I've been building a new studio recently. It's not quite done yet but hopefully it will be soon. My aim is to keep it completely off grid. It's designed to be heated from passive solar gain and, I expect, some supplemental "waste" heat I generate in my working processes. When I got to planning the electricity requirements I realized it was feasible for me to use a mid sized array of photovoltaic solar panels. This sort of surprised me. I have a fair number of power tools in my current studio, but when I considered it I realized many are not used. Those that are get used very little. This realization highlighted for me something about my work. The tools and techniques used are really rather primitive. When I consider this further I realize this isn't an accident. I like this. It's part of what my work is about.
I don't think of my vessels as being an expression of my voice alone. Rather I see them as the product of a conversation among the tools, materials, and myself in search of beauty. As my real desire is to achieve a timeless beauty, one individuals from any point in history might connect to, it makes sense to be listening to the voices of simple but timeless tools. The humble hammer is my prime tool. I supply the power and it bends, stretches, compresses, and moves the metal according to the particular shape, weight, and hardness of it's head. The forming stakes I work upon offer their strength to resist the hammer, and their curves to impart a controlled form. The voices of the hammer and stake are a harmony that work best together.
That primal elements known as fire and water play a critical role in creating the vessels. They're transformative, changing the structure of the metal. Fire is my tool for softening, making the work more malleable, or even liquid in the case of soldering. The quenching in water sets this new state and brings the temperature back into the range human hands can tolerate.
The materials each lend their voices to the final piece. Copper shows us what it means to be malleable by bending, compressing, and stretching readily to take on any form. Yet, retaining the strength to keep a shape. The patinas offer us up a richness of color and surface when conferring with the copper. Sterling silver gives a quiet elegance in it's role of defining the edge. It's color transitions nicely between the interior and exterior, reflecting to us a bit of both.
Finally we have the gold, associated for ages with the sun, that ball of energy which gives us life. The role that the gold plays in these pieces is almost magical. It invites in and show us the light. It is this light which, to me, keeps these vessels from being empty. The light fills them with life. I find this symbolic of the inner spirit.
I see my role in this to be providing a conscious order, orchestrating the mix of voices, hoping to present a work we as humans can appreciate. It is my desire to bring about works that don't just symbolize, but actually evoke feelings of beauty and joy.