Tuesday, May 26, 2009

John Little - Inflating Sheet

This short sequence was filmed at last weekend's 'Great Lakes International Ironfest' in Buffalo. (May 23, 2009)
John Little is a well known and respected Canadian artisan blacksmith from near Halifax in Nova Scotia. I had met John quite briefly at CANIRON 5, where we both were feature demonstrators. Both of us were extremely busy (smelt for me, his home event) so hardly had time to shake hands at that point. John has also come into Ontario to teach at Haliburton, plus run a workshop for Ontario Artist Blacksmith's Association last fall. I was unable to make that weekend for being busy with other work. So long and short, this last weekend was the first chance I have had to see John work, hear him talk about his work - and actually visit with him.

(John working at the anvil, assisted by his wife Nancy)
The quality of the sequence is not great! Something with the lighting in the industrial space used for the event was causing the camera to cycle to dark about every 10 seconds (as you will see). For that reason I kept the clips pretty short. I also was filming from a good 10 metres away, and the hand held footage is a bit jumpy.
What you can see is the second part of a more complex element. John had worked two pieces of 16 gauge mild steel sheet. These were folded down the long axis, then the fold forged and rippled. Last the fold was opened up again, leaving an organic spine or rib down the middle of the sheet. The sheets where then cut to a rough oval, then carefully MIG welded after a length of small diameter tubing had been inserted in one end.
A tube attached to a low pressure air source was fitted, and the two steel surfaces carefully heated. (Also seen in the video clip). As the metal came up to forging temperature, John bled air into the 'balloon' to inflate it. Control of temperature, position and pressure combine to create a fully three dimensional form. Up till now, John has been cutting the finished form in half to produce a number of 'bells'. This follows his interest in forging and creating musical instruments and other 'sound sculptures'.

I was stuck by the possibilities of such contoured shapes for any number of sculptural objects - for example as the bodies of fantastical fishes or insects...

No comments:


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE