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Just a little something I made for Miami


Guest ford hallam

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Guest ford hallam

Hello all,

 

this is a little kagamibuta I made recently. I did the bulk of the work in Katsuyama, Japan last November while artist in residence at a little museum. The disk is copper with impure copper and shibuichi leaves inlayed. The butterfly is in a dark brown patinated alloy with fine gold inlay and murcury gilded texturing on the edges of the wings. The bowl has a gold rim to seat the disc and is finished in shu-nuri, red lacquer.

 

Total diameter is 4 cm or a touch over 1 1/2 inches. Feel free to critique :) , all views and opinions welcome.

 

Ford

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Such a lovely little piece! Thank you for sharing. My question has to do with the use of Mercury. Is there a form of non-toxic mercury for use? In our state, schools are closed down if a vile of mercury is broken. All the students are tested for mercury exposure... all a very big deal. I hope you are working safely!

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Janel,

 

nope, there's no safe form of pure mercury. Inhaling the fumes can cause dementia, loss of hair, shakes, convulsions, loss of teeth, a breakdown of the immune system and death. hmmm....wait a minute :)

now it all makes sense! B)

 

I don't actually get anywhere near the fumes myself, I get the neighbours kids to do it :D

 

Seriously though, it is very dangerous stuff and should not be treated lightly. I have a specialised full face respirator and I also use a fume cupboard that completely recycles the mercury fumes into water where it precipitates out safely to be reused. :)

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Toscano,

 

here is a view of the back of the bowl. I do the lacquer work myself, it's not that complicated when just doing simple finishes like this really. The other view is with the metal plate flipped over to show the gilt back and inscription etc. I always make everything myself, except for the linings and cushions in the kiri-wood boxes I present these things in. My dutiful wife makes those for me. :)

 

Hello Dick, I just assumed everyone used quicksilver to keep their top hats in shape :rolleyes: , seems I'm the only one trying to mantain standards. ;)

 

cheers and thanks for the kind comments.

Ford B)

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Guest ford hallam

Thanks David, glad you enjoyed it. :)

 

I actually moved to Cape Town about a year ago now but I've never had any problems getting hold of urushi. I've ordered materials from these people before but generally stock up with goodies whenever I visit my teacher in Tokyo. I know a lot of people seem to be very sensitive to raw urushi but I have a sneaky feeling it's nowhere near as common a problem as one would imagine. Certainly for us mongrels of the world B) . I reckon it's gaining an "urban legend" sort of reputation, perhaps it helps keep the competition away! ;) I use the material with gay abandon in my home, and none of my children, wife or friends have even so much as had an itch. :rolleyes:

 

If you do a little search on this forum you'll find a number of links to some very useful and interesting sites which may be of use to you.

 

regards, Ford

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Hello Ford,

Wow! I hardly know where to begin - this is exquisitely subtle work - very beautiful. It raises so many questions in my mind as to techniques involved as to keep me in awe. I obviously need to take this from the beginning elementary steps. - Are there any publications that detail these techniques or must one apprentice in Japan or the like? This really is amazing to me. Thank You So Much For Sharing!

Magnus

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Nice piece, Ford! Love the metal work, although I don't think I would have gone with the red bowl - I personally prefer something less bright, maybe a nice piece of yew (kind of orangy, shortly aging to a color a little more like the copper disk). But then, women really like red - and they tend to be the purchasers of art, or at least have the veto over it. Maybe you got it right after all...

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Hi Ralph,

 

"Women like red" comes from an art marketing course I took once upon a time. The exercise went something like this: Surveys show that women will predominantly choose red as a favorite color, and men choose blue. The question: if you are painting a picture that has a fly fishing theme, and your target audience is for a man's den or office, what should your color scheme be? Logically, one would think blue, but the answer is: Red.

