Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Surface embelishments

I recently taught a two day workshop covering surface treatment of metal. It involved making at least a dozen or more examples of textures using hammers, stamps, punches, wire brush and the rolling mill.

Here are some examples of what was made.

wrinkled aluminum foil run through a rolling mill on sterling

small round chasing tool used to create dimples from the back on copper supported on wood

LMD Localized Metal Deformation

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Images from the Idyllwild workshop 2008

These brooches made for Deb Jemmott and the two workshop assistants, Lindsay Rice & Mara Friedland. Lindsay and Mara were incredible and essential to the success of the workshop. I am grateful to them both for their help and to Deb for allowing me this great teaching opportunity.

Each is approximately 2"x2" and were made during the workshop. Deb's is the one on the upper left corner and has is set with a free spinning hemitite bead. I will be exploring more of these smaller sized brooches. My thanks to my wife Carrie who encouraged me to make these.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Older study in fold forming

Several years ago I assisted in a workshop taught by Harold O’Connor held here in Tucson. One of the techniques he taught us was fold forming. He called it smash and bash and gave credit to
Charles Lewton Brain.

Here is a piece I created and I incorporated a tapered copper tail and a simple patinated surface.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Forged Flatware

Here is an image of a fork making sequence made at the James Robinson shop.

Below is an image of a hand wrought spoon making sequence made by Old Newbury Crafters and sold in a presentation box.

I have compiled this list of craftsmen who still hand forge flatware. This list is by no means complete and I would welcome anyone’s input for further craftsmen and women who make hand wrought flatware.

Old Newbury Crafters
Peter Erickson
Robert Butler
James Robinson
John Cogswell
Allan Adler
Michel Royston
Raychel Wengenroth
William Frederick
Linda Weiss
M. P. Levene Ltd.
Randi Stromsoe


Friday, August 1, 2008

Hand Wrought Spoons

It facinates me to watch a blank of metal formed into a item of utility. The process and steps required to make a spoon is truly wondrous and I am in awe of the smiths who daily make flatware.

My interest in making spoons began several years ago by collecting American 18th & 19th century examples at estate sales and antique shops. I also became collecting the flatware made during the Arts & Crafts Movement and modern silversmiths who make flatware.

Here are images of spoon sequences and examples of some of my spoons This is a link to the documentation of how I forge spoons.
Spoon Making Sequence


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Metalforming Stakes

I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Potter this weekend. He is a local metalsmith who is currently milling metalworking stakes and offering them for sale. These are well made and he is producing a wide variety and at a reasonable cost.


http://stores. ebay.com/ Metalsmith- Tools

He has been advertizing on Craigslist and eBay.Check them out.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Idyllwild 04

Fabricated sterling brooch with hematite bead
3.25” wide x 2.125” high

Here is one of 5 brooches I made for an exhibit at the Idyllwild Exhibition Center during the Metals Week workshops. The workshop was well received and it was a true pleasure and honor to have taught there.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Yuma Pins 2007

Yuma, Arizon is host to one of the most wonderful events of each year. Craftsmen and artists gather to this town next to the California border to share and meet others from the Southwest and elsewhere in the U.S. The Yuma Symposium is not to be missed. Nearly three days of fun and learning. Thursday night at Lute's Casino is the site of the PIN SWAP where participants may choose to swap pins that they have made with others who have brought pins to swap.
Copper w/LMD decoration, sterling rivets

Copper w/LMD decoration, sterling rivets, & malachite bead set in sterling

These pins shown above were made for the Symposium in 2008. I made approximately 60 of the sipmpler ones and nearly a dozen of the ones with beads.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Copper Fountain

Here is one of the fountains made while at Knox Campbell Gallery during the early '70s. They were a very popular item and I received several commissions for installation in homes in the Tucson area.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pewter and Copper vessel

1980 3.5” x 2.25”

In 1980 I took a pewter workshop taught by Fred Fenster.

This vessel is constructed from a rolled sheet of heavy gauge pewter and then butt welding the seam using thin strips of pewter. It is then shaped using wooden hammers over steel stakes. The bottom is soldered on. The rim was forge tapered and then fitted and soldered to the body.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dream Container

"Dream Container"
1979 4”x2”x1”
This fabricated sterling container was made during my time at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Repousse and chasing were used to shape the container’s lid. Containers and hinges have always fascinated me and I take pride in the smooth operation of the hinge and the way the lids snap onto the body of the containers.

The container is mounted into a carved base of African Wonderstone.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Forged sterling and turquoise Neckpiece

The work of Ronald Hayes Pearson had a profound effect on my work. His work appeared regularly in the books and the craft magazines I read. The first collar I ever forged was directly taken from the demonstration Pearson did in the book Contemporary Jewelry by Philip Morton printed in the late ‘60s.

Here is a neckpiece forge in sterling with a hinged pendant portion mounted with a turquoise cabochon. The use of circles is often seen in my work. It is very satisfying to play with their placement to create designs that appeal to me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reliquary to the Moon

I was in high gear during my stay at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage, Alaska. This is an ambitious piece that used repousse for the faces. It is fabricated of brass sheet and acrylic at the base. I made use of brass nuts and bolts to join the pieces. The faces can be removed to allow the placement of illusive lunar relics. The face assembly is allowed to spin through the pierced opening in the elongated oval brass plate. The rivets are decorative.

1978 6”x3”x6”

Friday, May 16, 2008

Forged brooch with hemitite bead

sterling, hemitite, stainless steel
2.25" wide
This brooch was made a few years ago and is typical of much of my current work. I love using texture in my pieces and I use it to contrast with the highly polished surfaces.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Raising the Connection to the Past

The skills required to raise a simple bowl are not complicated and require patience and practice to create a shape that is pleasing. Each time I raise a bowl I experience a feeling of accomplishment that connects me to those craftsmen and women who preceeded me. These were the same skills used by colonial smiths and the tools I use are much like what they would have used. The bowl I create will have as much utility 200 years from now as it does today.

