Saturday, March 29, 2008

Metal Studio

Thursday was spent in the metals studio (meaning jewelry & other small stuff, as opposed to the iron studio with the forges). They have really cool tools in the metals studio! I think my favorite is like a guillotine for metal. I didn't actually measure it, but I'm sure you could cut sheet metal at least 2 feet wide with it. I was cutting little tiny pieces about 2 inches on a side - felt like overkill but boy was it slick!

I also like the metal roller. I'd spent a fair bit of time rehabilitating sheet copper and brass from the scrap bin, but some of the metal had been dished previously and my hammering could only get it close to flat. I put that puppy through the metal roller and it came out smooth as silk. (The metal roller is the slender grey pillar-like object in the background of the above pic)

So I got lots of experience using the torch to annealing metal, hammering it to flatten and shape it, and using the metal cutter. I also sanded lots of edges. And did a little etching sample using ferric chloride (we used asphaltum and finger nail polish as resists). But my current favorite technique is painting on the metal with gesso or Golden's pastel ground, then coloring the metal with colored pencils. Once its buffed, the surface takes on a high gloss. I only did one sample of each and want to do more experimentation. In my limited experiments, the pastel ground seems to produce darker, richer results, but doesn't have the high sheen of the gesso.

We won't be in the metals studio much next week - Bobby Hansson will be teaching a one-week session, "Tin Can Art". Robert Dancik, the instructor for the upstairs metals class "Material Matters", has invited us to work in their workroom next week, but I expect I'll be pretty busy elsewhere as we'll be starting to learn lampworking.

Later in April, we'll be trading classes and working with Robert directly for several days, while his class works with David.

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