Metalworking has come to be a second career of sorts. After making a bracelet from some brass wire and screws and nuts—“beautiful stuff” during an early childhood workshop—I was inspired to take a beginner metalsmith class at the Maine College of Art. Once this eight-week basic course was finished, I felt I needed more experience with a torch. With one more informal class, I felt confident enough to buy my own torch, set up a small shop, and have been learning through play, practice, reading and watching youtubes. And trial and error. Lots of it, although I work to turn my errors into new pieces whenever I can.
I very much enjoy the conversations that evolve in helping others move the beginnings of an idea into a solid design that can then be made. This is a rewarding process that continues to inspire me and to push my own skill—both in designing and in fabricating.
I favor an organic and free-form look when I think about the unique pieces that are my own designs. I have learned to play with the materials’ properties—pushing the relationships between various metals while changing the heat of my little torch. This is an incredibly fun and unpredictable process.
In addition to using sheet and wire for custom work, I use my scrap metals to create new items. Often scraps sit at my table or soldering bench for weeks. I move them and play with positioning until they let me know just what they want to be. Sometimes I choose to fuse scraps together. The resulting little sculptures that morph from this process create all sorts of surprise endings.
I keep a small inventory that can be found on etsy or that I sell at craft fairs mostly within Maine. Occasionally I create copies, although this is rare. Much of my work is collaborative using client’s input. I also create my own pieces that tend to be rustic and textured—more organic.
The custom pieces I create often start from a client’s or from my own ideas. Sometimes I build directly from a client’s design, sometimes we work collaboratively, modifying a design over time. Then there are pieces that I create simply from my own inclinations.
For me, metal has an energy—an aliveness and dimension--that I have never found with other materials. It has the ability to change temperature and move from solid to molten in seconds. Metal can twirl and bend, stretch, ooze and reflect. I can hold small bits in my hands and manipulate them so that creations evolve almost magically. I often do not know the specifics of an end product when I start on a project.
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