Jump to content
Jim Kelso

Pierced copper Hemlock needles

Recommended Posts

This is one of the most challenging piercings I have done. It's an example of a certain type of project where you don't finish the piece, the piece finishes you. I could work many more hours on it but an end point presents itself when you pull back and say, "OK, I'm done". It's not exactly saying "good enough" as in settling for something less than is desirable, but more like an acceptance of ones place in relationship to perfection.

 

The subject is Hemlock needles. These needles often release in June around here and can be seen in large quantities where they have drifted down to the ground or gathered in rocky crevices carried by water. This piece is in copper with three needles added in 18k gold and is part of a larger sculpture in Vera wood.

 

The first step was drawing a pattern from Hemlock needles I had randomly cast(as in thrown) against the nearly finished wood-carving which will host the needle carving. I drew these directly on the copper as seen in the lower photo. This was designed with some strength built in so the piece would hang together.

The smaller photo is about scale(60mm long).

I'll put up other progress pics later.

IMGP7774PSE2web.jpg IMGP7774PSE2webscale.jpg

IMGP7710web.jpg

Edited by Jim Kelso

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next, holes were drilled on interior spaces not accessible by the saw from the edges. Copper is wicked to drill and I find on the very smallest holes it is better to drift a small punch through.

 

The sawing was done mostly with 2/0, 4/0 and 6/0 blades with some final corners touched up with an 8/0.

 

After initial sawing I engraved lines that define the individual needles.

Any questions/comments welcome.

IMGP7713web.jpg

IMGP7724web.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More please! this is so fascinating I see the end point and where you started ... for the life of me I don't se how point A ended up at point B....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jim,

 

OK, you've got me interested! A couple of questions - Is your drift in image 4 an old bur shaft? What does the point look like? I'm tired of buying tiny fragile drill bits...

 

Also, lately I've been engraving the lines first, then sawing. Which way is best? I've finally seemed to make peace with 8/0 saw blades...But inquiring minds want to know.

 

Thanks,

 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful as usual, Jim. I'm intrigued about the patination process for the copper if you wouldn't mind to describe it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much guys. More to follow but the mice kept me up playing football above my bed all night and I'm behind it this morning.

I'll post more later but here's one I forgot:

 

IMGP7715web.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome Jim!!!

 

 

Your piece gave me combat flashbacks of the turnip & butterfly exorcise, over on the Brush. ;)

I must have broken 10 drill bits on that. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More please! this is so fascinating I see the end point and where you started ... for the life of me I don't se how point A ended up at point B....

Thanks Matthew. It strikes me often how a visual artists' job is much like being an illusionist. You put in a lot of time and effort into creating the illusion of something that really isn't true. In this case that the needles are bundled in an overlapping mass.

 

It doesn't take a lot of relief to convince the eye of overlapping, but it has to be clean and uniform. Once the needles are defined by 2d engraving as above, relief was developed by a combination of chiseling, chasing(punching) and scraping. Needle files and the saw blades were also used around the edges.

 

Here is a photo of the early stages of developing the relief. I'll get some tool shots in next.IMGP7727web.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jim,

 

OK, you've got me interested! A couple of questions - Is your drift in image 4 an old bur shaft? What does the point look like? I'm tired of buying tiny fragile drill bits...

 

Also, lately I've been engraving the lines first, then sawing. Which way is best? I've finally seemed to make peace with 8/0 saw blades...But inquiring minds want to know.

 

Thanks,

 

Tom

Thanks Tom. Yeah, exactly, an old bur shaft with the bur popped off and stoned flat. Makes a tiny little flat punch.

You can engrave the lines first, before piercing. I've done that too, especially if the design is a little fuzzy. I had it pretty well dialed in here so either way would work fine.

 

I pretty much only use the 8/0 for the tiniest cleanup work. They generally track so poorly.

Edited by Jim Kelso

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome Jim!!!

 

 

Your piece gave me combat flashbacks of the turnip & butterfly exorcise, over on the Brush. ;)

 

I must have broken 10 drill bits on that. :(

Thanks Mark. Yeah major agro with the tiny bits. The drifting through can be made easier by engraving down where the void will be thereby reducing the thickness before punching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful as usual, Jim. I'm intrigued about the patination process for the copper if you wouldn't mind to describe it.

Thanks Jesus. The patination was done with the standard niage process. Two of the needles were darkened before the niage bath and just stayed dark. This can be done with liver-of-sulfur. It's not what I used but the result would be the same. I had a little trouble with the color not coming in areas so I repolished very lightly without removing what was good and threw it back in the bath. Total time an hour or so. Polishing before the patina was done with a combination of a rubberized abrasive wheel for some slight final shaping and then the standard silicon/carbide abrasive in a horsehair brush.

 

These needles in nature are slightly dished so I made some slightly dished and others slightly ridged as if they were turned over. I chased the ridged ones with a crepe texture and engraved a little vein down the dished ones. This final chasing adds tremendously to the overall effect and offers a last chance to do a little subtle shaping with the punches.

More photos tomorrow if I make it. The mice are winning……...

Edited by Jim Kelso

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Punches and a scraper used to introduce relief.

IMGP7728web.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Close-up of the tools. Left to right:

 

1. ovoid punch for pushing material down

 

2. footed Japanese style punch for pushing material down, especially handy right up to a line. Also used a lot in inlay to push material against an inlay to hold it in place.

 

3. ovoid punch as 1 except with a point(can't be seen well) to get into corners

 

4. scraper for refining

IMGP7728toolsweb.jpg

IMGP7731web.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice, Jim. Very natural forms.

 

I sometimes have the same mice problem. Or maybe giant, angry red squirrels. I recently tried the electronic screechers and they seemed to help a lot. That, and new kitties with hunger in their eyes...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Tom. Yeah, exactly, an old bur shaft with the bur popped off and stoned flat. Makes a tiny little flat punch.

You can engrave the lines first, before piercing. I've done that too, especially if the design is a little fuzzy. I had it pretty well dialed in here so either way would work fine.

 

I pretty much only use the 8/0 for the tiniest cleanup work. They generally track so poorly.

 

Thanks for the hints, Jim. I'll give them a try!

 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Jim. Your work continues to amaze. B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers Alan. Much appreciated.

 

Here is a shot of the back with hard-soldered pins for gluing into the wood. The pins are Sterling which is a little extravagant but they were the right diameter at hand.

 

Incidentally the technique and approach outlined above could be well adapted to any overlapping design. Celtic knot-work comes to mind, heh-heh-heh……...

 

IMGP7729web.jpg

Edited by Jim Kelso

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice, Jim. Very natural forms.

 

I sometimes have the same mice problem. Or maybe giant, angry red squirrels. I recently tried the electronic screechers and they seemed to help a lot. That, and new kitties with hunger in their eyes...

Thanks much Jul.

 

I've had a good run, trapping 7 in the last 48 hours. I also feel better having talked to my friend Damien. He's an Aussie and once lived on a farm there and described an incident between some 6' constrictor snake and possums in the space above his bed. There were numerous tussles with screeching and he thought things had sorted out until the stink began a week later…….. Crikey!

Edited by Jim Kelso

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beautiful and instructive work Jim. I once tried to sleep in a place with pack rats playing like a bunch of hard boned puppies just over my head all night. Cute at first, but as the night wears on and on your mind begins to imagine all sorts of tortures for the tormentors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...