Friday, November 1, 2013

Invitational group show. "People. Places. Things"

I'm pleased to inform you all that I have accepted an invitation to a group show at Studio Gallery 1311 in La Crosse. I posted the postcard...hmm. More information is available on the website of the gallery.

I hope you all can make it. It is going to be a great show. It will be great to exhibit with other regional artists of such great caliber. I will be exhibiting some of my newer work including the pitcher on the postcard above. The pitcher was a tremendous undertaking for me. Months of working and a still sore elbow from hammering. It is also a piece that showcases the combining different techniques I have learned, a very different shape than the rest of my work and a very different approach to the vessel for me.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

little update

I've been hurting for studio time. Working out of a shared space, I ended up having to take time away from my metal projects to remove and replace an engine in a 2000 chevy cavalier for my brother. Thank God it didn't require too much extra time beyond lost bolts and rusted parts. Thankfully it runs and drives great and I can resume building a Viking ship that I have been commissioned to do. I am very eager to get into the "studio" again. I have felt lost without any art to do. It's time to bunker up in the studio and beat some metal before it gets extremely cold out this winter.

I also just updated the "Vessels" page with pricing. Pricing and commission opportunities can be discussed via email found on the contact page.

Thanks for reading. :)

-Adam O.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Home Studio Setup & Re-purposing & Readjusting for the real world outside of the University

Just got back from Decorah, Iowa from the 10th annual "Down on the farm" Iron Pour. It was a great time. I didn't have any work ready for the pour but it was nice to observe for once and lend a helping hand here and there when needed. Special thanks to Kelly Ludeking and family for hosting the event. There were so many nice people. 

Back down to the new-ish studio in the garage today. Need to get more of my work done for the Uptown art fair. Its coming up fast.

Here is what I've been up to since not being allowed in the metals studio over summer like I had in the past...
I have lots of art to make and  the setback with no studio acces forced me to set up shop in my dads garage. I had a rummage sale to clear out projects that are just in the way, but also to make money to buy what I need to complete more work. Rummage sale money got me this nice big "YOST" vise and also an L-shaped piece of steel to make into a stake. 

I also picked up two large bolts and a machinist vise handle to repurpose them into forming stakes.

This L-shaped piece has been cut with a band saw into a rough shape.

I cut, ground and later polished this L-stake which resembles one half of a stake that I used in the school studio.
These bolts got filed sanded and polished into anvils

My primitive setup. Vice on treestump. Typewriter or microwave cart for pretty much all my work surface. Coffee table for tools and such.

First vessel. attempted, still not finished. had to borrow an oxygen/acetylene torch from my dad. Gets a very hot flame. Difficult to see metal temperature for annealing and easily burnt holes in the walls of the bowl as I soldered. Below is the propane torch that could anneal with a massive fireball but couldn't solder. I've since sold it and purchased an old National Veriflow 3A-B glassblowing torch which works very well

Studio space is getting more  mobile and organized. Dads vehicle needs to be in after I'm done working. Small price to pay for using his space... I also found a cheap Chinese made bench grinder for $5. You get what you pay for but It's a bare bones operation right now. I removed the metal shrouds and grinding wheels and retrofitted on a wire-wheel and buffing wheel.

More work has been done.
I took part of an old door and some thin metal wall stud looking things and created a slightly larger bench for the grinder which sat unsecured on a cardboard barrel. I also ordered a cheap "dremel type thing" that came with a screw on flex-shaft for finishing work. Get what you pay for. Like the bench grinder, it hits high RPM's but bogs down a little too quick when working. I ordered pickle solution for cleaning metal, and some patina chemicals. I also have been continuing to invest in things such as files, tin snips, chip brushes, delrin acetyl resin (used to upgrade my two oak hammer heads up to a harder more shock resistant material.) I've Gotten several bowls finished once the new torch and a fresh tank of propane arrived. Also bought an air compressor from my friends at the Vitamin Studio. They gave me a pretty good deal on it. I took wheels off a little old snow blower that I parted out so I could replace the broken wheels on the compressor. I just had to drill out larger holes. I finally found a belt for it ($17) and after some cord repair, it works great for the torch.

Thanks for reading. I will try to get some pictures up of the new work and studio arrangement. 


