Full Moon: Iron Uroboros

August 24, 2010

On today’s Full Moon, I finished this iron Uroboros bangle bracelet.  It is forged from a cut nail, tapered, hammered into a flattened hexagonal cross-section, and twisted.  The eyes are rivets that are domed on top and inset on the underside for a more comfortable fit.  The tail fits neatly into a tiny round drilled hole that forms the snake’s mouth.

This is the second in a series of bracelets that I am working on (the first was the steel wire Rahu and Ketu bangle).  At the moment I don’t plan to sell them.

A couple of nights ago, we saw an Arizona coral snake in the backyard at dusk.  These are rare small snakes that live underground most of the time, though they are occasionally seen in the desert on humid days during the summer monsoons.  The only other one I’ve ever seen was a roadkill, found near our house ten years ago, so I feel very privileged to have seen this beautiful creature and to know that it is part of the hidden world that lives in my yard in the ground, under rocks, and among the fallen leaves.

Forged Iron Uroboros Bracelet


Earrings for Me

August 17, 2010

I made these for myself – they are very plain and rather dull, but I like them for everyday wear with neutral colors.  I carved the stone beads from a pebble that I found in the Empire Mountains, and wrapped them with black steel wire and antique African iron bicone beads.  The stone is an irregularly laminated carbonaceous dolomite.  The beads have a soft polish and the brown stripes are a bit more obvious in person.

Black Striped Stone and Iron Earrings

The pod knife is sold and I’m working on a tiny one that has a silver pod.

Website Changes

August 15, 2010

I’ll be updating the Mineralarts website in the next few weeks.  We’ve set up our new computer and found that some of our software – including Netscape Composer, which I’ve used to make webpages since 2000 – is obsolete and won’t work with the new machine.  We also have to get a new scanner. 

The website still works fine, and the Ironwing Tarot and many of the cactus pages are already in “archive” status since they are no longer updated.  But the artwork homepage, the metalworking pages, and a couple of others need to be redesigned (and are overdue for a makeover anyway).  Until they’re done, I won’t be adding new metalwork or other art to the website.  I’ll still be posting photos and updates here on the blog, but WordPress doesn’t allow me to include the prices.  So if you’re interested in a piece that appears here but is not on the website, simply send me an inquiry via the e-mail link on www.mineralarts.com, and I’ll reply to you privately.  Thank you!

Hand Forged Pod Knife

August 14, 2010

Hand Forged Pod Knife

A new knife.  Inspired by antique Chinese fishermen’s knives, which have shorter and thicker blades than most Western pocket knives, making them more of a challenge to sharpen but less likely to break.  I use mine for cutting string etc.  I’ve made several of these but no two are alike – the shape of the blades and pods are all a bit different.

 Blade is forged from 1095 high-carbon steel, drilled, carved, and polished.  Holes are decorative and also make the blade lighter in weight without compromising its strength.  Pod is forged from mild steel, bur-textured with a subtle horizontal ribbed pattern.  Has a decorative hole and a short blunt point.  The blade swings freely on its steel rivet and does not lock.  Pod is 2 3/4 inches long, on a 7-inch black steel wire chain with forged hook for attaching to a belt loop etc.  Can also be worn as a pendant if the chain is removed and a cord strung through the oversized steel ring on the blade’s loop.  Blade and pod have been blackened in peanut oil but will become dark shiny gray with wear.  Some of the black finish has been polished off the sides of the pod to emphasize the texture of the metal and to polish the rivet.

Pod Knife


August 1, 2010

Lammas – the solar cross-quarter holiday that marks the halfway point between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox – also marks the transition to early autumn, and the eight-week period that I named “Gathering the Sun” many years ago.  We celebrated with a hike in the saguaro forest in the Rincon Mountains, listening to the trickling water that poured everywhere down steep canyons and tiny outcrops after yesterday’s heavy thunderstorms.  One of my favorite shrubs, Jatropha cardiophylla (Sangre de Drago or Limberbush) was in full leaf and flower.   This is a Sonoran Desert shrub that reaches the eastern edge of its range in the Rincon and Empire Mountains.   The sprays of thick, reddish brown twigs stand dormant for nine months, but with summer rains they grow shiny green heart-shaped leaves and tiny white urn-shaped flowers.  The picture below looks like a woodland scene, but it is really in saguaro desert.  The desert fern Cheilanthes wrightii is growing with a dryland spikemoss, Selaginella arizonica, in the shade of Jatropha cardiophylla (leaves on left side of photo).

Jatropha cardiophylla with Cheilanthes wrightii

Jatropha cardiophylla: Flowers

 The other important celebration happened here at home, when I worked in my newly-remodeled blacksmith shop for the first time.  The anvil, forge, and tools are in their same old places.  But we enclosed the area with a wood frame, perforated steel screen, and a security door, all painted white.  It’s very similar to the cat porch that we built a couple of years ago.  It’s bugproof and keeps out much of the wind and the sun’s glare, while letting in plenty of air and daylight.  I have great visibility but nobody can see me except at night if I have a light on inside.  The entire mood and character of the place has changed.  It’s no longer dark, dusty, windblown, and plagued by clouds of monsoon mosquitoes.  it’s now clean, airy, private, and shady but light – a perfect sanctuary for working.