Monday, December 6, 2010

Seasons Greetings

My oh my it has been far too long since I have posted anything and so very much has happened. I'll just go through all the happenings in order. 
      Through the month of September I had been making a small series of mokume gane rings along with experimenting with the new casting equipment and getting to know all the other toys err... tools I mean to say. The mokume gane jewelry is on hold for now but I managed to produce four rings and a bracelet that started out as a casting test but evolved into something else. The pictures will come at the end since I have a lot of news to share before getting onto the images.
      Back in early October I had a nice little accident, I left a box of cone burrs open on the side of my desk (as I was preparing to set a stone) after reaching across the desk for a drill bit my elbow came down on the open box of burrs and one of the burr tips broke off inside my elbow (it was really horrible as I could feel the bur cutting the inside of my arm). I took a quick trip to the emergency room to get an x-ray of my arm which showed that the burr tip is lodged in the tendon a few millimeters away from the bone, but should hopefully become encapsulated and not cause any more discomfort. At the time the pain was not tolerable and I could not move my elbow without feeling the burr moving around so I received a prescription for some pain medication and got sent me on my way. 
      About four or five days later I'm not feeling to hot my arm is getting puffy and swollen and the pain is getting worse (it´s time to go get some more medical attention) I go in to see another doctor and sure enough my elbow is infected and I get put on super heavy general antibiotics for about two weeks along with anti inflammation stuff and some pain killers. During this whole ordeal I wasn't able to do much of anything, This was my right arm so I couldn't draw or write, needless to say I wasn't gona try and saw or drill something for quite a while. I did get to see a lot of movies while sitting around in a sling icing my elbow two to three times a day however that wasn't what I wanted to be doing. October also happened to be my birthday month so it was a rather uneventful birthday but as fun as it could be while in a sling. 
      Finally around early to mid November I'm starting to go stir crazy and really need to get some work done for the sake of my sanity, so against doctors orders I decide to try and get a little work done since the pain is far more tolerable and I can almost move my elbow in any direction without pain. So I manage to get a few pieces done for a few clients mostly casting gigs and also start working on a set of more commercial jewelry using some obsidian stones I had purchased in mid September. I really wanted to create some pendants from these really beautiful stones. I decided to give them a fairly simple bezel accompanied by different granule designs soldered together not truly granulated as I simply prefer to solder the granules and actually enjoy the look of solder joining the pieces together, all in all there are eight pendants and I am quite content with how they all turned out.
      In the later part of December I acquired a photo studio light box which has allowed me to take some really nice pictures of all the work created in the studio so far including the obsidian pendants which I just finished a few days ago. Here are the new pictures of some old work and some new work as well I hope you enjoy it.   

Mokume Gane, Silver and Brass Rings

Mokume Gane, Silver, Copper and Brass Bangle Bracelet (Top)  
Mokume Gane, Silver, Copper and Brass Bangle Bracelet (Bottom)
Mokume Gane collection  
Silver and Agate Necklace (finally got a good picture)

The other Agate and Silver Necklace

New Pictures of the "Twelve Cents?" Pieces (Top)



"One Troy Once" (Front)

"One Troy Once" (Bottom)

Obsidian Pendants (Fine and Sterling Silver and Obsidian) 

Obsidian Pendants (Fine and Sterling Silver and Obsidian)

Obsidian Pendants (Fine and Sterling Silver and Obsidian)

I had to take some pictures out in the sun light to show off the brilliance of these stones please excuse the distracting background.

Decided to throw in a few extra random pictures, I took this one while on a brief camping trip I made this Damascus steel knife while at ASU but I think this might be the first picture I take of it... (I got to stop doing that) 

Another ASU piece I call this one "The Orb"

"The Orb" Brass, Copper, Nickel Copper Mokume Gane, Silver Filigree, Steel Gear, Cubic Zirconia and Quartz Crystal (Necklace)   

       Well I guess that about does it for now hope to give you more soon. Happy holidays everybody have a great whatever it is you happen to do this time of year. 
I leave you with happy thoughts and a very dirty sam :o)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Up to date

 The studio is now up and running!  In this post I will be talking about the first few projects to get turned out, what I am working on currently and some new pictures of the studio. Let’s start with the studio pic's and move on from there. 
Looking in through the door. 
Different angle (still through the door). 
Here is the sheet rolling mill, magnetic tumbler, ultrasonic cleaner, vulcanizer and clothes iron. The vulcanizer is only open in this picture because I was getting ready to use it; not to make a mold but I'll get into what I'm using it for later in the post.  
The propane and oxygen tank strapped down and hooked up.  
I love these tools... Draw plates for different wire types and tubing as well as a small anvil collection. 

