And here it is, the first of the limited edition in the new design mentioned last post. I’m pretty happy with it. Still don’t have a name for this edition yet, though.
We’ve been busy, and I have a special commissioned wallpiece to show you all as soon as it gets installed. But in the meantime, I’ve been working on the design of my next limited edition of Tabard menorahs. The sketch is several years old, and I’ve been wanting to start the new series for a while, so I’m excited to be working on it at last.
Colors coming soon.
Working on some higher end jewelry designs this week. These represent an idea I’ve wanted to work on for a while – using our patinas the way other jewelers would use stones for color. The ‘cabochons’ in these pendants are in fact domed pieces of copper, colored with our patinas.
There’s more to come, and other new designs as well.
Part of an order (including vases and clocks and earrings as well) on its way to Milward Farrell Fine Art in Wisconsin.
At the beginning of May we finally completed our move out of American Steel Studios. We’re still far from done with all the things we need to do to properly move into our studio, so things are not really in order for work yet, but we are getting some work done.
Though we’ve been doing a bunch of work here for a while, and David has made a lot of buckles almost exclusively on the new premises in the last few months, the first large piece completed in the new space was a table, made for on order for a customer through Artful Home.
As it happens, another, larger table, of a new style (within the same basic design) was the last large piece we completed at American Steel, this one for a friend and fellow artist. It has a new style of top, a multi-piece front, and is a different proportion, being a 36-inch high, 12-inch deep console table for the owner’s front hall. I think it came out rather well.
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.
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.
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.
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.