Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Outnumbered 8 to 1"

My hats off to these "guys" fighting for their lives, over the holiday, in Iraq and Afghanistan. What a story as told in "One Marines View" blog about a firefight in Afghanistan. What started out to be an ambush of a Marine patrol, turned into a fight with the junkyard dog and some bad guys paying the ultimate price.

"During the battle, the designated marksman single handily thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machine gun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn't miss any shots, despite the enemies' rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position." '"I was in my own little world,"' the young corporal said. '"I wasn't even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target."

This story reminds me of desperate times the Marines had at Guadalcanal, of the tough fights where ones self is lost in the second by second fight for survival. My thanks to those few reporting such heroism. As the Marine says:

"Such an amazing story of heroism and victory would have been on Page One in every paper in the country during World War II. Just 30 Marines giving eight hours of hell to 250 insurgents is the kind of story that would make a good movie - if that kind of movie still could be made. But these days, it did not even make Page 10. I couldn't find a story about it anywhere. The only mentions were on conservative blogs and military Web sites. The soldiers who are fighting for their lives and our country might as well be in another dimension. News from the battlefronts in Iraq and Afghanistan is apparently not important. It reminds the jaded anti-war crowd that they were wrong. We're winning. It reminds a self-centered nation that some Americans are making sacrifices much bigger than a loss in their 401(k)s. So we don't hear about it. But we need to hear news like that, because a good day for the Marine Corps is a good day for freedom. And that's a good day for America"

Hats off to all those in "Harms Way".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holiday Arts & Crafts at the Market

December 14th!! This Weekend!! At the incredible Greensboro Farmers Curb Market on Yanceyville Street, across from the old War Memorial Ball Park. This market, which can trace it's roots back to 1874, continues to serve the area well with locally grown fruits and vegetables on Saturday and Wednesday mornings. Come by for some good coffee or tea and pick up something there for breakfast too, while you browse the great selection of goods. This Sunday is one of their many special events and I'll have some of my latest creations there. I'm excited about my transformation of Mokume Gane to cuffs and earrings. The billets I made from Copper and German Silver turned out great. Come by and check them out! I'll also have a selection of enamels there in the form of trinket dish's and Beggars Bowls. See you there!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mokume Gane: Wood Eye Metal

"Mokume Gane", translated from Japanese means "wood eye metal. Philip Jones, of the Jones Brothers Custom Knives, recently taught this at Montgomery Community College. His twin brother,Barry, came along to help. Phillip's self taught method of making this interesting and colorful metal is a terrific addition to the skills used in knifemaking and is of course used in jewelry and other crafts. The ability to make Mokume in my small shop was my main goal and with the brothers help I came away with that skill. We used copper and German silver as the metals for our ingots and learned everything from the proper preparation to carving and forging to bring out the grain. Preparation is everything! Without the proper prep, the layers will not fuse properly and will delaminate during the forging process, rendering the billet useless. One of the first items we made was a small kiln from soft firebrick. These worked great, concentrating the heat generated by a small propane torch and allowing the ingot to get to forging temperature while reducing the amount of oxidation.
The traditional method of making Mokume requires cleaning and the application of temperature and pressure. During the surface preparation, the oxides naturally occurring on the metals are removed using sandpaper which also cuts microscopic ridges in the metals. These ridges help break up the surface film. As heat is applied, melting starts and brings interfaces within atomic distances and fusion occurs. The original interface is eliminated and formation of a new alloy is formed.
The next step is forging and carving to bring the layers into a desired pattern. This can be done with punches, grinders, milling cutters, and is up to the imagination of the metalsmith and the intended look.

At the end of three days, we had made three billets of copper and German silver. One by the rolling method, and two by using steel pressure plates and threaded rods to hold them in place. We patterned the metal using different methods. Of course, between forgings, the metal is thoroughly annealed to reduce stress and delamination. Overall, very interesting workshop and I highly recommend it I feel I have a good base for further study and at the same time, the skill base to make mokume gane in my own studio.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"A new spin on the perceptions, procedures, and principles of flight";

Love this site! John Denker's online book, "See How It Flies", gives an in depth and interesting (to aviation enthusiasts especially) look at how an airplane flies and how to make one fly better. As he puts it, "This book is intended to appeal to pilots and everyone else who is interested in how airplanes behave. The idea is to concentrate on ideas that are useful in the cockpit, and to explain them as clearly as possible." If you're looking for more information on how and why an airplane flies this is a great place to start. It's coverage is limited to actual flying and not to pilot/ controller operations. As he puts it, "It explains things at a nontechnical level that should be accessible to almost everybody".

