Singing and Playing With Metal

I’ve been working on titanium, mostly in windchimes. Here’s a video of me talking (slowly, for some reason) about an experimental piece where I’m playing with flame anodization, electric anodization, sanding belt textures, etc.https://youtu.be/qdLQZWlx5tg

https://vimeo.com/628398537 has me doing a couple solos, a few weeks back. 5:20 and 27:00 are my pieces (the rest is a church service).

I just uploaded a recital from this past weekend https://youtu.be/VAiQViaru-k . I’m the first 3 pieces and the last piece (25:38). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAiQViaru-k&t=25m38s is a link to that last piece.

-D

Entertainment During Corona

It has been a very long time since I’ve written here. Some of that’s getting out of the habit. A larger part of that is that … well, there’s just nothing happening. I’ve been singing and working on windchimes, pretty much. But I realize that I’m not even sharing about the windchimes. So, here’s a story about windchimes and how I make them.

I’ve had a windchime calculator for quite some time, but just never really got to it. I found impetus to move to titanium from brass because of this video. His chopsticks look beautiful, and onlinemetals.com would ship me some titanium… and so we began. General process:

  1. Find yourself a decent chord at https://www.onemotion.com/chord-player/
  2. Look up the lengths (chime length & length of the hang point)
  3. Cut chimes to lengths
  4. Drill them
  5. Polish the bejeezus out of them
  6. Spin them up on a high-speed drill, while heating them with a torch
  7. Use a polishing belt to strategically remove stripes (yes, while everything’s still running)
  8. Hang them up (after they’ve cooled)

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Above is what one looks like while in progress. That silver titanium will quickly oxidize to a “gold straw” color, because the metal’s already hot.

The least fun in this hobby is the sheer number of drill bits I’ve broken. I bought a drill press, which should help a little bit at least, just by keeping the drill bit straight. We’ll see. It’s definitely the bottleneck in the process.

Next up as not fun is that I really ought to get a band saw. I’ve got a jigsaw (pro tip: a “fine metal” blade on the end-grain wood setting is what you want, for titanium – just chomps the metal out beautifully). It works well enough, actually. The band saw would be a luxury upgrade, when I still haven’t solved the drill issue.

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It’s the blowtorch stuff that’s the most fun, of course. Developing new techniques, seeing what works and doesn’t. Using a large torch to get a base color = a consistent heat platform to build on, whereas just hitting it with the small torch will give much more variation in color.

Making little decorations to go along with the chimes (I’ll work with brass when I’m frustrated with titanium – brass is like butter, in comparison) is also quite peaceful.

At some point I’m going to buy an SMT Micro Anodizer (have a look at some of the examples there), so I can lay down straight-lined patterns, one-color patterns, or can hook it to a paintbrush and paint with electrolyte.

That’s kinda what things have been like around here. Finish work, sing a while if it’s hot, make some chimes if it’s cool. Rinse and repeat.

-D

Is this thing on?

It has been an eternity since I’ve blogged anything. Life just seems to roll on, no real change, and here we are with me not having even bothered to pull any pictures from the phones. And did I use a real camera during this time? Nope. Life is kind of narrow right now.

Irvington 865

Here’s what work looks like for me these days. Every client wants me to use their laptop, rather than giving me access through my own system. So, I’ve got a stack of laptops sitting here, which I shuffle around as needed. I’ve just purchased a keyboard/video/monitor switch, so once I go through the setup, I’ll at least have laptops with decent keyboard and monitor!

Do have a look at the latest batch of photos, on www.flickr.com/photos/wishiwerebaking . I’ve taken up a bit of metalworking, primarily making windchimes out of titanium, and there are a few chime photos up there. If you’re interested in something other than the most recent photos, www.flickr.com/photos/wishiwerebaking/collections organizes all of the albums into collections, so it’s possible to navigate. For example:

  • Europe
    • Netherlands (10 albums)
    • Castles (16 albums)
    • England (2 albums)
    • Italy (7 albums)
    • Scotland (2 collections)
      • Around and About (48 albums)
      • Glasgow (47 albums)
    • Traveling About

And on it goes from there, fairly organized. 39,153 photos.

I can’t tell you that I’ll be blogging more, especially now that email subscriptions are being disabled by FeedBurner. We’ll see how it goes.

