Playing with Fire
I use my Smith Little torch to join together (solder) pieces of metal as well as to fuse, reticulate, and anneal (soften metal in order to make it more malleable for forging). A lot of my creative process involves experimenting with pushing my materials to its limits under the extreme heat of the flame. There is something incredibly exciting and yet calming about the intensity of working with the flame. This is where I let the metal do the talking and I listen carefully.
Much of my work is hand-carved from wax using carving tools and heat. Once a carving is completed, a mold is made and the wax model is melted away. Molten metal is then poured into the mold and an exact copy is made of the original wax carving. This is one of my favourite techniques because it allows for such unique textures. The unveiling of the casting in the final finishing stages feels magical. Carving with intention is a very meditative process.
I create my work starting from raw metal in sheet, wire, tube, and casting granule form. New forms are created from my raw materials using various hand tools such as saws, files, hammers, flex-shaft dremel with sanding wheels, hammers, etc. It feels incredible to create something beautiful and unique from such simple building blocks. The only pre-fabricated components in my work are usually earring hooks and necklace chains.
I have moved my studio practice and no longer have access to casting equipment due to the expense of the equipment and safety reasons. Hence, unfortunately, I can no longer cast my molds myself. That won't stop me! I currently outsource and send my waxes to a lovely casting house that returns my rough castings for me to finish. My goal is to eventually be able to cast in my own studio because the entire process is indescribable! Until then, it takes a bit longer but the wait is always worth it!
About my work...
I try to draw a parallel between elements of the natural world and the human condition. The weatherworn surface embellishments within a lot of my work reveals an appearance of having withstood destructive elements. This symbolizes perseverance, resilience, and integrity. These are traits which I value and continuously strive to develop within myself.
I believe we should celebrate the duality of the human condition because there is beauty within the chaos, if we choose to adapt our perspectives and embrace the forces beyond our control.
Pushing my materials to its limits helps me tell this narrative in a language without words. I become that sheet of metal, that piece of wax. I am cut from myself and formed by the heat of the torch, the force of the hammer, the pressure of the rolling mill, the hot blade of the wax carving tool...
We are all shaped by our experiences. The pressures in life imprint and shape our sense of self. Our identities are carved from our former selves. We must find the beauty in the creations of destruction. We need to make sense of the chaos, the decay, the changes.
Suffering is part of nature. Survival is part of nature. Sometimes we might feel swallowed up by the ocean, the earth, the sky. But we persevere because we are resilient. We are whole, even when broken. We are evolving with our experiences. Sometimes all we can do is survive the moments. Adapt. Endure. Accept. Persevere.