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Holly Arts & Crafts Festival 08

I'm wide open for the Holly Arts & Crafts Festival this Saturday in Pinehurst, NC. Downtown with the golf carts whizzing by and plenty of people, hopefully with lots of disposable income to spend on quality arts (like mine). Look me up if you make it down.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Art in the Arboretum 08

Well another festival is over for the year. What a great venue. The Greensboro Arboretum was in the best shape I've seen it in years. Unfortunately I don't make it over there very often, but you could tell, much work had been done to make it extra nice for the crowd that came out on Sunday. This year, there was a cash prize for first in show. I came close....well, in a way. Bennett Glass Art, from Winston-Salem, won. And, they happened to be right next to me. They received a cash prize and the opportunity to display their work at the Shops at Friendly. I don't know what the numbers were but the great weather surly helped in drawing a good crowd to the event. I saw quite a few familiar faces from the ,Greensboro Farmers Curb Market plus other old friends. Made some new ones , too. Well, better get back to work.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Art in the Arboretum Latest

Mark your calender for Art in the Arboretum, this Sunday. October 5 from 1-6 PM. The juried art and fine craft event will be held in the Greensboro Arboretum, located just off W. Market Street and Wendover Avenue within Lindley Park. Parking and Admission is free.


  • 50 artists with pottery, metal sculpture, paintings, jewelry, dolls, wood crafts, fiber art, and more
  • Entertainment on 3 Stages
  • The new Fiesta Stage featuring dancers from South America
  • Art Bark – the canine art activity
  • Art Quest art activities for children
  • The International Food Court – featuring Riva’s Trattoria and Zaytoon CafĂ© (there will also be hot dogs, lemonades, funnel cakes, coffees, and ice cream)
  • Master Gardeners Nature Cart
  • Face painting
  • And more...

Bailout or Blowout?

Come on now, how much more "help" can we stand from big government? As if congress and the administration hasn't known for sometime that the American public and the American government weren't borrowing too much money, they jump in like the sky is falling and if we don't give them some new power we'll all drop dead. Mac Johnson has it right in his article "Dump Their Deal", Check it out!

"I no more believe that their loud and clumsy action can
stop a recession than I believe that Barney Frank can run outside and
stop the rain. I am sure, however, that when the rain ends
spontaneously, he will take credit for the abundant sunshine."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Art in the Arboretum is this Sunday, 1-5

The long term forecast is for sunny skies and a high of 73 degrees for Sunday afternoon. Sounds like a great time to get out and take in some art in a beautiful setting. What I like about this venue is the diversity of items and artists you see. Excellent music and food for your enjoyment will be there. So, instead of brunch, come on out and get some lunch in the park and stop by my booth. I'll be at number 4.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Art in the Yard

Here's your chance to catch some fun art from a few of our excellent artists in a local setting. So if you're out and about, maybe from the Tate Street festival, drop on by and tell them you saw their ad on my blog. I'll probably drop by after the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market. See you there!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thanks to the Folks at Grove Winery.....

....for a great time out in Gibsonville. Lots of interesting people met and friends made. What else could one want from life? The demos went well with lots of people stopping by to look and talk. Made some copper objects and rings and gave away a few. Hope this instilled an appreciation in our metalworking endeavors and maybe inspired a few to try it. See you at Arts In the Arboretum next month.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Coming up this weekend is my first time at the Grove Winery in Gibsonville. I will be dragging some of my tools over there and doing some fold forming demonstrations, also, some general cold forging of copper. Hope the showers hold off, It wouldn't be much fun doing demos in the rain. The Winery says,
Art at the Grove

Mark your calendars. September 13th & 14th is the big Crafts in the Grove week-end where we will be featuring the work of local artists and crafters on the patio. Painting, photography, jewelry, carving, pottery, glass blowing and handmade furniture. We'll also have demonstrations, food, wine tastings, a special free grape tasting and horse-drawn carriage tours of our estate vineyards. Fun for the whole family.

Hope to see you there. This past weekend at the Rockingham County Folks Festival we had a great time with the folks up in Wentworth, NC. The Rockingham County Arts Council put on this festival. With the crowds being unsure about the extent of hurricane Hanna Saturday, we started off a little slow. Things picked up on Sunday with a small but enthusiastic crowd. Lots of interesting people met along with seeing some old friends in the RC Pottery Guild which was set up beside me. Next year, without Hanna, I'm sure a big crowd will show. Hope to see some of you folks at Crafts at the Grove this weekend.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Clocks for Homes, Clocks for Industry, Clocks for Defense...