-D

Calendula Gone Mad

Fremont 400

Well, friends. The calendula never died & we’ve had a huge culling of the most intrusive ones. The silver bushes are taking off, as are a few other things which languished all last year. Lack of gophers is surprisingly good for gardening. T has planted tomatoes and a wee herb garden. Spring has sprung?

-D

Hybrid Calendula

We bought a couple of different varieties of calendula, which apparently decided they were a great match, and have self-sown. The hybrids are just wild, with a range of colors, shapes, and sizes. We shared a bunch with some friends & transplanted as many as we could to other parts of the yard. There are still dozens to dig out and encourage, and it’s worth the effort!

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Irvington 712 Irvington 711
Irvington 724

Nothing much to share. We’ve been isolating, of course, and even stopped visiting the farmer’s market about a month ago. Grocery delivery means we’re only leaving the house to walk through the neighborhood. I’m considering getting a trickle charger for the car, simply because the only time it goes anywhere is if we need to visit a doctor; we’re being very good about brushing our teeth, as that’s on hold for a while as well.

I hope you have some flowers in your life. If not, they’re cheap, and a real joy – just don’t get sidetracked by the gophers (new plants are cheaper than traps, in more ways than one).

-D

Emo Statuary

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Dramatic Man Is Dramatic No, really – Dra-Ma-Tique.

I continue to go through our photos, weeding out the cruft. There are now only 101 photos in the Glasgow Botanic Gardens set, having removed 59 which were … well, crummy, or redundant, or blurry, etc. I’m finding about 1/4 to 1/3 of them are simply not all that great. I have a period I call my Orange Period, as I didn’t know about white balance & every bloody thing in Scotland is lit by mercury vapor lamps. I have a period where I really must have had my monitor set to insane brightness, as those photos are pretty uniformly dark (and not awesome, so no point in reviving them from raw).

Glasgow Botanic Gardens 003 Glasgow Botanic Gardens 002
And then there’s the man and his monkey. Monkey

I’ve just bought a gimbal for the camera, as I’m tasked with taking some video of the choir, outside. Hopefully this will mean some improvement in still pictures, as well. I’m not sure it’s going to be better than the optical stabilization in the lenses, but I’m pretty sure they’ll complement each other nicely.

Enjoy the weekend!

-D

Unicorns

I happened across an article in the Paris Review about the Unicorn tapestries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; Rockefeller apparently obtained them and gifted them – and I’m not sure how I feel about the originals living in NYC. In any event, they reminded me of having watched the weavers at Stirling Castle, as they worked over the course of years, to re-weave the pieces.

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Keeping in mind these weavings are something like 10 feet / 3 meters wide, and as tall as the ceiling, they represent an immense amount of labor. I think I’m more impressed that Historic Scotland essentially had full-time labor over the course of something like 7 years, to produce replicas.

-D

Glasgow University

Most of the time, getting to Glasgow University sucked. But, most of the time in Scotland, getting places sucked, because it was inevitably cold, and probably either snowy or wet or both (“wintry mix”). There are days that make up for it, though, and those days were glorious. Being able to walk through a real park on the way to school was a real joy (when it didn’t suck).

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For an American, walking through a park & looking up at this university, realizing that you attend here. Well, it’s a bit of a thrilling feeling. This is something special, different, exotic. This has history we don’t have. The university was founded in 1451, so it’s bound to have history.

Kelvingrove Park 317 HDR

For all that we loved looking at the main building, I only ever had a few meetings in there. A conference.

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We had choir rehearsals in the chapel attached to the main building, and so came to love wandering about the buildings, visiting our favorite trees, etc. And I did get to climb to the top of the tower, to photograph Kelvingrove Museum from above.

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Glasgow – the filthy city – was home for maybe the longest we’ve had a city that felt like home. We lived in Glasgow from 2007 through 2012. Our friends there would think I’m crazy, but I’d move back tomorrow.

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-D

Travel

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It seems just yesterday that we were off to Hawaii, to visit Julia and say hello to a tropical island. We went, we photographed, and pretty much no travel has happened since.

I hope you are all avoiding the smoke, here on the west coast. I will make the weekly pilgrimage to farmer’s market, Sunday morning: 15 minutes of outdoor buying.

-D