Mid Century Starburst Key Holder

mid century key holder

Mid Century Retro-style

If your decor needs a retro 1970’s style addition, then look no further than this mid century starburst key holder.  It was hand braze welded with an oxygen acetylene torch and is largely made up of masonry square cut nails.  The filler metal used was bare bronze brazing alloy.  A paste flux was used to prevent oxidation during heating.

mid century key holder2

Brazed Masonry Nail Starburst

The second image captures a more closeup perspective of the functional art.  You will notice how the shiny bronze joints set themselves as quite a contrast to the gray steel near them.  Although this key holder may be considerably larger than my other key holders, I am quite pleased with this creation and I feel it is still quite comfortable to fit in any home or office.

Industrial Chic Steampunk Key Holder

IMG_0429

Steampunk Key Holder From Reclaimed Machine Gears

After the recent sale of the key holder me and my family have used for the last few years, I felt the pressure to replace it.  I immediately thought of a steampunk theme.  It is the driving force force for me to acquire steel gears from surplus sources.

IMG_0430

This industrial chic steampunk key holder pretty much came together as I imagined it.   I first arc welded the gears in what I thought was an interesting pattern.  Then cut a square steel bar I had handy then I hand formed my hooks.  I maintained an imperfect natural steel finish to add to the industrial chic charm.  This key holder could work in a number of decor settings.  It could perfectly fit in with a vintage country cottage or an ultramodern contemporary work space.  The possibilities are endless.

 

 

Triple Cube Pearl Blue Sculpture

DSCN4059

Three Steel Cubes Painted Pearl Blue

This brilliant iridescent blue three cube contemporary metal sculpture my latest creation.  It consist of three different sized cubes made from 1/8″ steel plate welded in 3D hollow forms with an oxygen acetylene torch.  You can read more about the process here.  It does take practice to do this efficiently.  It is a combination of choosing right welding tip size for optimum heat output as well as the correct travel speed to minimize warping the hollow forms.

DSCN4061

This sculpture was carefully assembled to get the most of the angles and perspectives available.  To add to the bold arrangement of three dimensional shapes, a pearl blue mica paint job was applied to the cubes.  This helps to accentuate the dimensional qualities of the piece.  To elevate the cubes, a stand was created with 1/4″ thick steel  plate and a 5/8″ round rod.  This stand is painted gloss black so the iridescent pearl blue cubes are able to stand out more.

 

Torch Firing Vitreous Enamel to Abstract Copper Sculpture Accents

2014-04-22 13.07.50

Melting Colored Glass On Metal

Just when I thought of every conceivable way to add to the methods of enhancing metal sculpture, I discover a whole new world of artistic exploration.  This time, encouraged by my father, I am examining the world of vitreous enamels.  More specifically, the enamels designed for metals.  In this post, I will be applying a transparent enamel directly to copper. Below, you will see the supplies I have for applying enamel.  I have a bottle of a gum solution used as an adhesive. The gum solution dries fairly quickly and when the powdered enamel is fired at roughly 1500 Fahrenheit, no residue of the gum remains.

 

2014-04-21 19.08.192014-04-21 19.08.14\

I also have a 2 ounce jar of Thompson Enamel 2410 Copper Green, a small sifter, and two fold formed copper panels.

2014-04-21 19.08.342014-04-21 19.09.18

I first brush on the gum solution straight from the bottle onto the fold formed copper panels. Without wasting too much time, I get my sifter and extract some of the enamel powder from the jar.  I gently sift onto the panels.

2014-04-21 19.14.032014-04-21 19.15.36

I shake off any excess enamel and put it back in the jar for later use.  I have a defunct toaster oven preheated to 250 Fahrenheit.  I place my enameled panels in there to dry the gum solution.  I usually wait fifteen minutes to be sure the copper is thoroughly hot and the adhesive is completely dry.

