you go, that's about as steampunk as I get.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Very Thing She Knew All Along

Trusting my intuition and gut instincts isn't always an easy thing for me. Too be sure, I am much, much, better at it now than I was in my younger years, yet still I have my moments. This piece, "The Very Thing She Knew All Along", is about trusting yourself and how the process of that can get mumble-jumbled and messy at times. 

I found an old magic book years ago that explained how to create the illusion of making a person disappear up on stage. Mirrors are involved. The angle of the audience's line of sight is important too. There was a diagram of how it worked along with a verbal explanation. The diagram is crazy with many different angles which don't clarify anything at all, but I love the fact that it's supposed to help one understand what's going on, yet confuses the issue. The verbal explanation that went with it was even worse. 

I thought how the whole mess reminded me of certain times when I wanted to trust my intuition, yet when I went to rationalize it with facts, what I saw, and what other people said, that I just got very confused instead. Until finally I would just settled myself down and go with my gut and see that it would turn out that I knew what I knew after all.

This piece has that magic trick diagram etched into the large brass plate, and then it has the verbal explanation etched too - it's just that I've rearranged it and changed out words so that it speaks to the confused process of gut trusting (not difficult for me and very fun). 

There's a woman's face up in the top circle dial. The old time dial symbolizes her brain at work. A telescope lens sits in the arch, representing her gut taking everything in. And the dancers because there is something just so joyful when one finally does get (once again) that intuition is an amazing thing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

All Things Connected

This is the first piece, "All Things Connected",  that I've made using etched nickel silver. It is a metal composed of 60% copper, 20% zinc and 20% nickel, so it seemed like it would work just fine. To etch I use a process that has a salt water bath and an electrical current set up from a battery charger. So there are no nasty chemicals involved (been there, done that). I use a block out on the metal sheet called "PNP Blue" paper that works very well, even for small detail work.  I found that the nickel silver etches ALOT faster than copper or brass with this electrical process. Whereas the copper and brass take around an hour to etch a deep image, the nickel silver was done in about 10-15 minutes. By the way, the nickel silver section is the largest silver looking section in the lower half of the piece.

Here's a detail of it.

This piece is simply about how all of us here on earth are connected to each other. It was made during the time that the Gulf Oil Spill was looking so unstoppable.

I wanted the small female figure at the bottom of the piece to be connected not only by holding onto a plant stem, but also for her skirt of intestines (and therefore her digestive system) to be connected too. I like that every element of the piece comes together as a sort of pyramid - everything precariously balanced on everything else.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

She Is A Bride Married To Amazement

I finished this piece several weeks ago. It is about wanting to stay in the moment and appreciating all the marvelous things that are in my life right now. I seem to be challenged by that notion on a regular basis.

 I liked the idea of a woman being married to amazement and I wanted her to be in a rather 'showy' setting full of the wonderful things that dazzle her. The coral image (enameled) represents the undersea world, the field of stars (etched) represents the heavens, and the earth (enameled) represents all that lives here and just the wonder of the earth in general. The bunch of rose buds, fabricated out of copper, symbolizes love and relationships. There's also a flying fish in the small etched and enameled circle in the center of the coral area - I think flying fish are pretty amazing myself. And then I threw in two trained cats that are jumping on cue through the hoops on either side of her because I thought that would be Truly Amazing.

The bride is making her entrance through some etched brass imagery. I love the dress. The upper part of the piece has 4 talisman images in circles and then one central image of a pyramid which I see as a symbol for always striving for higher ground. The talisman images and the pyramid are all etched too with some transparent enamel on top.

 It makes me feel good having her around.