Monday, June 10, 2013

Well, I finished the semester and decided to take an indefinite amount of time off from school so I can work and focus on the upcoming art fair in Minneapolis the first weekend in August.

My professor decided that he wasn't going to let me work in the studio over summer like I have in the past even though he knew I've been given this big art fair opportunity.

I've been keeping busy with trying to raise money to buy tools and also have been making my own tools in my dads garage. Its primitive to say the least, but I am managing to get some work done. I have a target of 35 vessels to make for the Uptown Minneapolis art fair... pray for me. lol.

I'll try and post pics soon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Bit O' News

Thanks for checking back. A bit of news for you all.

First off...I apologize for the lack of updates. I've been busy with the UW-L gallery shows, the Vitamin Studio of La Crosse also hosted my professional practice class exhibition.

Other than that, I have been working on "Reflections" It is my first two person show. Please join Megan and I for the opening.

I am also pleased to announce that My friends Andy Fletcher and Katie Musolff along with myself, have been selected through a jury process to be included in the 50th annual Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis Minnesota. This happens the first weekend in August. (2nd through 4th) Please Come and check that out. Everything will be for sale. This opportunity has forced upon me the target goal of producing 35 new pieces.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"Egyptian Scrolls"

It has been too long. Without further adieu...

My newest necklace. This is reticulation; where metal is heated to a point where the metal starts to melt and then heat is removed and the metal has a texture from the heating and cooling. I reticulated and melted a part of a Pastie cymbal that a friend donated. I fused steel mesh into the surface of the brass cymbal and then reticulated some nickel silver to put behind it.

I cast a one piece frame from bronze using cuttlefish bone to get the texture. I backed that all with brass and set a nice stone. (wish i could remember what it was.) I also hand made this Egyptian scroll chain. I made 83 of these links in 6 hours. I didn't use all 83 on this piece but it goes to show how long it took; and that doesn't include the process of bending them together into a chain.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

See-worthy vessel

"Orange Slice" -  Copper hollowware vessel  (5 1/2" wide by 2 1/2" tall)
I finished this one a couple days ago. This was the first to have a clear enamel finish on it and looks pretty shiny. The top was buffed to a shine and then a patina was added. The bottom was a former printing plate and the center bowl was just a scrap piece of copper.

A faculty friend at school donated a nice piece of 14 gauge copper yesterday. Thank you!  Two days ago I was in the studio cleaning up a detail on "Nebula" but that turned into re-doing the entire surface and also adding a clear enamel finish. I will post pictures soon for that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thee process

This post is about the process that I go through to make my vessels.

I made a dome out of copper in the school's studio with the materials provided to create a bowl. This ended up being a drinking chalice. I  then decided to try and make another bowl. This time, I wanted to make it double-walled to make it appear heavy. I ended up with "Green Bowl" and it Most were well received during following critiques in and outside of school and so I kept working with this idea.

outer wall raised  from a 12" diameter copper disc

"Green Bowl" -raised copper

Working in the studio at school is a privilege because of all the resources available. Since most students work on small-scale things such as jewelry, I thought that I should find a way to use less of the metal available; as these bowls can be quite large. I looked into buying metal,  but obviously copper is very expensive and brass isn't too far behind, especially on the student budget. I talked to people and found generous friends that would donate materials and I would find many items at thrift stores and rummage sales.

I have gotten a cymbal, some copper dishes, many old serving trays, award plaques and various other forms of sheet metal that were destined for the scrap yard or landfill.

That being said, most of my vessels start out with relatively flat pieces of metal. I take the metal and place it over different shaped swages or stakes and then proceed to hammer the surface of the metal to raise or sink it into shape. Keeping the starving student/artist budget in mind, and also looking toward the future of having my own studio full of tools, I have fabricated some tools of my own. Below you can see "Window to Ankh" in progress with the main tools used. I have been hammering the bottom section of this bowl into shape to match up with the top. The bottom is sunk into the concave shapes on the wood block.

I made two hammer heads out of oak table legs from a table that was being thrown out. I found a big piece of firewood to grind into to form a swage-block. Many times I will use the metal forming stakes in the school, however, they are expensive to purchase so I am figuring out ways to keep making these when I am eventually out of school.

