How our wallpieces weather outdoors

Do our wallpieces go outdoors? The answer is generally yes. There are some colors that fare better than others out of doors, but in general, the patinas represent a fully reacted layer on the surface of the metal, so they won’t change too much over time, barring major pollution, roof runoff, or salt fogs on the coast.

We have had good reports back from people who have had pieces installed for years. However, we ourselves haven’t hung that many wallpieces out of doors for long periods in the past, but now we have one good example that has hung for several years on David’s back wall – a western exposure in Berkeley, California, quite close to the San Francisco Bay, with lots of afternoon and evening sun, rain through the winters, and fogs off the Bay direct in from the Pacific.

We recommend that outdoor pieces have their wax re-applied every year or so. However, we did nothing to this piece for about four years.

Here are the results.

Wallpiece 05.45 as it was when first made, and as seen on the website:

And the wallpiece as it is today. It visited a couple of galleries, was on different walls indoors for seven or eight years, then was hung on the back wall for almost four years. (As you probably realize, the fence I photographed this on is completely new wood, not the place the piece has been hanging.)

The biggest differences in the patinas are in the black and dark green; the black patina used in both of these is somewhat water soluble, and has thinned over the years. The wax on the piece is also less glossy, which makes a big difference to the black part, which started out buffed to a gloss black.

There is also a bit of white buildup, probably mineral deposits from the water or from dust in the air, which have adhered to the surface and do not come off with a careful rinse. This is more noticeable on the brown patina, and at their worst on the bottom edge where water dripped off.

Overall, the piece is in great shape, and still looks fantastic. I would expect very little further change for many years outdoors, and more regular care and waxing would probably mitigate even this degree of change. If you are interested in a piece for hanging outdoors, ask us first about the particular patinas in the piece, but most will do this well or better.

Dragonback rings

It took a while for me to experiment with shrinking the dragonback bracelet design down to make a ring. Partly this was because I didn’t think people would go for cuff rings, but apparently they’re quite popular. They certainly make fitting easier! I’m very happy with the result, and I think it worthy of the original design.

The rings are made in Argentium sterling silver, a modern alloy with a marginally higher silver content than traditional sterling, plus a small addition of Germanium, which results in a silver which tarnishes slowly if at all, making it much lower maintenance. Each one is folded and hammered individually, not cast, so all will be different.

You can buy dragonback rings direct from me or through our Etsy store.

Wallpiece RCB 17.02

My first wallpiece of the year was in our traditional style, assembled from folded boxes, but I wanted to make another with my newer design style and construction technique, which I refer to as ‘chitin’, like wallpiece RCB 11.04, which recently sold at our show at Manna Gallery. So I began this piece as soon as the previous one was well under way, and finished it yesterday.

A Book Pin Odyssey

They say books take you places. But this story of a book pin came as quite a surprise. Last month we got an e-mail asking for a new book pin:

Please let me have another one. My earlier beloved one was lost during a fall down a cliff in France.

To say the least this piqued my interest.

Of course we can get you another book pin. That sounds like quite a story, and I hope that losing the book pin was the worst of it.

I asked for more information on the color and let her know how to order the book pin online.

She replied (complete with paragraph indents):

         Thank you, Reed. I ordered one today — brown, a beautiful rich brown, hopefully with a warm undertone of orange.

         A playwright gave me your pin for Christmas 2015. There has never been a gift I loved more and I wore it everywhere, including a cliff in France last May. There was something at the bottom I wanted to see and did, though a lot faster than intended. The other climbing ladies at the top said the scree broke loose and I cartwheeled twice, bounced four times, then rolled, fetching up against a bush at the final drop-off. The pin, my glasses and two bottles of rose continued on.

         By the time a couple of the ladies rappelled down to assess breakage, I was sitting up considering the future, whether there would be one. They roped me on down, summoned an ambulance, which was red and loud and tremendously exciting, and we sped to Aix for repairs. French hospital food is so good (starting to slobber slightly here) that when the nurse came with discharge papers after two days I swore I was still far too injured to leave but they did not buy it and gave me the boot. The view out the window was of palm trees and Mont Sainte-Victoire, Cezanne’s mountain.

         The ladies searched the foot of the cliff the next day and the day after but recovered nothing. Without the glasses, France for the rest of my first trip looked like an Impressionist painting, not a bad thing though there was a little annoyance with curbs, but helpfully, one of my 22 French words was “merde.”

