Man in the Moon, hammer-formed brass sculpture

by shelbyvision on October 14, 2009

I haven’t posted here in quite a while. I’ve been working on a lot of experiments that have mostly ended up enlarging my collection of scrap. This moon face is an idea I’ve had in my head for a couple years, and I finally got around to making it. I think it turned out pretty well. I know it’s not really that original, the image has been around for centuries, but I think maybe the medium might have some originality, that is, forming flat metal into a totally three dimensional crescent moon face.
I have shown the progression here from start to finish, skipping over most of the minute details. I made a hardwood form (seen in picture #4) just for this project to help in forming the anticlastic curvature. Much of the inward hammering was done on this form.
The first four pictures show the beginnings, flat piece, hammering the nose outward, hammering non-nose areas inward. In the fifth image it’s ready for annealing.

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In the next three pictures we have the piece after a lot more hammering, ready to anneal again, then, hammering to create the curvature necessary to join it at the back, then, after having hammered every part of it, it’s ready for annealing again.

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Then there’s a lot more hammering, refining the form and getting the seam closed. the next picture shows that process at one of the pointed ends. Then it’s ready for silver-soldering. The last picture shows a spring clamp used for holding the seam closed at one of the ends.

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After soldering, the seam gets cleaned up, any excess solder removed and sanded and polished smooth. Then the whole thing is planished, then buffed, cleaned, and given a liver of sulfur patina, then rubbed down with #00 steel wool. The last three pictures show the finished piece. It’s 8″ from point to point.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Paap Tamiyajol July 23, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I’am really amazing your works for long time. But never contact you. I’m thai (Thailand) The land of smile. I’;m starting new project it’s Brass hand rail. The handle part at the top is brass oval shape.
It ‘s spiral stair. My plan is parallel two lines of steel pipe and make the flexible patern. Brass hammered shaping upper side and bottom side fabrice together. And then tig welding. Brass sheet thickness 1/16″.
Have you any suggestion about this project. This my first time with brass sheet.
Best regard
Paap

shelbyvision October 19, 2009 at 7:35 am

Thanks Valerie, Ruta.
Ruta, don’t forgo it, go for it!

Ruta October 16, 2009 at 9:46 am

Your work rocks! . . . as usual. Thanks for the great pics and explanations. One day, I need to just got to my studio and “play” and see what happens.

Valerie Heck October 16, 2009 at 7:23 am

Thanks for sharing! It’s wonderful!

shelbyvision October 15, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Thanks Jerry. Actually, I doubt it will sell on Etsy, it’s a little too expensive.

Jerry Fowler October 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I think your going to be making Lily another one as I see no reason why that one shouldn’t sell unless everyone is stone broke because of the economy. Nice work as usual and a nice pictorial on the creation of it. Thanks.

shelbyvision October 15, 2009 at 10:32 am

Thanks, Sharon. Great idea, earrings. 18k would be awfully expensive, but I could afford silver. Even if they were a couple inches long, they would still be lightweight.
Thanks, Penny. Smaller tools would be easier to make. I make mine as the need arises, for a specific purpose. If I’m lucky, I find lots of other uses for them in the future.

Penny Evans October 15, 2009 at 3:10 am

Your work always amazes me!!!! I loved this, and especially your pics showing how to do it. I think I am going to try and make some of the tools you have, although mine will be a bit smaller for jewellery!!!! Your shaping tools are so simple and yet look so effective!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

sharron gray October 14, 2009 at 11:09 pm

Wow, its really beautiful and I would think it will sell easily. Although I am sure it would be a bit harder to make small for a pair of earrings I can imagine how wonderful they would look in 18K dangle earrings!

shelbyvision October 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Thanks Beth. Actually I think a larger size is easier, because it is much easier to hold onto and control while hammering it. For now, it’s hanging from the chandelier over the kitchen table. I have it for sale on my Etsy shop, and if it doesn’t sell, it will be a gift for my granddaughter Lily’s 4th birthday in November. If it does sell, I’ll have to make another one for Lily.

Beth Wicker October 14, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Wow – love it!!! I just finished a workshop on repousse’, but am not sure I will ever be ready to tackle anything that big…. It is lovely! Where are you going to hang it?

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