So, as the metal is hammered, it is stretched and also hardened. It is similar to bending a piece of wire. If you bend it once, it is harder to bend straight because the crystalline structure of the metal gets compressed. This also cause the metal to be more brittle and continuing to bend or form it could cause it to tear or break. Annealing the metal is important in the process because it allows the crystalline structure to decompress. This is done by heating the metal. Once annealed and cool, I can continue to shape the metal without tearing it, however, there are limits to how far the metal will stretch.

Many of the vessels have hammered texture on the surface that is created from the hammering into shape but is mostly applied afterwards for decorative purposes.
soldering complete
After  I shape the bottom and the top of the vessel and trim off excess metal, I solder them together. (Other parts, such as the zipper, on this bowl are already soldered onto a portion of the vessel. Once soldered, I can begin working on the final finish. I begin grinding, sanding and buffing.
grinding and sanding completed
Depending on the design and patina I have in mind, several steps may change in the finishing process.
When I am happy with the finished surface, I can add a patina. There are many different options to be explored with these. The patina I chose for this vessel is a cupric nitrate for the green and also liver of sulphur for the dark copper inside. One is applied to the heated metal and the other is just mixed and applied with special techniques to get the desired results.
applying cupric nitrate
After the patina is on, I proceed to make adjustments, clean and check everything over before applying a wax or clear-coat finish.

That is the gist of it.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Ziplace" completed

I finished my first zipper necklace titled "ziplace" a couple days ago. I found a neat zipper on some vintage Stacy Ames dress and bought it along with more junk from the junk store for only $5. I cut the zipper off and then torched what fabric was left holding the teeth together.
After that I reassembled all 420 teeth onto some welding wire. I used welding wire because I know it is very strong, shiny and it will hold its shape very well. After all the teeth were on, I found out that the wire was a bit too small and too hard for the teeth to be crimped onto. The teeth were spinning around and not holding their place. I then took them all off and found some music wire at a store which was just as hard but a little more coarse and with a larger diameter. I even sanded the wire to give it some extra grip.

I broke two teeth attempting to tighten them onto the welding wire and in the process of switching them over to the music wire, I lost some more.

I finished assembling the necklace and felt a need to close the negative space of the zipper pull. I found some interesting pieces of metal from past bronze casting operations. The metal came from the spillage of molten metal out of the molds. The pieces I found were thin and relatively flat pieces with the characteristics of wax drippings. I selected a certain section and proceeded to cut and shaped the piece and then made copper rivets drilled holes in the pull and then attached the two together. This gave the piece a more central focus point on the zipper pull instead of through it and the copper rivets also helped to compensate for the copper stop at the end of the zipper. The wire running through the necklace also happens to be part of the clasping mechanism around the back of the zipper.

"Ziplace" - (chocker necklace) re-purposed zipper and miscellaneous metals
I enjoy this idea of using the utilitarian object (the zipper) and placing it into a different context. I think the idea with the bracelets and this necklace is the idea of change. I like to think of how our society throws things away that have alternate uses or more life left in exchange for something different. I think re-purposing these as jewelry also leads to the crazy thought of zipping off body parts to exchange them for another.

I also started working on another medium-sized bowl pictures soon...

Thanks for reading :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Work in progress

Happy to have this one coming along smoothly. Should have it done today if I can stay away from the computer. I'll post pics as soon as I can. I'm sure it will look much different when it is finished... It is now finished.

Also, Happy New Year to everyone!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Minuscule progress on the bowl today. I'm just getting back into the swing of swinging a hammer for a long time. I started to break in some of the primitive wooden tools I made. I started with my hammer that was previously a table leg from a table donated by the Vitamin Studio. I also used my block of wood that I ground different shapes into as a swage block for metal.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Back 2 life, back 2 reality

I've been away from the studio too long. I finaly made it back in today for a few hours and decided to start with something small. "Zipwrist", a bracelet, was a good start. I've made several versions of the reclaimed zippers in the past and this is my new favorite. I worked on making this one today and was happy to finish. I had planned to work on a bowl that is in progress so I lugged around my tool box and a load of miscellaneous copper for pretty much no reason but I'm happy I started small with the bracelet. I feel excited and a bit anxious to get back to pounding out more bowls. The break has been a good chance to work on other important things and also to get my mind ready for new ideas. Check the "Wearables and What-not" link. I will be posting more pictures than just the two. I also have a feeling I will be doing quite a few of these.