People normally perceive metal as a solid- rigid and inflexible, but at the right heat it becomes like plastic—I love the feeling of hot metal moving beneath my hammer.
People have been striking or 'smithing' hot metal for thousands of years. I've always found medieval armor to be particularly inspiring. At a time when all the artisans had to work with was a fire, hammer, anvil and iron ore—they created the most amazing shapes and forms. The power to manipulate metal has changed the course of history and is a vital element of the modern world, but its use as an artistic medium has always been on the fringes of it use.
I have no traditional blacksmith training—instead have taught myself what I've needed to know to create the shapes or textures required for a specific project. I recently invested in a small pneumatic forging hammer—needed to forge the legs of a specific commissioned table. Its Ram weighs 88 lbs (small by comparison) and oscillates up and down 245 times a minute and can strike with the force of a falling Buick at full blow— its ability to move and shape metal or fingers is amazing—No doubt it will influence future projects ...
Like a tiny, controlled bolt of lightning, TIG welding is an essential tool in creating my metal forms. My father first taught me how to stick weld when I was 14 and I worked for years in my parents basement filling the house with the caustic smell of burned flux.
When I finally invested in my first TIG machine I was amazed at the accuracy and control over the welding arc. Similar to the control of using a ball point pen vs. a spray can to sign your name—TIG welding influenced the direction I was able to take my sculpture. I now have two water-cooled TIG welders in my shop and often showcase the weld bead itself as an artistic element of a piece of sculpture or furniture.
Assembly and Finishing
Before the final assembly of many projects— signs, sculpture or furniture—I often doubt the outcome—will this thing look good? Will it actually fit on the building? Will the customer be happy? Once I've rounded up and constructed the individual components I can begin the final assembly and this is where the work takes shape. I try not to hide or conceal the methods with which I construct something. If a sign is to be hung from a building via a bracketing system—I try and incorporate those brackets into the overall creative design of the sign. Many of my furniture and sculptural works have exposed hardware and un-ground welds and this lends to the industrial nature of my work. Just as Rodin left evidence of his own hands on his sometimes roughly sculpted forms—I intend to leave my own mark as...
Many of my recent furniture pieces have been constructed in stainless steel and often have unique textures that help to accentuate the work's form. Other times the texture is applied to the table top itself, and can add a 3-D, almost holographic effect to a flat surface.