Thursday, January 13, 2022

Solo exhibition

I'm having a solo exhibition at Bethany Lutheran college - Ylvisaker art center in Mankato, MN. The exhibit runs from January 16 until February 16, 2022 with a reception and Artist talk at 7pm on January 20th. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Blast from the past

 I have been preparing for an exhibition reception for January 20th, 7:00pm at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN. As I've been updating some of my information and was looking for info online when I came across this article about the La Crosse Pop-Up Art show I organized with help from some other friends. I very much wish there were more pictures than the handful I took before the show got crazy. I haven't done another but I still have the sandwich board sign.

I believe this sorry aired as the show was starting at the old "Mjolnir studio" on June 16, 2016. It got packed and was quite a success.

The BLC show opens on January 16th and ends in February 16th 2022 with the reception on the 20th at 7pm. I will be doing a chasing and repoussé demonstration as well.

Come see this new piece!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Sea is for turtle

Here's a sea turtle I made out of copper ground wire, a capped/cone-shaped end of a plumbing pipe along with architectural copper as well as parts trimmed of from raising the urn project.

This was mainly chasing and repoussé rework a bit of piercing (sawing) forging.

Finally, the piece was Tig welded, finished with a cupric nitrate green patina and sealed with a microcrystalline wax.

#seaturtle #coppersmith #metalsmith #OldRepurpose

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Thank you

 I just wanted to say thank you for reading my little blog and checking out what I've been up to. I'm pretty bad at regularly posting new things. Life just never slows down apparently. I'm thankful for all your interest in what I do, and for talking the time out of your busy life to check in here. I don't have a that interesting life comparatively, but it's mine and I try to live it in the best way I know how. The older I've gotten, the more lessons I've learned. I wouldn't be where I am today without the faith I have in what Christ has done for me. He's my oasis in the heat of life, my beacon in the harbor and everything I never understood I could fully rely on to take care of my every need in life. I have been trying to straighten out my ways more lately to be a better Christian for the sake of his kingdom. I've been trying to also make more time for family and helping others. As little as I do of that, I have found myself doing various things other than focusing on art. I've been building and fixing some things for the studio and for the sake of fixing broken things.  My welding skills are much better. I feel more confident and able to get back to making metal art of a different fashion. I will share a few things that I've done in the time between this post and the last. I could talk more but understand time is of the essence and you have other things to do. So without further ado:

Artisan Forge in Eau Claire Wisconsin took in some of my work to their awesome studio/gallery/ awesome place. They also let me participate in a socially distanced art fair on the grounds. Definitely look them up and check the place out.
One of several leaf commissions completed since covid started.
Baptismal font for the Roncalli Newman center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This is the largest vessel I've raised and also the first piece I tinned. The base was completed by another artisan.

I'm proud of this table I made from repurposing a table base I got from the old Brum foundry in Goodview / Winona, Minnesota. The top I made from 1930's pine bowling alley floor from the south lanes bowling alley in La Crosse. I purchased there before they closed permanently. The metal frame for the top was metal I found in the recycling room at work; angle iron with a nice off-center radius. It worked beautifully for the flooring. I did all the staining, fabricating and all except for sandblasting and painting the base and frame.

I'm realizing that I've done a few creative things after all. It's been a bit sporadic however... This bracelet idea came when I was given a broken leather purse to repurpose. The purse was made entirely out of what I had called "leather peanuts" these pieces were linked together to make a bracelet. After a few hours I came up with this design for a clasp. I wanted to keep a relatively similar design to the shape of the links and therefore the mechanism to lock it together became a fun challenge. The picture below is another name plate nail handed down to me by my father. This is of the same stock that I used in the grape clusters of my post "botanical art".
Slitting the nail to make the clasp mechanism

Other, more simple, variations that can be more easily produced. These show different patina and texture combinations.
Leather peanut shaped clasps ready to be cut from reclaimed architectural copper roofing.
A painstaking PAINt-stripping project that turned out as good as I had hoped. This street light was headed for recycling at work so I bought it for scrap in maybe 2015. I've carried it around with the intention of making am indoor floor lamp with it. FFW too late 2020 and I had also been holding onto this white painted architectural pillar for at least a year or two. It took many many hours to chemically and mechanically scraping and brushing off the old paint. Beneath that was the beautiful old wood column that I'd guess was over 100 years old. (Yes, the paint was probably not latex or oil) anyways, I assembled and wired it top be my floor lamp. Days before completing it, I found a cast iron table base to serve as a base to keep it stable.

Dyed bracelets
I made a cell phone holder for above my work bench. Made from hotel wall sconce, guest book pen swivel and security window frame... All from the recycling room at work.

AA receiver hitch plug made from stainless steel. I made this for my friends in recovery.