Showing some of my clock collection getting ready for the Lazy Daze Arts & Craft Festival in Cary this last weekend. Good thing I brought them with me...this was my almost by best sellers. Thanks to the great customers and very interesting folks we met down there. The weather was tolerable but still a bit warm. What do we expect in August, eh! Some great artists frequent this show and I feel humbled by being there. MY new clock collection is an assortment of enamels. All fold formed for design and strength, some to a greater degree. Assorted purchased faces and some with separation enamel for the numerals. As was true for this show last year, I received a lot of complements for bowls but no purchases. Earrings were a good sell though. Thanks again great customers....Next show is Rockingham County Folk Festival at the RCCC campus, 9/6 and 7. Hope to see you there!
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Show

Lazy Daze is coming up this weekend if the hurricane doesn't decide to spoil our party. I'll keep you posted. I'm featuring my new clock collection. Check out the slide show to the right.

Friday, May 16, 2008

More on Wind Power

If, either you stay up late at night worrying about our country's energy needs or opine at the pump for the days of cheap energy, check out this interview with Boone Pickens on energy and wind power from The American Spectator.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wind Power: Mesa Energy gets On Board

Boone Pickens company which has been into 'Big Oil" in a big way has gotten on board with wind power. Mesa plans on buying over 600 wind turbines from GE and spend over $10 billion to create an energy farm in the Sweetwater region of Texas. Check out the video from Squwak Box this morning.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Father Jerome

Following the Trail of Father Jerome : Cat Island's Hermitage is a Unique Monument to Mystical Faith

On a dewy morning you might daydream of Ireland.

Surrounded by a rolling green landscape, a stone monastery in miniature scale stands abandoned around you, looking like something St. Patrick himself had called home. But as your eyes wander westward, the sea shines in colors no Irish homebody ever beheld. The blue-green bands of shallow water signal that this is a Bahamian place.

The place is called the Hermitage. It is the crown atop Mount Alvernia, the highest peak in the entire Bahamian archipelago, though it rises to a mere 206 feet above sea level. This one-man monastery was the work of its sole resident, a brilliant and eccentric Roman Catholic clergyman who called himself Father Jerome.

Father Jerome, who lived from 1876 to 1956, was a trained architect who designed and built many churches in the Bahamas. Their styles vary, but one of the most stunning—the Catholic church at Clarence Town on Long Island—could be described as Greco-Celtic with a hint of Moorish influence so often found in old Mediterranean architecture. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in all the islands.

It was Father Jerome’s second church in Clarence Town. He had overseen the construction of the first, years before converting to Catholicism, when he was serving as an Anglican priest. His conversion suggests that the English brand of religion was too tepid to this deeply spiritual Englishman.

Father Jerome will be remembered for his churches. Standing atop peaceful, windswept Mount Alvernia, however, you would be tempted to consider this place Father Jerome’s masterpiece. Father Jerome built The Hermitage himself stone by stone, all of which he personally hauled to the summit. There were two paths: one steep and direct; the other longer and less strenuous. Most of us would push our heavy-laden wheelbarrow up the latter, but with Father Jerome one suspects not.

He decorated the difficult route with concrete bas-relief “stations of the cross,” so maybe he lugged his materials this way in penitence.

“A proper church is no mere assembly hall, theatre or auditorium for preaching and community singing, but it is first of all a place of sacrifice,” Monsignor John Cyril Hawes wrote years before, assuming the name Father Jerome. “It should breathe forth an atmosphere of prayer of religious awe and supernatural mystery.”

Even in the Hermitage’s tiny chapel with its single pew, Father Jerome succeeded in creating that atmosphere. A few yards away, his tiny sleeping quarters still featured his simple planked bed, no bigger than a ship’s berth. In the stone tower still hangs a big bell, rusted now and silent.

He had spent a career doing many things, including building churches and a cathedral in Australia, all of which are now considered national treasures there. His tenure Down Under had been anything but peaceful, however, as he toiled in and out of favor, depending on which bishop held sway.

Finally in 1939, he wanted out badly enough to leave his respected position in Australia. He returned to the Bahamas of his younger days. Here on Cat Island he built himself the Hermitage like other men might build a boat, and he anchored his soul beneath the undiluted stars.

But if his plan was to lead a quiet, contemplative life, it went awry. Father Jerome became a celebrity in the Bahamas. His skills were in great demand, and so he went back to work building churches, a convent, a monastery and a boy’s college, all in the Bahamas. Summarizing one biographer: Father Jerome worked himself to death. And he did not die in his monk’s bed but across the water at a Catholic Hospital in Miami.

