Sunday, May 22, 2011

Eisenfest! Eisenfest! Eisenfest!

Legendary running buddies, Scott Lankton and Holly Fisher will once again pack their hammers and aprons and roll the dice in the name of fun and enlightenment.

 The dynamic duo will depart in early September and head to Friesoythe Germany to join friend and comrade Alfred Bullermann
Learn more about Alfred Bullermann..

along with many other anvil jockeys from all over Europe for a deluxe-hammer-riffic celebration of Iron.

 Scott and Holly were last in Deutchland in 2005 for the International peace project FERRO INSIGHT held in Vechta. Over 40 smiths from all over the world forged metal alloys from German tanks to create a lasting monument for peace. The "Panzer-Knockers" (tank bangers) worked for 12 days and nights to complete the over 16' high sculpture.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wrought Iron and Nickel Pattern Welded (Damascus) Belt Buckles.

I'm happy to share just a tiny slice of some of the work I have produced while serving as Artist-in-Residence at The National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, TN.

Wrought Iron and Nickel Pattern Welded (Damascus) Belt Buckles.

Pattern welding is the practice in sword and knife making of forming a blade of several metal pieces of differing composition that are forge-welded together and twisted and manipulated to form a pattern. Often called Damascus steel, blades forged in this manner often display bands of slightly different patterning along their entire length. These bands can be highlighted for cosmetic purposes by proper polishing or acid etching. Pattern welding was an outgrowth of laminated or piled steel, a similar technique used to combine steels of different carbon contents, providing a desired mix of hardness and toughness. Although modern steelmaking processes negate the need to blend different steels, pattern welded steel is still used by custom knifemakers for the cosmetic effects it produces.

By the 2nd and 3rd century AD, the Celts were commonly using pattern welding for decoration in addition to structural reasons. Alternating layers of steel would be forged into rods, which would the be twisted to form complex patterns when forged into a blade. By the 6th and 7th centuries, pattern welding had reached a level where thin layers of patterned steel were being overlayed onto a soft iron core, indicating that the pattern welding was primarily decorative rather than functional. By the end of the Viking era, pattern welding fell out of use in Europe[3]

During the Middle ages, Damascus steel was being produced in the Middle East and brought back to Europe. The similarities in the markings led many to believe it was the same process being used, and pattern welding was revived by European smiths who were attempting to duplicate the Damascene steel. While the methods used by Damascene smiths to produce their blades was lost, recent efforts by metallurgists and bladesmiths (such as Verhoeven and Pendray) to reproduce steel with identical characteristics have yielded a process that does not involve pattern welding.[1]
A similar technique was also employed by Scandinavian Medieval swordsmiths. The Mora knife is today manufactured with a similar technique. Today the traditional crucible steel is seldom used, but the high carbon steel is usually tool steel or stainless steel.

The ancient swordmakers exploited the aesthetic qualities of pattern welded steel. The Vikings in particular were fond of twisting bars of steel around each other, welding the bars together by hammering and then repeating the process with the resulting bars, to create complex patterns in the final steel bar. Two bars twisted in opposite directions created the common chevron pattern. Often, the center of the blade was a core of soft steel, and the edges were solid high carbon steel, similar to the laminates of the Japanese.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Makin' Big Horses for the Richland Park Horse Trials

I made horse heads yesterday! The heads are one of the more complicated elements of the pieces I am making specifically for my favorite event of the year,  The Richland Park Horse Trials.
I'll be manning the forge and displaying my work while reveling in the beauty of over 500 acres of Michigan farmland dotted with fantastically talented horses and riders doing their thing with skill and grace.
I'm making big horses specifically for this event.  They are freestanding, (around 20-21 hands!) and made from 9/16" corten roundstock. I'll display these and some of my other work as well as make some coal smoke, hammer away on a few things and tell some jokes. Last year, I even got to learn a few things from a farrier or two and loved swapping stories and tales from the world of hot metal. The event is open to the public, with a small fee for parking. Proceeds to benefit the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center, in Augusta, Michigan. Whether you're an avid horse lover or not, you'll really enjoy your time at the event. Its quite spectacular.
Learn more about The Richland Park Horse Trials:

Learn more about Eventing:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day Eighty Three

Today marks the last day of my residency here at The Metal Museum and subsequently my last blog entry as such. After this is written and posted, the computer gets packed up and the car heads north to mother Michigan. I'll be back in full swing by Wednesday, guiding SmartShop as it continues to inform and enlighten the community via the metal arts. Never fear though, the blog bug has bitten me and I will continue to blog after I return to Kalamazoo and re-assume my post at SmartShop. Look for exciting news, funny pictures and of course, lots and lots of metalwork. Thanks so much for your comments and your time. This has been a very incredible experience and it was a distinct pleasure to share it with all of you.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day Eighty Two

Just a few pictures from my adventure.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day Eighty One.

Forging on the River is today. Blacksmithing demonstrations, fellowship, food beer and an auction to benefit the museum. 'nuff said!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day Eighty.

