foj

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOj Photoshoot // Behind the Scenes

In late August I had the pleasure of working with an amazing team of folks to actualize a photo shoot that had been in scheming for a long time.  The finished product photos you can see throughout the website and will be used for an FOj lookbook, but here's a peek behind the scenes. Big thanks to Meghan Tansey Whitton for her patience, artistic vision & technical wizardry on the camera, Melissa Dube whose helping hands and experience were indispensible on site, Emily Moore who works magic with hair & make up, and Yailen who did an amazing job as a model who's not a model, rolling with it all, and lending her ingenuity to wardrobe glitches.

We shot in two locations throughout the day; spending the morning in a lovely pocket of forest, with the sun filtering through the trees, and the afternoon in a metal scrap yard I'd been dreaming of shooting in for years.  It was a bit of a mad shuffle but we made it work,  with snacks, wardrobe, hair and make-up changes on the fly.

For the forest shoot, we'd decided to run with the idea of building a structure using yarn (an elaboration of an idea that Meghan had explored through a self-portrait project she'd worked on a number of years back) to create an interesting graphic effect to combine with the natural backdrop of the forest. 

Meghan and I spent the evening before the shoot building the structure out of rebar and yarn on site.  This involved tying up each individual length of yarn, which took a while.  We ran out of sunlight, eventually busting out the flashlights and working into the night.  Fine tunes, beer and nuts kept us fueled and on track.

Meghan getting started tying the first few lengths of yarn.   

Meghan getting started tying the first few lengths of yarn.

 

       The view at dusk.   

       The view at dusk.

 

It was pretty amazing walking up to the site in the early morning after having finished it in the dark.  Here's what it ended up looking like:

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And here are few more snapshots of our shoot in the forest:

After packing up, we headed to the scrap yard for round two.  This place was/is such a marvel---it was really a treat to wander around amongst the most magnificent mountains of rusty metal.  Here are a few snapshots from our time there:

It was a super day, a ridiculous amount of photos were taken, and I'm thrilled to have had the chance to make this happen with such lovely & talented people.  Here they are workin it:

Meghan Tansey Whitton, photographer, in some serious action.

Meghan Tansey Whitton, photographer, in some serious action.

Melissa Dube (photo assist), Yailen (blurry but beaming model) & Emily Moore (Hair & Makeup Artist)

Melissa Dube (photo assist), Yailen (blurry but beaming model) & Emily Moore (Hair & Makeup Artist)

THX ALL!!!

 

Where'r We At?

Somehow the winter has slipped by (mostly).  It’s been a slow one, and yet we are rounding the corner to spring…Where have I been?!?  Squirreling around in my home and neighborhood and studio—-working, little by little, on a slew of things in that way that makes real forward moving progress hard to see, what for the spreading out of efforts.  Now the sun shines more, the light sticks around longer each evening, and things have grown and changed and are emerging.  Slowly, like snails.

Speaking of snails…

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I stumbled across this here ditty, while doing some internet research on African Land Snails after my daughter’s pet had a slew of babies earlier int he winter. This snail necklace is by London based jewellery designer Dominic Jones who has some interesting work, certainly worth taking a look at—often shiny and sharp. Here’s a few examples:

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As for news, you can now find Fervour’s Own Jewellery in Ottawa at Jasmine Virani Studio Boutique. Here’s a pic of the lovely shop at 1282-A Wellington Street West.  There is an impressive collection of great Canadian designers in there, so if you are in Ottawa certainly check it out.

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And coming up in Halifax, on Saturday April 5th & Sunday April 6th, is the Halifax Crafters Spring Market.  There are always so many incredibly talented folks at these shows, it is always worth stopping in.  Great food and music too.

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I will be there with some FOj, and am thrilled to be bringing with me some NEW WORK!!

I have been percolating on some new pieces for a good while now, and am excited to be getting them out of my head/hands and off the bench.  The designs for this small collection have developed alongside contemplating, talking about, and reflecting on themes of trauma, healing, and self-preservation/self-protection.  Thinking about the ways in which some of the things we carry with us and adorn ourselves with can relate to our own histories and sometimes serve as a form of armour as we move through and interact with the world.  Gateways and Guards.  Some sneak previews will be coming soon, but in the meantime, here’s a link to a short article that touches on the idea of fashion as armour, that was sent my way following a conversation about this new work.

Halifax Crafters Winter Market

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The Halifax Crafters Holiday Market happened back at the turn of the month and it was a pretty darn hopping event, I tell ya.  What a great weekend.  The Olympic Center was packed and bustling and it was such a pleasure to be out and amongst it all.  So much work goes into pulling those shows together…from the crafters, each making their magic, to the organizers and vounteers who pour their time and energy into all the behind-the-scenes, and of course all the lovely people who come and fill the space out with their good energy and support for hand-making.  Good stuff all around, THANKS EVER SO MUCH!

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(Arsenic & Old Lace Table)

Of course, the place was so packed with incredible work…temptations abound!  I kept returning to Arsenic & Old Lace’s table (they were Fresh Catches this time round) with their lovely carved ceramics, tattoo-ed oranges and glass curiosity boxes. I eventually came away with a couple of pieces, one from each of the two makers (Anna Bald & Andrea Thorne).  Here’s a couple of snapshots of the collection of goods I came away from the weekend with, happy to be supporting makers and ever appreciative of trading wares:

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Handmade knickers by Hanna Broer Design, big ol’ beeswax candle by Mike Bienstock of Medway Candle and Essentials (who was my neighbor at the Crafter’s Market…what a treat to have that smell wafting around all weekend!!), ceramic ornament and curiosity box by Arsenic & Old Lace. (I can’t track down any online info for these lovely folks, so I can’t provide a link, but I noticed that some of their work is available in Plan B, on Gottingen Street in Halifax, NS).

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These playfully solid ceramic cups are by Bridget Fairbank ofBPractical Pottery.  She had a great display set up right across from me so her work had been flirting with me all weekend—-I am now so thrilled to have these cups as a part of my days, especially in this season of tea drinking.  Bridget seemed like a stand-up gal and has a great blog worth a peruse.  As someone who spent a while dug into ceramic work, scrolling through her blog is inspiring, stirring up urges…but for now I must stay focused, and maybe drop by the Lingo section of her blog on occasion for small tastes of the language, at the least.