Monday, May 26, 2014

Two Copper Boats

I finished and photographed a couple more boats. "Curios" I showed in process several weeks ago and "Industrious" with all of it's red towers (still the favorite color!) I finished just this last week.

Copper, enamel, brass, mixed media

Copper, enamel, nickel, mixed media

Friday, May 23, 2014

Conquering Carpal Tunnel for Artists

In 2005 I got carpal tunnel so bad, I couldn't hold a pencil without a ton of pain. So I did some research and found a book on Amazon that helped me to recover fully.

I highly recommend this book by Sharon J. Butler. She explains all the how and why behind repetitive strain injuries and then goes on to show you how your can heal yourself through simple stretching exercises. I know it's hard to believe that simple stretches can make the difference, but for me it's the difference between being a practicing artist daily or just observing other artists from the sidelines. Depending on one's level of pain she takes you through different stretches, and as you progress into less pain, there are new stretches. All with very simple diagrams to show you how.

I take about 4-5 minutes each day after I quit my metalsmithing and do a few of her stretches and the carpal tunnel has not come back. Pretty amazing no? I hope you'll check it out if you're arms, wrists, hands (back, neck, shoulders, chest) are hurting.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ceramic and Metal Figure

Several weeks ago I finished a figure that not only has a ceramic head, but also a ceramic torso (a first for me). I like the puzzle of figuring out how it all goes together. This one is strung together through the outer ceramic neck on the head that has two holes in it. The copper rod that goes through the outer neck also goes through holes in the inner neck which is attached to the torso (they line up), which is then brazed to a copper neck band. Then I brazed copper wire to the neck band and threaded it through the holes in the ceramic torso "shoulders" and attached copper arms to the wire.

Ceramic, copper, etched brass, nickel.
Wall mounted

To reinforce holding the head to the torso there is also a threaded rod that goes from the top of the head down through the torso and a metal napkin ring to the crotch. Hex nuts go on both ends.

This piece is about the feeling I get sometimes that there is a whole lot of mystery/knowledge just below the conscious surface of things. Something I'd love to get my hands on but seems just out of reach - hence the title "The Mystery Just Beneath the Surface".

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Copper Boat "Curios"

I'm currently working on another boat out of fabricated copper. I've recently been doing the hulls in a much heavier weight copper sheet, up to 32 oz. I love the heavy sturdiness it gives the hull. I'm still using lighter weights for the cabins that go on the decks (24-20 oz).

This one is called "Curios".

Unfinished "Curios" awaiting specimens to be hung from the metal grid on the deck.

I had so much fun with the hanging "specimens" in small glass vials on my last boat (Galapagos), that I wanted to explore different shaped hanging objects on another boat. She'll have some of the objects below hanging off the back metal grid. I'm still trying to decide what goes into the little glass vials.

Curios will have riverboat-style wheels along the side and then one caster wheel in front tucked under the bow. There will be a wheel cover over the side wheels with one of the following graphics on it - I'm still deciding on the color.

Knowing me, it will probably be the more muted yellow version since I've already put so much red on the boat. I'm thinking a little bit of decal on the cabin too, but we'll see. I'm looking forward to playing around with this part.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Somedays She Is Nuclear

I'm not feeling particularly nuclear at this moment.
Yet there are days, now and again, when I work in my studio and the help that I asked for the night before from the Universe is unquestionably there in the room. Isn't it lovely when that happens? For me it is when the strangest concepts enter into my mind, certainly not mine, yet they make total sense and they have a certain grace. Such concepts energize me like crazy, even as I don't quite know how to proceed. That feeling of knowing I'm going to dive into all that uncertainty is delicious. And I also know that there's really no other place I'd rather be.

"Somedays She Is Nuclear"
Copper, ceramic, enamel, mixed media.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Double Decker Riverboat

Another riverboat with a second layer of cabin space. Using blues in the palette on a boat is new for me. I guess as long as I get my favorite red enamel in there somewhere I'll like it.

Fabricated copper, torch-fired enamel, mixed media.