Here's some of the work that makes it all look easy when it done.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day Seventy Nine

Another piece for the show at Water Street Glassworks in April. Again, try to imagine chunks of glass threaded on the rods and creating a colorful translucent center amongst the prongs. The small details in this piece bring me great joy. I've found a happy side affect of working on jewelry scale is an appreciation and concentration on small details in bigger pieces. This one is without a name as well. ideas?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day Seventy Eight

What I made today, and well yesterday and the day before. Its does need a title and I'm hoping you can help. But before you do, you'll need to imagine it finished and it won't be finished without glass (which happens April 5, with the help of comrade Jerry Catania).

Imagine this piece with a large slab of red glass dangling from the center portion of the squiggly line, then you'll be able to see the piece that will anchor my show at Water Street Glassworks in Benton Harbor Michigan on April 17th.

Hinge detail. How do you like them balls?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day Seventy Seven

After much fiddling and messing about, I managed to make a die (a material-shaping device) for a 1 inch diameter sphere. Thanks again to Jim Masterson's thoughtful teaching (and my careful adherence to the lesson), it worked out wonderfully. I used to have to purchase spheres and weld them onto rods, grinding the weldment carefully. Now all I can forge all the balls I care to. Gone are the days of reliance upon a metals catalog and an electric welder! Gone are the days of tedious grinding! If anyone asks where I get my balls, I can say I make them myself! Fantastic!

Holly and Phil leaving the smithy after a hard days' work. Those overalls were spotless when I started.

For all of you blacksmiths out there, just in case you didn't know already, Superquench is the Bomb-Diggity. Fo' sho'.

p.s. I love a politician that drops the F-bomb. Well said Joe. The health care reform bill IS a big fuc*in' deal!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day Seventy Six

This may bore the heck out of some of you, but I'll post it anyway. Here's a little video of the last part of a riding lesson with Trainer Nick Handy at The Mid South Dressage Academy in Hernando, MS. It was the first time I rode Miles, (his proper name is Frequent Flyer Miles). He's a Shire Cross born in 1993. He has been shown to I1. As you might can tell, I have a lot of learning to do, but this is fun. Really!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day Seventy Five

I've been composing a list in my mind of what I will miss about this place once I am gone. It has helped me to have a heightened appreciation of things, knowing that I will be leaving soon. Some of the things are small and ordinary, some of them are extraordinary. All of them are unique and special to this place. Eight days from now, I'll be packing up my things, loading up the dog and heading home, so its time to share the list of the people, experiences and other facets of my experience that I appreciate and will miss and remember with fondness.

I'll miss the round window in the bathroom connected to my room. The window is hinged across its diagonal and tilts open for ventilation. Its really really special. I like to peek out of it and check the weather after I've showered in the morning.

I'll miss Jim Masterson and all of his infinite wisdom. I'll miss his shotgun laugh and the way he always seems to encourage and enlighten those around him.

I'll miss drinking water out of the tap and it tasting so good. The best water in the world comes right out of the faucet here in Memphis, TN.

I'll miss my Con Lab buddy, Kevin Burge. Kevin has shared copious amounts of technical information and some of the best 80's hip hop.

I'll miss sitting on the front porch in the morning, drinking coffee and gazing past the museum grounds onto the great and mighty Mississippi river.

I'll miss Mary Catherine Floyd. My friend, my comrade, my partner in cleaning frenzies. Mary Catherine is such a wonderful unique and amazing person. She has brought light and joy to my life.

I'll miss the rumble of the Tennessee / Arkansas bridge and the hum of the barges. Those sounds have always heightened the feeling that the world is moving and things are getting accomplished.

I'll miss Jake, his paintings, his intense love for Phil (the dog) and his funny fart impressions.

I'll miss the Metal Museum's power hammers. 

 I'll miss Carissa. A lot. For many reasons.

I'll miss the sound of cars whizzing by my bedroom window in the morning on their way to President's island. This sound has become my alarm clock.

I'll miss not having a need for an alarm clock!

I'll miss Judy Davis and everything that she is, And she's so much!

I'll miss feeling free and unemcumbered.

I'll miss having roomates, knowing that there are other people in the house, someone to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and perhaps even a late night beer with. 

I'll miss Joel, Jeannie, Nancy, Leila, Mr. Rogers, and Ralph.

I'll miss feeling like I am part of a large family that lives in a special place and does special work.

I'll miss Friday nights and Sundays in Hernando, MS at The Mid South Dressage Academy. Horses and dogs; Harley, Starbucks, Roo, Wally, Miles, Bug, Arwin. I'll miss my new friends and trainers, Nick and Ila Handy. They've have taught me so much and opened their lives, sharing themselves. I've really felt at home. Judy, my trail riding companion, I'll miss her too.

I'll miss Gus's Fried Chicken, Coletta's Pizza, Pearl's Oyster House, the noodle soup at Pho Vietnam,  and Mary Catherine's tuna salad.

I'll miss my "office", the dining room table in the duplex, which faces the museum grounds and casts soft beams of sunlight on the task at hand.

I'll miss having a whole roomful of teachers and creative guides around me when I am working in the studio.

I'll miss feeling understood and appreciated and loved for just exactly what I am, nothing more or less.

I'll miss those Elvis billboards.

I'll miss Memphis radio. Especially WEVL and the one that plays "all hip hop all the time".

I'll miss tromping to the gallery to check my mail, seeing Nancy Jackson unwrapping new items for the gift shop and catching up on the talk of the day with her and Judy.

I'll miss gazing across the museum grounds and seeing coal smoke come out the the stacks in the smithy, knowing someone has already started the day's work.

I'll miss Jim Masterson singing my name.

This list could go on and on and I'm sure it will, but that's enough for today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day Seventy Four

Today, my joints hurt, I have 3 new cuts on my left hand and 2 new cuts on my right, my index finger is charred and I am very very happy. What am I doing? Forging steel of course!
Its been very nice to return to my mother medium and work with the heavy, hot and large. Am busily making sculptures steel sculptures that will eventually accommodate cast glass elements for my April 17th show at Water Street Glassworks in Benton Harbor, MI. ( Too much fun!
Jim Masterson and I have plans to make a die for forming spheres this afternoon and we'll finish up the day eating some yummy roast duck from Andy Dohner's farm. Another fabulous day full of new experiences here at The Metal Museum!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day Seventy Three

Some of the results of the last two days of annealing, pickling, forging, annealing, pickling, forging (rinse and repeat!). Introducing the "Heads -n- Tails" forged sterling silver bracelets.
There's only 5 of them. Ever!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day Seventy Two

You'll love this one, make sure you watch the whole thing. Happy Days!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day Seventy One

Just another day in paradise. With a video camera. And tons of equipment. And plenty of work to do.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day Seventy

On this wondrous day, I am busily attempting to forge silver. Its time consuming, frustratingly tiny and delicate, but I am loving it. I am naively hoping to have a bracelet by the end of the day. It is possible. While I am annealing, pickling, forging, annealing, pickling and forging again, I am thinking back on on the fun stuff I have done throughout the years.

So, with no further ado, here's my list of:

Holly's Top Ten Creative Endeavors
10. Writing "Take Me to Jail" on Adam Hawk's forehead with a sharpie at the 2006 ABANA Conference in Seattle, WA.
9. All of the many outfits I have worn to serve as Auctioneer for The Metal Museum's Repair Days Auction.
8. The Smash-A-Torium!
7. Auctioneering.
6. The band Sawhorse and our honky tonk cover of Prince's "Purple Rain".
5. Resurrecting an abandoned and severely neglected house in the Edison neighborhood and living happily in it for over 15 years.
4. The "Mono-Jack-A-Lith".
3. Horses made lovingly from metal.
2. Every single coal forge I have have ever designed and fabricated.
1. SmartShop in its entirety.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day Sixty Nine

I turned on my camera today to get some more shots of my work in progress and it looks like the spirit of Jimi Hendrix invaded and made everything all purple and hazy. Must be the warranty has run out. I'm really sick of this planned obsolescence stuff. Why can't things last? It reminds me of a perfect blacksmith joke. 
How many Blacksmiths does it take to change a light bulb? 
1 to change the bulb, and 100 to stand around shaking their heads, complaining about how the new light bulb will never be as good as the old one.
Since I can't post anything original, I thought I'd share this little video with you. I'm not sure how I found it, but I just love the silly song. If any of you know what language this is and what the lyrics are, I'm really excited to find out.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day Sixty Eight


In fluid dynamics, an eddy is the swirling of a fluid and the reverse current created when the fluid flows past an obstacle. The moving fluid creates a space devoid of downstream-flowing fluid on the downstream side of the object. Fluid behind the obstacle flows into the void creating a swirl of fluid on each edge of the obstacle, followed by a short reverse flow of fluid behind the obstacle flowing upstream, toward the back of the obstacle. This phenomenon is most visible behind large emergent rocks in swift-flowing rivers.

An eddy current (also known as Foucault current) is an electrical phenomenon discovered by French physicist François Arago in 1824. It is caused when a conductor is exposed to a changing magnetic field due to relative motion of the field source and conductor; or due to variations of the field with time. This can cause a circulating flow of electrons, or a current, within the body of the conductor. These circulating eddies of current create induced magnetic fields that oppose the change of the original magnetic field due to Lenz's law, causing repulsive or drag forces between the conductor and the magnet. The stronger the applied magnetic field, or the greater the electrical conductivity of the conductor, or the faster the field that the conductor is exposed to changes, then the greater the currents that are developed and the greater the opposing field.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day Sixty Six

Bronze Drafty - measures 2" long x 1.5" high x .5" wide

Thursday, March 11, 2010