Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Rogers Gate

It's been a long, tiring, and productive week at the Forge. The Rogers Gate proceeds: I finished all the lozenge details for one side of the gate, and almost all the heart-scrolls.

A friend of mine came by the other day, took one look at the chalk sketch of the Rogers Gate on the floor, and boomed "speak, friend, and enter". If you can plumb the significance of that literary reference, then you probably can discern the difference between orcs and elves as well.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Renaissance Man, Day 5

Image courtesy of Jason Shepherd.

For posterity's sake—or mnemonic repetition—here's the litany of moves running through my head while working Renaissance Man:

Right foot on root, right hand palm-press for balance, reach left to three-finger pocket, ease in to open hand grip, reach right to undercling, left foot step-through, paste right toe, cradle right knee into knee-bar and torque out and in, release right undercling and grab crimp, lock it off, shift left toe to higher foot, stay tight, reach hellish sloper, move quick but controlled, bump left hand to sloping edge while pressing like hell with left toe and torquing right knee-bar, keep core tight, slowly release knee-bar, high-step left toe to hueco, flag right foot like crazy to the left under a bulge, release left pointer finger on left hand to make room for right hand, match hands, keep core tight, static reach for sharp crimp, then...

One or two more hand-movements will bring me to the flared crack, my first gear-placement on the route, and a 5.11d/12a joyride to the top—hopefully. Sometimes it occurs to me how little objective gain this climb will bring me in life, and for a moment I'm struck by the absurdity of it all.

But just for a moment.

New Work: Coleman Residence, Part 1

I officially toppled off the social radar over the last couple of weeks due to a massive push in the shop. Our client, who was building a sharp residence on the beach at Sandpoint, had a non-negotiable move-in date, and we, being amenable metal-smiths, agreed to a nearly impossible timeframe for installation. Months ago, In the preliminary stages, Dan had briefed me on the scope of the project, but I hadn't fully grasped the looming immensity ahead. And oh, the copious amounts of bronze needed! Wonderful, finicky, lustrous, softer-than-steel bronze. It even has a funny smell and bitter taste (don't ask). I hadn't worked with bronze in any substantial capacity since the City Art Project last year, and it was a labor of nostalgic fervor.

The Sandpoint Project (hereafter known as) evoked a slightly eclectic catalogue of aesthetics, at least from a metalwork vantage. We executed lots of uncompromising straight lines, seams, and angles, yet much of the finishes were mottled, weathered, textured with a hammer, or intentionally rusted for a neo-industrial look. I hesitate to say the interior of the house was modern because the term falters in the face of specificity, but the product of our work—and the work of the carpenters, lighting technicians, and flooring guys—was peculiarly rooted in the architectural sensibilities of our time: a push towards natural light; sustainable materials; unifying geometry; openness.

(By the way, the amount of metalwork at Sandpoint makes for prohibitive blogging, thus, I'm breaking my blog-entries into parts.)

Starting with the entry handrail, here's a little tour:

Normally I balk when a client wants to powdercoat forged metal. In this instance, I thought the matte-black brought out the textured cap-rail quite nicely.

Cool little transition

Bronze surrounds for the fireplace and flatscreen television. Each of the panels have thin-gauge bronze wrapped around sheets of perfectly sized wood. The goal was to have all the corners and seams match perfectly—a tricky task, since nothing was perfectly square.

Carefully machined hinges allow the four panels to open and fold against the wall, revealing the (pending) flatscreen.

I'm pretty psyched on this handrail. I hand-peened all 30+ feet of the cap-rail, and strategized fabrication for a continuous run up three flights of stairs. Yeah, it's functionally all one piece.

Transition around corner.

Engaging step encounter at the landing.

I designed a hand-forged bracket for connecting the handrail to the wall. It vaunts an angular, somewhat savage look.