 

The logic behind this is that men typically don't buy art. Women buy art for men. My wife and I, having spent many hours behind the desk in our local art gallery have seen this time and time again. The man may voice that he likes a piece of art, but it is the woman who approves the purchase, or vetoes it. Very seldom the other way around. Women also buy art for themselves, or tell men to buy a piece, but I have never seen a man buy art over the woman’s objection.

 

Weird, but true in my experience. Just check the local supermarket shelves, and you'll see that red is the predominant color on the cans and packaging. I often use a tiny "zinger" of red accent in my work, and get lots of comments from women who single out that feature as a positive. Men just tend to either like the piece or not, on an overall whole impression.

 

Men are simple creatures. Women are not.

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Magnus,

 

thanks for the comments, I'm just sorry the image is so grainy. As I indicated with the dimensions, it is actually quite dainty and concentrated in the hand. You'll just have to come to the next netsuke convention in New York. :) or pop along to the museum of art and design in Manhattan where you'll be able to see works by quite a few of the regular contributors here.

 

There is a basic foundation course in traditional Japanese carving and inlay work offered by the Tokyo School of Art, but it's only offered in Japanese. There are also various private institutions also offering instruction in various aspects of the tradition. There is one Japanese book that is a very basic manual but to be honest I would guess that it wouldn't be much help unless you'd had some sort of introduction. Perhaps Patrick could comment here, he spent time with me getting a brief introduction and I know he has a copy now. Patrick, any thoughts? and the fume cupboard arrangement can be found in Untracht's book; Jewellery; concepts and technology.

 

Untracht's book also has some very basic material on this kind of work which might be a good place to start if you were interested in gaining a better understanding of the techniques. I listed the book on the book review section of this forum ages ago. :rolleyes: Actually, the couple who contributed the stuff on the Japanese technique studied briefly with my teacher, Izumi Koshiro Sensei.

 

I keep promising to get my own web-site up, nearly there folks! ;) , the latest delay was a camera failure. I intend to create a series of tutorials and projects on-line as a teaching recourse. These will ultimately form part of a comprehensive manual which I intend to publish, with a DVD to demonstrate the techniques, etc.

 

Hi Tom,

 

funny you should have reservations about the red bowl. I deliberately chose this very exuberant finish as I wanted to really make this piece stand out alongside the other pieces I had with me in Miami. I'll get them on-line sometime soon so you can judge for yourself. It did work though and I could have sold 4 of them like this. :) I was feeling out the market and it was very interesting to see what different people were attracted to. My own interests and aesthetics range from this kind of thing to the very understated iron carving you may remember. I nicknamed this "the Hollywood piece" B) , it is unabashedly the Mae West of the group I had on offer. :)

 

thanks for all the generous comments everyone B) , Ford

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Guest ford hallam

oops! I've just discovered that our book list has vanished into the big electric blue. ;)

 

so here is a link to the aforementioned book by Oppi Untracht. click here to be magically transported.

 

I bought my copy in 1983, ( yes, I really am that old ) and it has been a very useful reference and inspiration, I still occasionally refer to it, see!, I admit, I don't know everything. :rolleyes: It's a pretty bulky book but I reckon it's one of the most useful workshop references I have, certainly worth the money if you have any ambitions of working with metal on a small scale. At $120 it may seem a tad expensive but let me assure you, this is excellent value for money. My copy cost 42 Rand, about $6 !.

 

It has been pointed out that it is'nt a step by step beginners book and while this is true it does actually offer 30 step by step projects of some more unusual techniques; like fire gilding, inlay and granulation. There are a number of excellent starter books available now so get one of those and then this, "the Bible".

 

Ford

 

of course the other excellent book by Oppi Untracht is; Metal techniques for craftsmen. You can read a description and review here to check it out. It is also well worth the money and is an excellent recourse. If you're interested in enamelling, he produced a useful reference on that subject too, although to be honest, some of the newer books on the subject may be more appealing.