The soldering, casting and annealing area. Off to the right you can see the crock pot full of pickle.  
Bless this mess. (Where the magic happens... well not all the magic) 

Kiln on its stand, wire drawing bench, tool chest and tanks.  
So this is what happened to the first wire I made in the studio. An oldie but a goodie, I've been playing around with the "Egyptian spiral" and having a lot of fun.  
Some new "Monetary Bondage" pieces this is 1 of 3 "Twelve Cent Pieces?", Starting to play around with some old school money, shells and beads soon to come I am also looking forward to getting my hands on some cool feathers and we shall see where that goes.  
I'm not sure which side to consider the front and which side the back so here is the reveres.  
Here is the grouping of all three pieces; each piece has an "Indian Head Penny" from 1900, a "Lincoln Wheat Penny" from 1956 and a silver dime from 1957. The pieces are made from a brass plate, copper bezel for the key hole limpet (shell), and silver prongs to hold the coins.  
Another addition to "Monetary Bondage" I call this one "One Troy Ounce" 

Brass plate, 1986 Liberty Mint 1oz coin, gold keum-boo, copper bezel, copper tube rivets (bifurcated on one side) and flattened silver wire 

This is the best picture I have managed to get of this piece so far and it really isn't a very good picture at all but oh well. It's been really tough to get the color of the silver and the stone, and not have weird reflections going on. 
I like this picture even less but it shows the lay of the necklace quite well. So this is me having fun with my home made wire and some agate. I really enjoyed making this piece and plan to make more of them just need to get my hands on some more agate.  

This is the current stuff I'm working on, trying to make more bills for "Monetary Bondage". The image transfer onto the metal is always a bit touchy and tricky so I am constantly trying to find new ways to get consistent results. Usually I go low tech with the clothes iron but I find it's hard to get enough heat from the iron when doing these larger pieces so I'm starting to use the vulcanizer and iron to get the results I want.    
Here is an action shot of everything getting a last wipe down with alcohol so everything is nice and clean. 
Here is the toner image face down and taped to the metal. This is another little annoyance, the paper the print shop uses here is different than what I am use to and doesn't work as well so more trial and error going on right now to figure out what works.  
Here I am using the vulcanizer, the first few tests didn't work out to good but I'm getting there.  
Low tech for the small pieces still works just fine and will work for the bills but I really want to figure out how to have it come out perfect every time which has not been easy so far.   
After the image is transferred the paper has to be dissolved off the back. Many people use "PNP paper" for this process but I have never had luck with that stuff and glossy paper is much more affordable and will give the same results, just requires a bit of practice and patience.   
A little further along. 
And here we are ready to etch. Which brings me to another pseudo problem, I haven't been able to figure out where to get ferric chloride in Costa Rica so I have had to try and find other ways to etch my copper; for now I am playing around with muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Its been working ok but I haven’t gotten the deep etch I desire yet so more trial and error till I find what works well for me.  
Results may vary on the left is a good example of clean it off and try again. On the right just a few little touch ups and into the acid it will go. Looks like its more tests for me to figure out which paper will work best and how to get the transfer 100% every time. So this is where I am at for now more to come soon... 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fashionably late

Early September and the last few items (primarily the sheet rolling mill) finally make it in from the US (since this was a small shipment, these items came by plane instead of boat, this made things go a bit more quickly).  

This is it, the box that holds the sheet rolling mill. 
The other box that I was also waiting for. If I remember correctly there was an anvil, some buffs, some burrs and a few other goodies in this box.  
Here is the mill fresh out of the box. 
Bolted down to the table degreased and oiled up. Notice the oiled up sponges to keep the rollers clean and lubricated.  
Here are the two rolling mills ready for action.