Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Keeping up with the Monetary Bondage/ Exchanghibition Bank Collaboration

 Just wanted to let you know.

The newest update in the "Monetary Bondage", "Exchanghibition Bank" collaboration has just been posted! Please CLICK HERE to read the latest update.
Hope to be back with more soon.
Until next time,
Peace and Love

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Corona (Not the Beer!)

Just finished the second crown ring and I can't wait to start making more of these pieces.

"Crown No.2" (front), Daniel Icaza, 2011, Fine Silver, Sterling Silver, Patina

The first ring I created in this fashion was a European style crown, I decided to attempt a "tribal design style" for this piece and I love the result.

"Crown No.2" (side), Daniel Icaza, 2011, Fine Silver, Sterling Silver, Patina

I love examining all the swirl designs and patterns. I let my imagination turn the swirls into animals and I see how many different animals I can spot.

"Crown No.2" (back), Daniel Icaza, 2011, Fine Silver, Sterling Silver, Patina

I haven't made an "official" list with all the animals I have "imagined" so far but the ones that I see most frequently are ducks, snakes and owl's. What do you see?

"Crown No.2" (model), Daniel Icaza, 2011, Fine Silver, Sterling Silver, Patina

I think I enjoy letting my imagination run wild with interpretation because, I don't design these rings before making them. I prepare my materials and then let the pieces create themselves so to speak. It's an intuitive and serendipitous process for me.

First two "Crown Rings" CLICK HERE to read about the first "Crown Ring" I created. 

Can't wait to start making a bunch of these rings.
I'll be back with more to share soon.
Until next time,
Peace and Love

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Work Hard for the Money!?!?!? (LOL)

Just wanted to quickly share the newest addition to the "Monetary Bondage" series. Here is another quarter dollar for your contemplation.

"Gold Bars" (front), Daniel Icaza, 2011, 24K Gold, Fine Silver, Copper, USA Quarter Dollar 

Hopefully this causes you to stop and think for a minute. . . If not(?), let me get the ball rolling. . .

My most recent thoughts about money have been loaded with irony. Primarily based on the idea that no matter what your "money" looks like (or how beautiful/valuable it is) it basically just sits around and looks "pretty". One of the biggest difference in between art and money is where it sits around. Money mostly sits around in a bank and usually only moves to another bank to do more sitting around. Art (if lucky) sits in a museum and might move to another museum from time to time to do more sitting around. I find it very silly that many of the things people cherish and prize do not directly serve a necessary physical purpose or function.

Whether you have a million dollars in a bank account (which are really only numbers on a computer screen in today's world) or you own an original Picasso; chances are neither of these "treasures" really do much of anything for you on a physical/active level. Both primarily serve only to comfort you in an abstract manner which may or may not manifest into a physical action.

The money in the bank may gain interest and "work for you" by just sitting around, but really this work and value is only theoretical. The money itself is not doing work and is not actually worth much of anything without its supporting concept giving it value. In this context money has little ability to manifest physical action.

"Gold Bars" (back), Daniel Icaza, 2011, 24K Gold, Fine Silver, Copper, USA Quarter Dollar

The work of art on the other hand may be traded and valued on a scale like money. However the art may have a greater potential for manifesting physical action do to its ability to profoundly interact with a viewer and cause the viewer to take physical action.

In both cases the money and the art do not do much if any physical work, but it is the concept that they embody which causes us to produce physical action.

Ok now it's your turn, keep the ball rolling. . .

I'll be back with more things to share soon.
Until next time,
Peace and Love

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

King Me!

Here is a little project I recently finished and want to share with you. I have been inspired (can't quite remember why) to create a "crown ring", and by that I mean a ring in the shape of a crown.

Crown No.1 (front), Daniel Icaza. 201l, Fine Silver
It is not the most original idea that ever crossed my mind, many artists and designers have made rings in the shape of a crowns in the past... and present. However I decide to try my hand at creating my own any way.

Crown No.1 (front), Daniel Icaza. 201l, Fine Silver

This is what I came up with the first time around. 

Crown No.1 (front), Daniel Icaza. 201l, Fine Silver, Patina 

Although I did find this ring to be incredibly attractive in a white/silver polished finish. I simply could not resist darkening the piece as I personally prefer the look of "aged" silver. 

Crown No.1 (side), Daniel Icaza. 201l, Fine Silver, Patina

I really enjoyed making this ring and find the form to be very pleasing.

Crown No.1 (back), Daniel Icaza. 201l, Fine Silver, Patina

I hope to experiment with different designs and make a few more rings when I find the time. 