If you have thoughts of a Bahamian getaway, consider Cat Island. Like any out island, Cat has sandy beaches, beautiful water, friendly faces and bountiful fishing, but only on Cat will you be able to commune with the spirit of Father Jerome. Surely Father Jerome would forgive you if you came to his place for a picnic and bottle of wine—red, of course.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cat Island, Bahamas

If you're looking for a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of life in the American fast lane, Cat Island, Bahamas is the place. My buddy and I weren't exactly looking for that, but we found it anyway. For the last three years, we've flown down to the islands to fish, skin dive, and generally look around. This year Cat Island was the place. Supposedly named after a pirate of old, Cat island is one of the out islands and is below Eleuthra. Sporting a few really nice resorts, for the most part it is rural and undeveloped. We stayed at the Orange Creek Inn. The shot of the church and water was taken out of the south door looking west over the Caribbean. The inn was without some of the extra's like a restaurant, but was spotlessly clean. Very nice and within our budget..around $80 per night for two double beds. The proprieter, Margaret Claire was right on with her description of the inn. And, we were within walking distance of bonefish flats. Her brother had a boat and could take you out for some deep sea fishing if you so desired.
One very interesting site was The Hermitage, on Mt. Alvenia. Built by Father Jerome, a world weary architect that arrived on Cat Island in 1939, it is one of the most interesting sites and well worth the scramble up the trail to see. The trail takes the form of Via Dolorosa with stations of the cross to the top.
The Bahamians, as on the other islands, were very friendly. Not a vehicle would pass without blowing the horn and the passengers waving.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Erik Dahlager's Gumoil Process

At the recent Spring Daze Festival I found a most interesting artist. Erik Dahlager from the booming metropolis of Traphill, NC (next to Stone Mountain State Park). Erik uses the gumoil process to process his photographs. This leaves a picture somewhere between a photograph and a woodcut print, in my humble opinion. Anyway, however you describe it you must say it's has unique and beautiful characteristics. The process is very versatile allowing some leeway in what and how you develop it. Check it out at

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mark Holder Jeweller

What a friendly bunch! At the GBH Festival Buffy from Mark Holder Jeweller came by the booth and told me I should stop by the store. Being one who usually takes advantage of invitations, I did. I met Robyn and Mark Holder, owners who were so friendly. What a pleasure it was. Mark is a very talented and accomplished jeweller, gemologist, and master engraver among other things. With that caliber of folks and shops I can see why the State Street area is booming. If you're looking for beautiful and unique jewelry from wedding rings to estate jewelery or repair, they can do it all. Mark gave me a tour of his extensive shop. They have the latest in tools and equipment for all facets of the jewelery craft and the skill and knowledge to carry it through. Robyn also bought some of my Beggars Bowls....Thanks Robyn.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Great Festival!

Thank you, great customers, for making the Greensboro Bicentennial Heritage Festival a smashing success for Metallic Artistry and the folks that braved wind , rain, cold and sun, my hats off to you. It was great seeing old friends and making new ones over the weekend. Hope to see you all again real soon. It was so neat to see the celebrations all over downtown with real craft demonstrations in the Center City Park and those great antique autos. They were so interesting, and so were the enthusiasts that loved and cared for them. It's so much fun to talk to folks with so much passion for their interests. We are truly blessed with so many talented people in this area.
Saturday started out with everybody dodging showers 'til sometime after 12 when it finally settled down, some sun could be seen and everyone saw it was safe to venture out without getting too wet. We had a great afternoon, although the wind was bad in some areas, we were sheltered somewhat on Davie Street by the YWCA. I've been to enough of these I've got a pretty good feeling for wind dynamics and had most of my displays fairly low profile. Some others on the street didn't fare so well. Early on, a bad gust took down a potter's rack with hours and hours of work along with it. Unfortunately that's one of the risks that go with the territory. We pour our hearts and soul into our endeavors, present them to the world with our hearts in our hands only to have them dashed to destruction or rejected. We artists have to be a tough lot sometimes. But, the rewards are worth the price. Check out the two young ladies in their 40's classic clothes. All day we saw vintage and costume clothes worn by period actors some with Original vintage clothes from Design Archives on Tate Street. I've always loved the old WWII era movies, and these two looked like they just came through a time bridge which opened up on our street. I had to get a shot. Thanks ladies!! Oh, by the way check out the sign just to the left of the black hatted young says, "1st Place Best of Show". That's a first for me. Thanks judges for knowing a good thing when you see it and rewarding our hard work!
The other pic is of the tent with sis Ann on the left and Miss Karrie Detwiller. Karrie collaborates with Metallic Artistry occasionally with some of her exceptional jewelry. Quite a few customers availed themselves of her beautiful work over the weekend. I met Karrie at the Carrboro Arts Center where she teaches numerous classes in metalworking techniques. Her young mind is a treasure chest of metalworking knowledge. I had her Chasing and Repousse class and hope to incorporate some of that into my work soon. Stay tuned! Her classes are well worth the 50 minute drive from Greensboro if you're thinking of expanding your skill base. So, time to get back to work for the next show coming up. Later...Ed.
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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Enameling Furnace