Rolling metal storage rack I made for the studio. 
I'm happy with the way my wheel brackets turned out. I spent lots of time designing and building these.

Thanks again for checking in and God bless.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Botanical art.

A few new and different items. These where are made by chasing and repoussé with some forging and fabrication. The grape cluster and leaves as well as the Apple leaves and the maple leaf where hand made from reclaimed copper and are made to scale. The Marquette grape clusters are half inch blue glass marbles as requested by the client who happens to have a Vineyard and also collects marbles. This botanical art was all commissioned by two different people and has been a fun learning experience. There will probably be more of that in the future  but as of now I only know  that there is one big copper bowl coming down the pipeline and on August 8th I will be in Charlevoix Michigan at the waterfront Art Fair. Come visit.


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Completed Urn

Finally delivered so I can share this. Work time on this piece was right about 100 hours. First time for: hand made threads, dovetail joining technique, hand engraving and using the jewellers saw with the flat blade sideways and cutting backwards. Funerary urn commission inspired by Greek volute krater urns. Raised from flat sheet copper by hand hammering.. One piece outer shell, foot, threaded collar and threaded cap with added trim rings and handles. A very exciting piece to accomplish.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Funerary Urn / Raising process explained

Greek Krater funerary Urn.

This post aims to show the general process of raising a vessel. 

Pretty much every vessel I make is raised from reclaimed sheets of copper or brass , this one being an etched printing plate made of copper.

Most vessels I make are raised from a disc and so I cut the printing plate to the shape.

Most copper or brass you will find is in a hard state. When metal is cold formed or forged the crystalline structure of the metal gets compressed and as working continues it becomes harder and more brittle; this is called work hardening and the metal needs to be softened in order to continue forging without causing the metal to break.

 Annealing is the process of heating the metal to a hot enough temperature that the crystalline structure of the metal relaxes or expands. After the metal has been annealed, you may cool the metal and now that it is soft again, you may form the metal until it becomes hard again.

After I anneal the metal I clean it in a mild acid to remove the black firescale from the surface so that when I Forge the metal it does not get embedded in the surface and discolor the metal.

Now, with soft copper I begin hammering concentric circles from the center of the disc around and around until I reach the outer edge.

Due to the varying force and placement of the hammer blows, the metal is displaced like a ripple moving from the center outward. As the raising continues some of the inconsistencies get more and more pronounced and wrinkles develop.

Before the wrinkles get to hardened or too deep, one must take time to hammer them down and planish (smooth) them out.

Throughout the entire raising process, annealing must be done every so often as well as taking the wrinkles out.

The metal must always be kept clean of fire scale and debris so that no unwanted particles are hammered into the surface of the metal.

Wrinkles smoothed and piece work hardened again.

Quenching the hot metal in the cleaning acid


Several more rounds with a plastic hammer avoids adding too much texture and yet it's still work hardens the metal.

Typically only a couple concentric passes over the surface of the vessel being raised and it's most likely that the metal needs to be annealed and cleaned again.

Working in circles from the center out the metal sheet is displaced in space just like a ripple on water and every time the Ripple gets to its lowest point it stays there and that is how the vessel grows into a voluminous form.

Metal vessels, such as pitchers, bowls that are made in this fashion are referred to as hollowware.

I usually take my vessels in a different direction by adding an inner bowl in order to make the vessel double-walled and appear to be more of a solid mass.

New torch tip arrived :-D

Rings are scribed or drawn to help raid the vessel symmetrically with balanced hammer blows.

The most difficult part of this form is when the disc is raised into a cup with vertical signs and then those sides AR being hammered beyond vertical towards the center, thus forcing more material to compress into itself, causing the material to become thicker and harder to manipulate.

Starting metal thickness and thicker end product from forging metal structure into itself

I hammered sop so that I broke my t-stake. They're about $400 new so I forged some pieces and made a custom one tip for the shape of the urn

Top trimmed down.
41 hours of hammering gets you this far.

The metal is shiny because it has been burnished by the blows of the metal hammer and now it is in a work hardened state again.

Copper water pipe

Copper water pipe flattened

Flared and scrolled

Fitting handles

cutting my first dovetail joint ever

Inner thread collar

Making the foot(base) from a printing plate

Ready to solder foot on

Anything I could find with added tape to increase diameter for the jig to help with making threads. (First hand made threads)

Coming together. Several reclaimed pieces for potential incorporation and for reference. 

Making threads mesh together

Forging lid from copper printing plate

Cannibalized water pitcher to make lid handle

First time using jewellers saw with flat blade in sideways and cutting upwards

Checking fitment off top rim

Acid cleaning after soldering rim 

Extra ring added to foot for aesthetic appeal and solder and scuffs being buffed out/cleaned up

Funerary urn in the style of a Greek Krater.

Awaiting more detailing, more hammered texture buying, cleaning and patina.