Some pieces begin as a drawing (occasionally a drawing begins as a dream); as I work on these pieces, I constantly compare them to the drawings in order to be sure I’m staying on track.
In other instances, I’ll be inspired by stones or scrap metal sitting on my bench and I’ll simply start working to see where the piece takes me.
I am a fabricator (versus a caster) so each piece begins as flat sheet; round, square or rectangular wire; tubing; or another basic form. I use hammers, pliers, mandrels, a rolling mill, dapping punches and other tools to forge and form the metal. I also use an oxygen-propane torch to weld or solder multiple pieces together. One of my favorite (and most versatile) tools is a flexible shaft hand held drill (much like a dremmel tool) used to hold drill bits, cutting burrs, sanding or separating disks, rubber polishing wheels and polishing buffs.
With environmentally-friendly options gaining popularity, new doors have been opened to me. My suppliers have been able to guarantee my metals are refined from 100% reclaimed materials (recycled “old gold” vs, newly-mined).
Gemstone dealers are catching on to the “green theme” as well. I can purchase fair-trade gems as well as polished found materials such as slag (an industrial by-product of the Iron Ore refining days) and Fordite (layers of old automobile paint). I am always looking to purchase old gold or a previously-owned gemstone in good condition to recycle.
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