Custom Ring: Al + Mg

Back in the spring I was contacted by a client who had been thinking about having a ring made for his partner and was ready to see it actualized. I had been suggested to him, as a maker who might be open to working with unusual or unconventional materials, as he was interested in having this ring made out of aluminum (Al) and magnesium (Mg).

He described their relationship (breifly) as such:  "My partner and I have been together for a long time, are tight, and not likely to split. That said, we are not ever going to get married either."  He was hoping to have someone work with him to design and produce a ring that he could give to his partner and be like a metaphor.

Terry Fugate-Wilcox's 1974 installation, 3000 A.D Diffusion Piece, NYC.   

Terry Fugate-Wilcox's 1974 installation, 3000 A.D Diffusion Piece, NYC.


Aluminum and magnesium do interesting things when stuck next to one another.  If left in contact for an extended period of time, these two metals will chemically bond together through the process of diffusion.  An artist by the name of Terry Fugate-Wilcox explored this idea through a series of sculptures, perhaps most notably a public installation in J. Hood Wright Park, NYC in 1974 called 3000 A.D. Diffusion Piece.  

So, with this process/behavior serving as an apt metaphor, and the appeal of these two metals being common and non-precious, we set to work on designing and making a ring out of aluminum and magnesium. 

I was excited to have the opportunity to be working through this process with someone who was thoroughly engaged with their idea and taking a creative and thoughtful approach to the making of a meaningful, handmade object.  Also, the opportunity to be researching and experimenting with new materials and processes is always thrilling for me. 

After discussing a design idea and researching the properties of each of the metals, I began to discern which processes and techniques might be applicable and started in on fabrication.  So much is learned through the handling of materials, the experience of working with the metals themselves, so at that stage there was quite a bit of hypothesizing and experimentation going on.  And so the real research began to unfold. 

I worked through different problems and glitches over a period of months (in and around other projects), experimenting with processes, learning through trial and error, testing the limits of the materials, and combining processes; from casting and piercing to stretching and compression.  After a (good) number of attempts to fabricate the design we'd originally decided to aim for, it became clear that the approach I'd had in mind was asking a too much of the materials---stretching them (literally) beyond their limits.  So, we decided to revisit the design to make some revisions. 

Things began to move much more smoothly after revising the design.  You can see a couple pictures of the final product below.  One bar of each aluminum and magnesium were set side by side in a ring band cast in an Al/Mg alloy.  Each length of the Al and Mg bars span just over 1/3 of the diameter of the band.  Aiming for a clean & minimalist aesthetic, I think it came together quite nicely with the texture of the cast Al/Mg body (small crystalline shaped pits) lending just a bit of ruggedness around the edges.

Thanks for the challenge and the studio adventures---it was a rewarding learning experience.  All the best R & T!







Autumnal shifts

The cold seems to be settling in as of late, after a warm and beautiful fall season on the east coast.  It is now dark around 5:30pm here in Halifax.  The optimist in me holds onto the resolve that the long evenings of the colder months are great for scheming, production, organizing & making. The animal in me responds to the darkness with an unwinding of fortitude---drawn towards warm resting places to surrender the the pull of the slower season.  I hope to maintain a balance.

Shifting into production mode in the studio, I'm preparing for the upcoming bustle of the holiday season.  X-mas orders have already been coming in!  Fervour's Own will be at the Halifax Crafters Holiday Fair this year on December 5, 6 & 7th, 2014.  If you are in Halifax that weekend, be sure to drop in---it is always a great time with so much incredible talent to check out.  I usually bring along with me a collection of pieces that I produce in limited runs---made of salvaged & reclaimed materials---that aren't available via the website or for wholesale (button studs, leather pieces, etc).  So come visit! 

Besides being a blur of sun-soaked swimming adventures and other summertime spectacles, the past number of months were spent producing work to send off to shops, planning and organizing a pretty epic photo shoot that happened in August, working on a new website, and designing/making a few custom pieces.  These custom pieces were fun and challenging.  One commission was quite simple and smooth to roll out while another turned out to be quite the adventure; a longer haul, full of experimentation and learning.  Both satisfying in their own ways.  I am thankful for having been connecting with some really super clients.

Individual posts about a couple of the projects I just mentioned will be on their way before too long.  For now, let this be a brief overview of what my hands have been dirty with, and an acknowledgement of the shifts in seasons and energy.



Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,

the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back

from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere

except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle

of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This

I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn

flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting

from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.

                                                        -Mary Oliver