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Yes, sorry about the missing Book Store. The links to Amazon refers back to the defunct .com address for TCP. To make that Book Store function again, I will have to reregister and relink everything, so that is on hold while I get other things done. Maybe I will just beef up my own Book Store page on my web site and link from here to there. That would make sense, if there are no objections.

 

Thanks Ford for the link to the book.

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Hi Ford,

 

I'll be very interested to see your entire offerings at the Miami show along-side the fire engine Mae West version. I never cease to be amazed at my lack of ability to predict what clients will like in the netsuke and netsuke-like genre. Ultimately, if you like the work and it has a good public reception, then it must be a winner.

 

I'm curious if you noticed the previously discussed female phenomenon amongst the browsers?

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While we are on the subject of books...

 

This may be somewhat off the topic of metal and jewelry, but my wife bought a book for us some time ago that is magical in its description of Chinese Glazes going back to the 1000's BCE. It is full of technical descriptions of techniques (temperatures, applications, firings, temperatures) as well as how to make your own Chinese high temp porcelain kilns. One of the most important parts is an entire series of glaze recipes. I should think anyone who is seriously into porcelain and glazes, this is a must have. I enjoy it just for the interesting information. This is the ref

 

Chinese Glazes: Their origins, Chemistry and Recreation

Nigel Wood

A&C Black, London, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia

copyright 1999

ISBN 0 8122 3476 6

 

Here's a pointer to U of Penn Press

 

First time I tried this BB code, hope it works!

 

Ralph

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Tom,

 

I've sort of been saving the images of the recent pieces for the launch of my site, so that I'd at least have something vaguely interesting and new to tempt everyone over to see. :rolleyes: Coming soon.....

 

To be absolutely honest I can't say I've ever really noticed a bias in terms of taste between men and women. In Miami though, we had a pretty mixed bag in terms of nationalities too. I think I presented a few different aesthetics and different people responded to very different things regardless of age or sex. There was one piece that was pretty much universally liked though, could have sold half a dozen the same. I might put that one up in a little while. How's that for a tease? B)

 

Actually, Doug saw some of my pieces in New York although he did have an extremely bad hangover at the time ;) ( just kidding), he might have some observations worth hearing. Doug?...

 

you've got me wondering now....

 

cheers, Ford

 

right, I've got duck breasts in the oven and a sweet and sour sauce to make.

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"There is one Japanese book that is a very basic manual but to be honest I would guess that it wouldn't be much help unless you'd had some sort of introduction. Perhaps Patrick could comment here, he spent time with me getting a brief introduction and I know he has a copy now. Patrick, any thoughts?"

 

The book is listed as KINKO DENTO GIHO (Traditional Soft-Metal worker's Techniques) by KATORI Masahiko, IO Toshio and IBUSE Keisuke. The book is entirely in Japanese, but it is heavy with pictures. I don't think the book as a picture reference only would be very useful to an absolute beginner, but if you have some idea and a fellow Like Ford to ask you can extract some useful things from the books pictures. The book is most valuable in that is has close up pictures of the Tagane (Chisels and punches).

Ford gave me a verbal overview of the Uchidachi technique while I was visiting him (top down forming with punches), but we did not have time to go into a demonstration. Using Fords primer and the pictures from the book I have been able to make this technique work for me quite well. I am sure I am missing some of the finer points, but it is workable and I have been able to make Menuki with the traditional hollow back that completely lack any tool marks. I would dearly love to be able to read this book, but I don't see myself learning to do that for quite awhile. It would be really nice if this particular book would get printed in English, but I am sure that Ford's manual will be much more comprehensive and most likely in English first.

Patrick

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Hi Patrick and Ford,

Do you have any idea where I can get a copy of that book?

Dick

 

Hi Dick,

Not sure where to get it besides Japan. My copy was passed on to me by a fellow enthusiast. It is fairly new though published in 1998. Here are the numbers off the back, it might help you track down a copy.

ISBN4-8445-8550-9 c3072

Patrick

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