28 February 2010

The Golden Drips

Some days I feel like a blob of drippy gold... ( is that a good thing or a bad thing...? )
Wary Meyer's excellent golden drip makes me smile because its very familiar to me;
actually melt actual gold all the time...
Let me tell you the story, it starts here, in this shape:

pure gold, well... 99.9% pure they say.
It has an amazing lustre and weight,
sans pareil!
But it is soft. Too soft for what I want it for this time. So I'm going to mix it with a some silver to give it a little hardness. I do this
a l'anncienne-

This mixture was carefully weighed and apportioned to make a 20k alloy (833/000).
Now we gon' melt it!

Gold melts at 1064˚ C / 1948˚ F.... so gimme some heat, 'k? This a little Flame- sure, but its got a capitial 'F'. Its fuelled by Oxy / Razor™ gas. ( my keyboard skîlls are also on ƒire)

This next part is where it gets elemental. The metals are turning to liquid and mixing together. This is hard to photograph and control at the same time! 'Scuse me for a bit, I've got to concentrate.

Ok, its done.
This black crater is in fact a charcoal block. One can easily gouge a little crucible into it, to hold the eponymous golden drip. It also catches on fire- which consumes local oxygen, lessening oxidisation of metals (ie, the non-gold parts of this alloy tend to go black). Known in the biz as a reducing atmosphere. (dont forget to quench your block afterward though, or you'll come back to a pile of ash!) *turns off laser pointer*

Out of the charcoal crucible comes the little perfect bean of 20k Gold.

Ive said before that gold is like a true friend- it knows how to be heavy, but is ever bright- will go flat out for you and bend backward for you. Here we test the friendship ( yet again)
"Please will you become a flat ribbon, little bean of gold?"
"Sure, I'll go through those rollers- just make sure they're clean ok?"

Its a bit like making pasta, or any dough- just roll it out...
After a certain amount of working though, it gets hard and springy.
The goldsmith mustn't ignore this or else it will crack.

This is remedied by a little more heat (as many things are, my friends)- here, as is plainly unseen, we are changing the internal crystal structure of the metal to make it bendy again.
Then back to the rolling mill to make the gold longer and thinner;

One of the finer points of this process; I like to add a subtle texture to the surface- otherwise it is the surface identity of the rolling mill that defines the material- which in this case would be too industrial, too hard-edged. I'm seeking a softer texture, to diffuse the light somewhat, because Im not going to polish the final product- I want the gold lustre to fully sing, without reflecting the surrounding world ( are you still with me? this is a really important consideration for me- I hope you get me)

Now I can snip out some basic shapes which will become my signature Aster earrings.
Any scraps go into the little box for the next ingotting session.

There are some bronze pieces in production, next to the gold. I quite like bronze for what it is, but lets just say right now- it cannot be compared to gold! Even this 83% alloy glows brilliantly in contrast.

They are my favorite and my best.
Yes, I make each one by hand.
( I tried casting them, but they weren't as good somehow)
When you are a maker, it is best when you've found something that flows out of you- not necessarily easily, but naturally, like how a spider makes a web or a bee makes honey- you know, that's what they really do best and uniquely.
I could keep on making these happily, for a long time to come...

24 February 2010


Bruno Martinazzi
In my student days I didnt care much for Bruno, what with all the gold and body parts.
My Dad though, would thumb through some reference book I'd brought home, point out Martinazzi, and say- "now hey" *tap tap on photo*"THIS is good"- He didnt care much for all the crazy stuff that would appear in the Schmuck every year (and still...) Usually I just roll my eyes at Dad ( as you do) and dismiss his 'uneducated' eye...
But to my light-hearted chagrin- he's often pretty much on the money- Martinazzi IS good.
Straight up, a classical and yet diffucult subject; the body- Martinazzi seemed to have a thing for hands and fingers- making for a kind of hall-of-mirrors; finger-shaped jewellery, worn on the finger, made by fingers...!
And of course, its usually just simple sheet working, (which I love and its probably what I do best(?)) and GOLD. When you have such a Classic approach, there is Boringness lurking at the door- but Martinazzi sails right past all that...

Bruno- Mi tolgo il cappello !

pic sources:1a,1,2,3,4

22 February 2010


Gauguin, being mysterieuses

An expensive scone at $18 million or so!

no, dont speak

Bruno Martinazzi- more on him to come- a great jeweller.

Dietrich Klinge

Atsushi Ozawa- he likes to squash things with hammers- high five!

20 February 2010


Some of Azechi's mountains and climbers.
( Im still in the hanga zone... well, not that I ever really leave...)
from artelino

16 February 2010


Koshiro Onchi. (sometimes signed "ONZi")
Such beautiful printmaking. He is known for his abstract works- but the earlier figurative ones are also very strong. *low whistle*
pics from colby