Tuesday, February 21, 2017

unt talk

I presented three separate talks at UNT last semester when I was visiting and one of them was recorded. Int this talk I discuss my work and how one thing led to another. I usually share this talk with beginning Art and Design students. The other talks I gave were on the development of the DCRL and using CAD and digital fabrication in jewelry and metalsmithing. I usually hate posting stuff like this for fear of sounding like a fool, but Eric mentioned that I needed to post this. So here goes...

hai-chi: eutetctic inlay

Right before I left Milwaukee, a local Metalsmith named Hai-Chi Jihn enrolled in my summer course on Drawing for Digital Fabrication. Hai-Chi had previously taught at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee and so I had been aware of her and her work since first arriving in Milwaukee. That said, we had only met once at an opening. After spending four weeks in the course with Hai-Chi, I have to admit that I was so bummed that we had not met early. Simply put, Hai-Chi is a wonderful human being. I don't believe I have ever met such a hard worker and such a kind and thoughtful soul. I was so sad for the course I was teaching to be over as I knew is marked the end of having daily conversation with Hai-Chi.

During the course, Hai-Chi shared her method for making amazing inlay pieces. Check out the following images.

Note registration marks for applying PNP paper (resist) to both sides of the brass shim stock.

A view of the brass shim stock from McMaster Carr.

Brass after etching using ferric nitrate. (note Hai-Chi has cut a section of this piece out for use in an object she created)

Amazing detail in the images of the etch above.

Here the brass is fused (not soldered) to the silver by taking advantage of the eutectic melting point.

The two photos above show the sheet after it has been run through a rolling mill. The metal pattern distorts slightly but further imbeds the brass into the silver creating a single sheet.

Above you see objects fabricated from the sheet. In this case we are viewing some hollow constructed forms.

This process takes advantage of the eutectic melting point when silver and brass are brought together and heated. The melting temperature of these two metals is lowered when they are touching each other. The word "eutectic" comes from Greek and means "easily melted". The eutectic melting points of silver, copper and zinc (the metals present when soldering silver to brass). The melting point of a copper / silver / zinc alloy is significantly lower than the the melting point for each individual metal, this is why zinc is used in silver solder (if you want to "make silver solder" you can melt a bit of brass with your silver). 

What happens on heating is that the solder at the joint melts first and alloys with the metals either side of it (which is required for a strong bond), however, with these two metals, the alloying process does not stop there - the reaction runs away with itself as the metal at the joint alloys up into the silver. This run away alloying and melting is why you never put silver next to brass when you laminate a mokume gane billet.

A big thanks to Hai-Chi for taking my class and for allowing me to post the images of her work! I've been showing this to my Intro students and they have been amazed by her work.

stuart heys

I few months ago, a gentleman by the name of Stuart Heys contacted me. I meant to make a blog post back then, but I was knee deep in the semester and things were hectic. Things are still hectic, but I'm trying to get back on the blogging bandwagon to keep the momentum going (sorry Eric!).

Anyway, Stuart's work is AWESOME. I absolutely love his wire bending machines and all of this work is phenomenal. I also loved the images above (from Stuart) of him moving out of his studio and into a new studio. ...and my wife thought my studio move was bad...  I hope Stuart doesn't mind that I posted part of his message to me as I thought this might give the blog readers some insight on him and his work:

Hi Frankie-

My name is Stuart Heys and I ran across your blog sometime last year and continue to keep up with it. We share at least a few common interests which is why I'm getting in touch. 

My background is in mechanical engineering/robotics and for the past 11 years I've done mostly solo consulting work out of my own machine shop in Brooklyn, everything from robotic vehicles for NASA to furniture and jewelry. I've always been drawn to craft and process, often more so than the final result of the work. My interest in craft is only increasing as I get older while my interest in high technology and commodity products is disappearing....

...My website, www.stu.nyc...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

rachel and adam whitney

Rachel and Adam Whitney came to Boone a few weeks ago to see the Penland coordinators exhibition. We hung out at my studio for a while and then we went over to the show and then grabbed dinner. Adam pulled out some of the stirrup cups that he had been working on at Penland earlier in the week. He had the copper one that was his initial "study" and then two fine silver cups; one completed and one in progress. The fine silver cups started as a ingot and was hammered out and then raised. I've seen Adam's work in the past and I have always been a fan of what he makes, but these particular pieces blew me away. I was truly speechless while handling them. I think the waitress felt the same way. Man, it was SO GOOD to see these two. I was so invigorated by their visit and inspired by what Rachel and Adam are doing. I feel so lucky to be living here because the following weekend Rachel brought Seth Gould and Andrew Hayes with her to the opening and they came past my studio. We geeked out over old tools and talked "shop". I need to get back down to see these two at Penland when I can hang out for a while. It's so cool to talk to other people that are passionate about making things and working in metal. I just want to hang out with people like this all the time.