This bowl was one of a few created for a show on Modernism held at Armory Park in 2003.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Raising Vessels

To raise a vessel from a flat sheet is nothing short of miraculous. The plasticity of the metal allows the craftsman to create nearly any shape that is in his mind.

I first began raising after taking a weeklong workshop with David LaPlantz at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage, Alaska during the late 1970s. Since that time I have raised vessels in copper, brass and sterling.

Here is a small vessel I raised a few years ago. it is finished with an ammonia, water and salt bury patina. There is nothing more pleasing than the surface of a well planished surface of a bowl.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Several years ago I was asked to participate in a show celebrating "El dia de los muertos" at Obsidian Gallery. I chose to create a vessel in copper and brass with a portion of the verse from Ecclesiastes 9:5.

The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are
conscious of nothing at all...
These words were pierced into the lid of this piece and a combination of bolts and nuts were modified to join the base to the lid.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Current trends in Repousse & Chasing

There has been a reemergence of interest in the processes of repousse and chasing. The following a those who are currently influencing this interest.

Valentine Yotkov
Rocio Heredia
Marcia Lewis
Megan Corwin
Lucinda Brogden
Kirsten Skiles
Brian Clarke
Davide Bigazzi
Ron VanOstrand
Rich Reitz
Saign Charlestein
Linda Kindler Priest

This list is in no way all inclusive. There are many, not listed, who are doing fabulous work using these techniques. I have provided links where I could.

These craftsmen and women work in varied styles and on many diffent metals. Each is contributing the the perpetuation of these seductive processes.

If anyone has input on others I would gladly add them to this list and would be interested in seeing their work.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Image from the past

"Darla's Flask"
early '70s

Sometimes it is good to look back at where you were and smile.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Making Faces




I began shaping faces in copper while I worked as a metalsmith and made copper fountains behind Knox Campbell Gallery in Tucson during the early to mid 1970s. The gallery sold my fountains. Jim Knox and Gary Campbell were kind enough to allow me to work in the area behind their gallery. I would carve the face in wood and then use it as a form to hammer the metal onto. I made two of these faces and then combined them into a flask that I gifted to my printmaking instructor at Pima College Darla Masterson. Darla had a definite influence on my sensibility and pushed me to look and understand what I was seeing. From her I learned the subtleties of edge definition.

In 1978 I created a reliquary during my tenure at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage that once again incorporated two faces. This time I used repousse and chasing to create them. The making of faces became a regular exercise when I returned to Tucson in 1981 and I would make these during metalworking demonstrations for a short television spot and annually for the Old Pueblo Lapidary Gem and Mineral Shop at the Tucson Community Center. It was wonderful to be able to sit and create these faces before a stream of people who would watch as I took simple disks of copper and sterling and form them into faces. These faces were not put to practical use until I used small faces for a pin swap at the SNAG conference held in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1986. I later made a 10th wedding anniversary gift for my wife in 1987 that incorporated a smiling sun face. (see image 'a') I’ve received a few commissions for faces in gold that were made during those years and have no images of them.

In March I taught a two day workshop in Tucson on the making of faces and it was well attended and well received. We made tools first and then used them to make the faces. I’m scheduled to do a face making demo for the Arizona Artisan Blacksmiths Association during their November meeting in Phoenix.
Most of the faces I have made are for study, fun and demonstrations. ('b' & 'c') I suspect that the faces will creep into my work in the future.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Studies in repousse and chasing

I have been drawn to the processes of repousse and chasing since I began metalsmithing in the ‘70s. I still have my first pitch bowl with the black pitch that I found difficult to work with. I attempted a few pieces and had minimal success. I still have the uncompleted sterling design that sat in the pitch bowl for years after. I juried and was accepted to study and work at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Deborah Nore introduced me to the pitch from Northwest Pitchworks. Years later I attended a free workshop on the Japanese technique of uchidashi held at the University of Arizona and taught by Eleanor Moty. Eleanor taught me the subtleties of moving the metal that has allowed me to push my exploration of metals elasticity.

I had the good fortune of being asked to make several sets of Japanese uchidashi tools for one of many workshops that Eleanor Moty has taught at the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Center under the fabulous guidance of Jeanne Jerousek- McAninch. It is through Jeanne’s efforts that the center is one of the best places to take workshop taught by some of the nation’s best metalsmiths and artists. The tool making exercise was one of the most valuable teaching tools I have experienced. I continue to pass on these tool making skills to my students whenever the interest arises.

The following examples were created over the last several years and I continue to make tools and hone my skills in this seductive technique.
Gingko leaves modeled in a 4x4”18 gauge copper sheet.

The beetle is approximately 1.5” long. Repousse and chasing in 18 gauge copper.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Summer at Idyllwild Art Academy

I am preparing for a week long workshop that I have been asked to teach at Idyllwild Art Academy in the mountains of southern California. Metals Week The teachers and students are required to provide all the tools needed for the workshops and so I have designed a portable anvil to be used during the class. Six of these are complete and I am working on a seventh that I am using to demonstrate the construction. I will write a short paper and may get it published.

The anvils were recently loaned out for a forging workshop and they held up very well under weight of the hammers. My thanks to John Cogswell and his students for field testing them for me and a special thanks to Pat and Terry Glover for their help in making the anvils.

I am working on forging brooches and neck collars to be exhibited at the school during the workshop. I need to complete commissions for collars before I leave in June and have a commission for a large brooch to complete when I return.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I have made the first step in creating a blog and later a website of my work and my passion. I am a self taught metalsmith with a desire to share what I know and understand. This blog is a beginning.