2014-04-21 19.21.552014-04-21 19.21.41

I then get out my heating stand and very carefully hold a neutral oxy acetylene flame near the panels.  The oxy acetylene is actually too hot for enameling so you must be alert and intently focused to prevent burning through the copper.  A transparent enamel allows one to see all the phases of torch enameling.  First the copper oxidizes under the enamel as it begins to fuse.  Just then, the enamel will acquire a orange peel texture.  It still needs more heat at this point.  The next stage is some of the opacity is changed into a more transparent affect.  It looks as if you are driving tiny bubbles out of the enamel.  Also the oxides will start dissolving into the enamel.  This allows for a more metallic look under the enamel.  When the desired look is achieved,  the torch is turned off and the panel is allowed to cool.

2014-04-21 18.20.022014-04-21 18.19.59

After the panels are cooled off, I place them in a copper chloride etching solution.  I made the etchant myself from water, muriatic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and scrap copper.

2014-04-22 13.07.50

For the first ever try at torch enameling, I did not do half bad.  They look rough due to the lack of metal prep but I am after the brutalism look anyway.

An Iridescent Abstract Table Sculpture

IMAG2672

 

Vibrant Iridescent Glazes

I present this finished work as a followup to my post “Braving Bitter Cold to Create Metal Art”.  Although the Reflex Violet Pearl Ex mica pigment that was airbrushed looks cool, the real magic is the layers of blue green paint on the triangulated plate.  A base of opaque blue green was followed by various shades of turquoise and blue.  The  final touch was a glaze made from gloss acrylic medium and metallic blue green.

IMAG2676IMAG2674

Playful Golden Curve

The purple and the iridescent turquoise glaze are stunning for sure but a little on the cool side.  This sculpture needed a contrasting color for the curved accent.  The royal gold color answered this call well.  It is warm and sunny but not so blazing hot that is takes the focus away from the background.

 

In the past, I usually painted the bases to my table top sculptures gloss black.  This time I used phthalo blue.  The base will look great against a light colored marble surface.

This post modern table sculpture is available in my Etsy shop.

Braving Bitter Cold to Create Metal Art

IMAG2614

Eager to Create Metal Art

It just Christmas Eve and we have already experienced several nights in the single digits and a few snowstorms with a total of nearly a foot of snow.  Thankfully not all at once 😉 .  Working on metal art outdoors without a garage is especially difficult in these conditions.  I do feel it is going to be a long hard winter. 

Well, being that it is quite cold when its not raining or snowing, I find myself look for scrap pieces I can readily assemble into my next works of art. That saves time freezing while cutting metal to size.  I just tweak found scraps to conform to an idea then I zap them together with my flux core welder.

Take for instance the photo above,  I have had the large fender washer ready for another project since Septemember that never materialized.  The zigzag rod was me just messing around with my bench vise.  The angled support plate was a scrap of left over 16 gauge that I cut a little to get straight edges.  Put them together and you have the begining of a post modern meets art deco abstract composition.

 

IMAG2613

Finding All the Right Pieces

Many times when I improvise a sculpture, it just happens that the creative process takes over and the rest of the composition seems to come together on its own.  After I secured the rod and washer to the back plate, I found this quarter inch plate that was begging to be a base. So I welded it on with four strong welds.

IMAG2615

Stay Tuned For Further Developments………

Awesome Upcycled Jewelry tree

IMAG2543

 

A Creative Outlet for Scrap Nails, Bolts, and Metal Rod Cutoffs

A customer recently contacted me via my Etsy shop to design a jewelry tree I recently sold.  With space limited, I need to make a tree 10 inches or less.  The beauty of this work is it can be done at nearly any scale.  Usually, it can be made entirely of scrap pieces of metal.  This work was literally made from scrap I had stashed for just such an occasion.  The rods are 1.4″ and 3/16″ in diameter and where bent to give more organic curves.  Random nails, bolts, and screws were welded on as “foliage”.

IMAG2534

 

IMAG2531

 

Looking at the second photo, notice the improvised root system joining the jewelry tree to the 1/4″ thick steel plate base.  One of the perks to using a wire feed welder is the endless metal texturing and modeling potential.  Next a solution of gun bluiing is applied to give a nice distressed bluish black patina on the steel.

IMAG2537

 

Once rinsed to stop chemical conversion and dried, a nice gloss clear finish was applied.

IMAG2543