         You would be amazed at how an arm broken in five places and a pitiful expression puts you on the fast track through airport security. In fact, the only down side of this whole trip was loss of the pin, and you have remedied that. Please pick out one that seems to be flying.

         It’s what books do.

         Thank you again,

You don’t get stories like that every day. When I let her know I could ship soon, she was happy:

         Your pin will arrive by May which is wonderful, because in May it and I will be back in France, in the Luberon.

         We have a date with a cliff.

Postscript, a few weeks later:

It should come as no surprise that a book lover like this should also recall and practice the art of the beautiful hand-written note (click the image for clarity).

It is a sheer joy to make things that evoke such responses and will be so treasured.

Bold Botanicals show at ACCI Gallery

This month at ACCI Gallery we are participating in their annual garden and garden-related show titled Bold Botanicals. We have contributed a wallpiece and our Sun Temple fountain to the outdoor display in the gallery’s garden.

Sun Temple

But after seeing other artists’ contributions to the indoor portion of the show I had to bring in a table I originally made for a gallery in Florida. The match was just too perfect, especially with the two large paintings by watercolorist Gina Papen.

Reception Saturday 2-4 at Manna Gallery in Oakland

We announced the beginning of our show at Manna Gallery in Oakland a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps you have even had a chance to stop by the gallery already. The opening reception is scheduled for this Saturday, 4 March, 2-4pm. We will be there to meet you all, and we hope you have the time to drop by and see us and our work in this lovely gallery space at the heart of Oakland’s 25th Street arts district.

Manna Gallery is located at 473 25th Street in Oakland, between Telegraph and Broadway. It is an artist-owned gallery featuring work by local artists working in all media, primarily doing abstract work. The gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays noon to 5, plus First Fridays 5-9pm for Art Murmur, and Third Thursdays 6-8pm for the 25th Street Art Walk. They are also open by appointment, and can be reached at (510) 282-2335, or via their facebook page or their website, mannagallery.com

Our show is titled “Balance in Asymmetry,” which is one of the bases of David’s design philosophy. The pieces presented are mostly our wall sculptures – some David’s, some Reed’s, and one collaborative design, as well as some free-standing sculptures, representing several aspects of our larger work over the past ten years. All the work is made of brass and copper, colored with sculptural patinas. If most of what you have seen of our work has been smaller items such as vases and jewelry, you really should come to see this more extensive display of our larger artwork. The event’s facebook page is here.


If you’re looking for artwork for a particular space, come down and see what we’re showing, but also talk to us! We’re always happy to design new pieces to fit in particular spaces. We’ll be at the gallery for the reception on Saturday, but you can also reach us at this email address or at (510) 845-1072, or through our extensive website, davidmbowman.com. You can also follow us on our facebook page.

We hope you can take the time to come see us at our reception Saturday afternoon! Come down, and bring friends, or send them along, whether to the reception or the gallery’s ordinary open hours.

ACC Baltimore show this weekend!

This year we have a grand booth at the American Craft Council’s premier fine craft market in the Baltimore Convention Center. If you’re in the area, please stop by and see us in Booth 813 this Friday, Saturday, or Sunday! (If not, tell your friends and send them by!)


This year we are showing our work in all scales from jewelry to vases and candlesticks, to end tables and art for the wall. We don’t show our jewelry on the east coast very often, so come see it while you can.





The show is open from 10-8 Friday, 10-6 Saturday, and 11-5 Sunday. We hope to see you!

Manna Gallery: Balance in Asymmetry

In its previous format, this blog was called “Balance in Asymmetry,” because that is one of the main elements of David’s design philosophy. When we were invited to show our wallpieces and sculpture at Manna Gallery this month, this name came to mind as a title for our show.

Manna Gallery is located at 473 25th Street, at the heart of Oakland Art Murmur territory. They are a small, artist-owned gallery specializing in local abstract artists in all media. The gallery is open 12-5 Fridays and Saturdays, plus 5-9pm First Fridays for Art Murmur, and 6-8pm Third Thursdays for the 25th Street Art Walk, as well as by appointment.

Our show will run from Thursday the 16th of February to Saturday the 25th of March, with a reception on Saturday the 4th, from 2-4pm. We will be back from ACC Baltimore and in attendance on the 4th, and we hope to see you!

You can see a preview of the wallpieces showing at Manna Gallery (and all our other wallpieces) on our website, davidmbowman.com.

Wallpiece of the new year

Just completed our first wallpiece commission of the year, wallpiece 17.01: