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Hammer and Anvil
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Below are the 6 most recent journal entries recorded in hammerandanvil's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006
5:48 pm
I uploaded the photoessay on blacksmithing that I did for my UMass class Digital Storytelling, so if you want to watch it, you can get to it here. It's a ~40mb flash file, and it doesn't stream (because I don't know how to do that), so you either need to download it or wait for it to load completely.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
3:17 am
the shop
the shop,
originally uploaded by folzgold.
Here's that wider shot!
1:47 am
originally uploaded by folzgold.
Tonight, the forge was very busy! There were four other people working there! I don't know all their names. Somewhere is a wide angle picture of all of them, but I didn't put it online yet. I don't have time at the moment, but maybe that'll be the one I bring to class to do the photoshop exercises on.

gold leaf
gold leaf,
originally uploaded by folzgold.
This hook is a month late. I made one similar to it, and then my friend Sarah asked if I would make one for her. Of course, I said. She needs a hook in her room and I need the practice. Tonight, I was just fooling around, so I thought I'd take a shot at it.

I'm not at the point where my leaves come out really well even half the time, but this was a passable one. The gold patina is very cool: While your piece still has a dull red heat, brush it with a brass wire brush. The brass rubs off (and smells awful–it's probably not good for anyone), and the iron gets this nice gold finish, which, if I recall correctly, turns green over time, because of the copper.

1:40 am
"The spirit of the Middle Ages soars over the town…Air is filled with clanking of the armory, clatter of horses’ hoofs, unfamiliar sound of voices – those are knights from different countries who came to the tournament to win the beautiful princess! Sounds of folk music and smells of various Ukrainian viands hover above the main square in the historical center of the city…"

I really want to go to the Festival Of Ornamental Blacksmithing in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine. This year, it's May 5-7th, unfortunately the weekend before my final projects are due. Also, it's probably amazingly expensive to get there. How frustrating!

Oh well... maybe next year.
Tuesday, February 21st, 2006
10:40 pm
Metal is all pervasive. I can smell it on my hands, on my clothing, and in my hair for hours after going to the forge. Dirt gets in the wrinkles of my hands and stays there for days. Tiny flakes of metal, still 700 degrees when they hit the ground fuse to my shoelaces.
Our toolbench.

My tools are metal. I use metal to shape itself – a self-referential craft. I made a chisel one week, and the next, used the chisel to make a fork. The hammer that shapes both of these is made of the same material. All of it comes from the earth. A very grounded, powerful activity.
work in progress
work in progress,
A fork in progress.

I can feel the power of the forge in me even after I leave. Echoes of each hammer blow reverberate inside me. I am aware of how I have used every part of my body. My legs support the weight of my body, my back is my posture as I stand over the metal, my left hand holds the bar, the right hand swings the hammer. My face sees and feels the heat coming from the forge. My body does not forget. It wants to sink to the ground and remember, reflect, heal, build.

The next evening, it has still not forgotten. I have blisters on my hands that make themselves known under hot water. My left pointer finger has a small from some metal flake or another. I burnt a knuckle on my right hand. I can tell this one is going to be a scar. I continually touch it to my lips to feel the slight sting. There is still some dirt under my fingernails and in the texture of my skin. My right hand is swollen slightly from holding and swinging the hammer.

It is hot in there. H-O-T.
I can't stop thinking about what I am going to do next. Two leaves and a fork, my work from last night, sit beside my computer as I do my 3D FX homework. They are a stark contrast, one a discipline that is foundational to human culture and civilization, the other a brand new field that is still making leaps and bounds today.

That I am recording this age old craft with the newest technology has not escaped me. The irony is amusing.
Wednesday, February 8th, 2006
10:22 pm
forge lighting
forge lighting,
My pal Dan lighting the forge.
originally uploaded by Jacob .
Metalworking could easily be considered one of the foundations of human civilization. In a pre-industrial society, metalworkers were the only ones who could make their own tools and tools for other craftsmen–vitally important to society. Their amazing versitility is reflected in the wide variety of things that are made out of metal, from wheels to nails to gates, hinges, weapons, tools, utensils... the list goes on and on.
The anvil, tongs, a hammer, and a hardy:
A blacksmith's best friends.
originally uploaded by Jacob .

I am a blacksmith, learning at the Lemelson Center for Design at Hampshire College. I've been working at the forge since November 2004, and I have taken two classes. Most of my involvement during the non-class time is sporadic, but for the purposes of this blog, I will be in the shop at least once a week to write about my experiences.
This is a dragon head I am working on.
originally uploaded by Jacob.

Few people have the opportunity to experience blacksmithing, even though it is so fundamental to the intricacies of our ancestors' daily lives. This blog is intended to describe the forge in great detail over time as I learn more about the craft. I want to capture the very physical and visceral atmosphere as well as gain a sense of perspective about blacksmithing, as I live in a society that isn't dependent on it, and I am only a hobbyist.
My hope is that you are able to get a feel for the forge. Perhaps I will walk you through some basic skills and also write creatively about my experiences. Later on, there may be short videos. In the end, I aim to have painted a vibrant picture of what blacksmithing is like.

Current Mood: creative
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