Coiled Pot in Hammer-formed Brass

by shelbyvision on May 27, 2009

It’s been quite a while since I posted here; I just don’t have much to say unless it’s to talk about something new I’ve made. Well, I’ve finally got something new to talk about. This is a continuation of my quest for new techniques of forming, as described in my previous posts, Experimenting with new forms, part 1, and part 2. I’m calling this a “coiled pot”, as it resembles the simple method of making a clay pot. With brass, however, it’s not so simple. This piece is 4″ tall and 5″ in diameter.

In the first picture, I’ve taken a vase, the shape of which I like, and covered it with 2-3 layers of masking tape, then drawn pencil lines on it. Then I take a knife and cut along the lines and get a flat pattern, shown in the second picture on the sheet of brass. The piece is then cut out on the band saw, picture 3. It’s a pretty rough cut, and it took an hour or two to smooth the edges.Step 1Step 2Step 3
Picture 4 shows the piece formed into the general shape, some hammering on stakes having been done. Soldering starts at the bottom, as shown in picture 5. Soldering is a painstaking procedure, done a little at a time. for each step along the way I had to come up with a new way of clamping to keep the joint together, as in picture 6. Picture 7 shows the completely soldered vessel, with a ring for the lip ready to go. I got the idea for the ring from David Huang, who’s work I greatly admire.
Step 4Step 5Step 6Step 7
The last three pictures show the finished piece. When I started this project I thought it would be an easy as well as interesting way to make a vessel. Interesting, yes, easy, no. I could have made two or three similar vessels, raised in the traditional way, in the same amount of time. I really like the looks of this piece, though, so I will probably make more, and hopefully learn some shortcuts.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Kushlani Hall July 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

This is a stunningly clever idea. I love hammering metal in to organic forms. Love the way you cut out the masking tape also in a very flowy style. Is the masking tape technique something you just came up with? Love it.

jason June 2, 2009 at 11:34 am

Of course; I hadn’t thought of adding to the stencil to compensate for wastage, but it’s so obvious. I was thinking for a raised/cut version, that the vessel could be made oblong to compensate, but it would still be a bear to fit after cutting even if everything was perfect.

Once again, beautiful job on a novel looking piece.

shelbyvision June 1, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Thanks Jason. No, and I’m not even sure that would be possible. There has to be an overlap in order to solder, and that would be very tricky to do, if done the way you suggest. When I traced the pattern onto the flat sheet, I simply added about 1/8″ onto both sides to make sure there would be overlap.

jason May 30, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Very cool. Do you think this would be harder than the effort and time of making a similar one by raising, cutting, then soldering?

shelbyvision May 30, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Thank you Beth. Good suggestion. I’ve done a little of that on my website. I’ll probably do some more of that when I remodel my website, which is due soon.
Ruta: Thanks, and the tools are fun to work with, and with every new project I tend to add to my collection.

Ruta Murphy May 29, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Once again, your work is amazing!!! Oh – and what tools you have – – now those are some that look like they would be fun to work with.

Kind Regards,
(just a hobbyist — of little jewelry pieces)

Beth Wicker May 29, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Lovely piece – a standard raised piece would not have the same look…. Neat the way you came at the project. Thanks for including pictures along the way – much easier to visualize what you are doing. Maybe had a small folio with pictures and explanation included when you display and sell the piece – people love stories!

shelbyvision May 29, 2009 at 7:59 am

Thank you Vickie, Jane, for the kind words. Yes, for me, the quest for new discovery is the only thing that keeps me going.

Jane Walker May 29, 2009 at 6:54 am

Sometimes, you just gotta PLAY and experiment and have FUN. That’s how new techniques are developed and truly interesting works of art created. Everyone needs a break from the bread and butter work to stay fresh. I love this piece and salute the concept … thanks, Shelby.

Vicki Kataja May 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Incredible! I love it. Keep it up!

shelbyvision May 28, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Thanks, Jerry. The simple answer to your question is: charge more for it. The unanswered question is: will anyone pay that much?

Jerry Fowler May 28, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I like the looks of the bowl very much, nice proportions and texture but just wondering if it takes more time then traditional raising how are you going to make any money doing it? I guess that comes with practice and time. Still it is very nice work.

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