Crown No.1 (model), Daniel Icaza. 201l, Fine Silver, Patina
I often feel like I should "buckle down" and focus on one body of work instead of starting new projects every week. Oh well... I suppose variety is the spice of life ;op. . .
I hope I managed to bring a little spice into your life.
Be back soon.
Until next time,
Peace and Love

Fifth Entry: How to Fabricate Tubing (Creating a Fine Silver Tube)

Welcome to the fifth entry in this series of articles. In this article, I will be demonstrating the process I use to fabricate tubing out of precious and semi-precious metals (specifically fine silver will be used in this “tutorial”).  You will need to know how to solder to fabricate tubing, so if you don’t know how to solder yet check out the “Fourth Entry: How to Solder (An Introduction to Silver Brazing)”. Fabricating your own tubing is in some ways very similar to drawing your own wire, so I also recommend reading the “Second Entry: How to Make Wire (Manually Drawing Wire)”; if you are not already familiar with the process of fabricating wire.

Necessary Materials and Tools:

-Small Paint Brushes/ Tweezers/ Soldering Picks
-Quench/ Pickle Rinse
-Scissors/ Snips
-Soldering/ Annealing Area
-File/ Sandpaper
-Dapping/ Design Block/ Forming Block 
-Round Mandrels or “Dapping Punches”  (many tools can be improvised to meet this need such as round punches or old (round) file handles)
-Rolling mill (grooved for wire and flat for sheet)
-Drawplate/s (round, square, oval it is up to you…)
-Measuring tool (caliper or gauge plate) 
-Compass/ Divider

As is often the case, there are many roads, and they all lead to Rome... Making tubing is no exception. There are many methods and this is just how I have come to do it after making many tubes over the years. The most important aspect in this process is making sure you have a quality sheet of material with nice parallel edges to start with.

TIP: If you have a nice clean factory cut sheet to work with, you can simply trace a parallel line down the sheet with your compass. Cut straight down this line and you should have a nice parallel strip of material. No straight edge to start with?... Make a straight line with a ruler and scribe, cut the line, file the edge straight, then trace a parallel line with a compass off of that line.

Wire before rolling through the mill.

A nice trick I have figured out, is to start with a thick piece of wire and roll the material out into the exact dimensions you desire. To learn how to roll your own sheet metal take a look at this entry “Third Entry: How to Roll Sheet Metal (Creating Gold Foil/Leaf)”.

The tubing I am looking to fabricate is to be used for hinges and stone settings. For this reason, I want to create a sheet of metal at least .3mm thick. This will provide the tube with some “wall” material to work with (I want a tube with fairly thick walls). Since this tube is supposed to satisfy a variety of needs, I am not paying too close attention to the length and width of my sheet. My goal is to create a sheet that will create a tube/cylinder around one of the smallest punches I have.

NOTE: Although the punch is small, it will create a rather large tube just able to pass through the largest opening/s of my drawplates.

Wire after rolling through mill, now ready to be turned into a tube/cylinder.

To produce the necessary sheet of metal, I roll the thick wire through the rolling mill “width-wise” (I want to make it wider, not longer). Once the desired width is obtained I then roll the sheet length-wise until the desired thickness is obtained. The extra length will only give you more tube to start with, the more important characteristic for the tube will more than likely be the wall thickness (determined by the thickness of the sheet).

IMPORTANT: Make sure to anneal your material when necessary!

In this process it is always necessary to create a tube/cylinder larger than what is actually desired. This is done so that the tube may later be drawn through the wire drawing bench to give the piece a true, well defined shape and to achieve the desired diameter in the end. A nice benefit to this is that if a large tube is created, it can be fairly easily resized to any smaller diameter; thus allowing you to create a wide range of tubing.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you create a tube/cylinder that can pass through a draw plate! Don’t make it to big! 

Hammers, small punch, fine silver sheet and design block… Ready to make a tube! 

If you are un-sure of your sheet you can always file the edges a bit to make sure they are parallel and smooth. 

Once satisfied with your sheet you can begin to form it into a cylinder around a punch or other mandrel.  

IMPORTANT: Make sure your material is annealed before you begin to form it!

To do this place your sheet into the groove of the design block it best fits into. 

Once in position, begin to press down on the sheet to curve it into the groove and around the mandrel. Try to do this as evenly as possible so that the two ends of the sheet make a straight line when they meet.

NOTE: With harder materials it may be necessary to do this with a mallet or hammer! 

As the sheet conforms to the shape of one groove it is necessary to move on to smaller grooves. 

Once the sheet begins to curve over the top of the mandrel you may be able to push the sheet over and around the mandrel with your fingers. 

As the sheet is formed, the material loses its elastic properties and must be annealed so that further forming /manipulation may occur without damaging the material.

After annealing the soft silver can be easily bent over the mandrel with one’s fingers.

IMPORTANT: Take your time when closing your tube! It is far too easy to accidentally push your sheet too far. 

As the sheet gets closer to having its ends meet, it is helpful and often necessary to use a mallet and/or hammer to work the sheet completely around the mandrel. 

Once the ends are about to meet and the sheet is becoming tight around the mandrel, the sheet (now a tube/ cylinder) can be removed from the mandrel and the fine tuning can be done. 

To do the “fine tuning” I place the sheet (without the mandrel) on to a flat steel surface and gently hammer the edges down until they meet to form a tight seam. 

Once you are satisfied with your seam the newly formed tube should be annealed before soldering. 

During annealing the material might shift/warp a bit and you may need to redefine your seam if the edges drift apart. 

IMPORTANT: If you are going to quench your piece after soldering or annealing be sure to use caution as boiling water and steam will shoot up the tube and may burn you!!!

It is important to anneal the piece so that if your material does warp, it does not do so while you are attempting to solder. After annealing it is easy to define your seam by gently hammering directly on top of the joining edges. 

Now that I know my seam is not going to move, I can begin to prepare the piece for soldering.

NOTE: Be sure to solder your tubes with a hard solder as you will most likely want to solder your tube/s to other pieces after they are made. 

As always begin to heat the piece slowly, working the torch calmly up and down the piece. As the flux secures the solder chips to the piece, the heat can be more intense and focused. I have always found it easiest to heat from the bottom and to pull the heat from one end to the other as the solder begins to flow.

After soldering, the tube should be pickled and cleaned. 

Once the tube is nice and clean, the seam can be inspected for gaps or other problems.

If the seam appears to be whole and intact, the excess solder should be filed off the exterior of the tube.

Once the excess solder has been filed off, the tube must be tapered to fit into a draw plate. You could hammer one end into a taper or smash and fold it until it forms a taper.

But the simplest and most effective method to do this is to taper one end using a wire rolling mill (if you have one available). 

After tapering the tube we can now move onto the drawplates. You can use any shape drawplate you wish as long as the tube fits. Since I plan to make hinges I will be using a round drawplate. 

Just like you would do as if you were drawing wire, find the right size opening in your drawplate to begin drawing out your material. 

Once you find the appropriate opening in your drawplate, begin to draw the tube out into a true round or whatever other shape you may be able to produce. 

Continue drawing out your tube until you reach the desired diameter for the application you require. Make sure to anneal the tubing when necessary. I will typically only make two or three passes through the drawplate between annealing’s. I do this to avoid over stressing the soldered seam, as the solder is usually not as malleable as the rest of the tube; and this makes the seam prone to cracking.  

NOTE: The solder seam on your tube makes an excellent temperature indicator when annealing. Make sure not to over anneal your tubing as you may burn out your solder seam. 

If you need a thick tube and a tiny tube or tubes that “telescope” (fit inside of each other) or a series of different sized tubes. Cut the tube in half and continue drawing out the tapered half until it fits inside the other half… It’s that simple.

Keep drawing out your tubing and annealing when necessary. Cut your tube and continue drawing the tapered half to produce a wide range of tube diameters.

NOTE: Depending on the amount of tubing/s you require you may have to form another tube. Alternatively you could always create a really long tube from the very beginning; if you know you are going to need a bunch of tube/s.  

This tube is still too large for me to cut and continue drawing out, but it now has a nice clean round shape. I am going to leave it at that for now as I am still unsure as to exactly what I will be using this tube for, but hopefully you get the idea by now. 

And that is how I make a silver tube. I hope you found this article informative and helpful. Feel free to follow this link to read the next entry: Sixth Entry: How to Fabricate a Hinge (Creating a Basic Hinge)

Until next time,
Peace and Love

Daniel Icaza 6/14/11

Friday, June 10, 2011

Italy in September

I have some very exciting news to share today! I have been selected to participate in the prestigious Biennale of Chianciano in September of this year. I am very honored and excited to have been selected to participate in this international event. The Biennale will be taking place at the Museum of Chianciano in Tuscany Italy  from September 17 to the 24 (2011). Every selected artist will be exposing a few (2-3?) pieces to represent them at the Biennale. Although there is still no official artist list for this year's exhibition, "The artists selected for the Biennale 2011 will be the best emerging and established talents in the world." (-Chianciano Art Museum) I will be exposing two pieces from my "Monetary Bondage" series and one piece from the "Universal Metaphor" series.

Selected works for exhibition at the 2011 Biennale of Chianciano:

"3 Dollars?", Daniel Icaza 

"50 Dollars?", Daniel Icaza

"Hot Spots", Daniel Icaza

Currently, I'm in the process of getting the artworks framed, crated, and properly packaged to be sent to Italy. I'll try to document as much of the process as possible.

If you happen to be in Tuscany in September, be sure to stop by the Museum to see "The Second most important curated Biennale after Venice". (-Robert Scott, AIAA)

Until next time,
Peace and Love