This is the furnace I use for my enameling. It uses 120 volts and has a great programmable control. I would recommend it for metal clay and enamels. Another good furnace would be the low cost electric chamber furnace from Thompson enamels which would have worked for me except for the height of 4 inches. The good thing about The low cost furnace is that it has replaceable elements where the Paragon model the element alone cannot be replaced. Twhole fire box must be replaced if the element goes. One thing about the low cost option, and I found to be generally true about most of the lower cost versions, is that they don't come with a pyrometer or control to keep the furnace at temperature. That control is almost as much as the furnace. So in the end, I felt the best deal going for me at the time was with the Paragon. It's certainly more versatle being able to program it's use for metal clay, glass and other things (which I probably won't use) but the controls were simple to use. One thing you might consider, is having an outlet especially for this one piece of equipment. It's not completely necessary but they do recommend no other large current drawing appliances on the circuit at the same time.

SC2 kiln - Enameling Kilns - Glass Kilns - Silver Clay Kilns

Engraved Cuffs

These are a couple of my engraved cuffs. They are made using cold connections of sterling or copper on brass, buffed to a high shine then laquered for durability. The engraving is a simple line design using some of the hammer and chisel techniques I learned last summer at Montgomery Community College two week Engraving and Scroll Design workshop.
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Monday, March 17, 2008

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Etching Copper and Brass

Some of my customers inquire about the process by which I put the design on some of my work. The process is a chemical etch process. Very basic once the process is understood. For copper and brass I use a ferric chloride solution. This is actually a salt some of my chemically unchallenged friends say. Anyway, the process is very similar to that using acid for other metals such as silver and steel. I know of some knife makers that use ferric chloride to etch steel knife blades. I can give a reasonably deep etch in copper and brass in a couple of hours. I've used this process for etching designs and also for champleve enamel as seen on my stick pins.
We can start out with a design. Draw or trace a design that will fit on your piece. The design should have broad enough lines to allow it to be seen clearly after etching. If you've drawn the outlines, as shown the the picture, determine which part you would like to have eroded and which part is to be raised. I've used some designs which are eroded for the finished look and some I erode around the design in the form of a background. The finished drawing is then traced onto the work. I use a transparency to transfer it to metal in many cases.
If using a transparency, the design drawing is photocopied in reverse on a transparency on a copy machine. Ink jet printers will not do. There must be an emulsion on the acetate to transfer to the work. This can then be placed on the workpiece and both placed on an iron and allowed to heat. Use a burnisher or something similar to rub the dark areas to help the transfer along. Immediately and slowly lift the transparency to see the transferred design. This will probably need some touch up with a Sharpie or red Stabilo pen. Mask of large areas with brown shipping tape. Of course, another option is to just draw directly on the workpiece as shown below.
After the image is transferred and established it is suspended upside down in a plastic container and the whole thing is vibrated or aerated to accelerate the action of the bath. After 2 hours the piece is removed and cleaned up, finished, and any additional shaping is done. The picture on the left shows paper knives (letter openers) with various designs, completed and ready for a new home. Also pictured are some brass brooch pieces ready for the fastener fabrication.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Raising Bowls

Raising is a technique dating back to the 3rd century BC of taking a flat sheet of metal and raising the sides to form a vessel or bowl through repeated cycles of hammering and annealing. The process pushes the metal over a metal stake ( an unyeilding surface) and raises the sides with the height increasing as the diameter decreases. After about three courses, the large lumps are removed by bouging the surface. If the desired height is not obtained, more courses of of forging and bouging are carried out until the desired height or shape is as desired. The item is next planished to smooth and harden the object. The following short video shows a bowl being planished.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

German Silver Buckle

An etched celtic design in german silver. I picked up some of this metal after attending an engraving workshop at Montgomery County Community College last summer. What a great class. Taught by a master engraver and filled with super talented people from across the country. I sat next to Jim Batson, one of the greatest blacksmiths in the country. Not only did I get an education in engraving but Jim filled me in on forging hand made knives. I'll write more later.
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