Art Alchemy… turning Iron Metal into Gold Medal

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‘The Lunar Arc of enDrakker’


This post has nothing to do with making you rich though it may enrich you in some way or maybe not at all, that’s up to you.  It is really just a chronicle of my journey to create a project from scratch to enter into the National Skills USA Metal Working Sculpture competition.  I hope to bring home the Gold with my Iron creation.  Like a lot of good things it starts with someone caring enough to encourage you and being genuine enough to give you recognition for your talent and hard work. I really dig working with Metal as an Art.

I was talking with a friend and I mentioned how though it is called a competition, I do not feel like I am competing with anyone but myself, if anything I feel like I am representing one of the most amazing institutions in the World; and my desire is not about personal recognition and winning, but rather doing it for the School and bringing home a trophy for them.  They are the Professionals, the staff is top-notch, and though they could be doing other things, they have dedicated their careers to teaching and inspiring others.  Cheers!  My efforts are for them.  I hope I win first place, and bring them home the Gold with my Iron, hard work and Creativity.  I think I have a pretty good chance; but regardless of the outcome, I will give it my best and create something unique and meaningful that incorporates a lot of the techniques I have learned so far with some Artistic inspiration.   We will see what happens.  In between here and there.  I will chronicle the process of creating this piece.  The piece I have titled :

‘The Lunar Arc of enDrakkar’


very rough preliminary sketch of the ‘LunArC ov enDrakkar’

or spelled more interestingly…

‘ the LunArC ov enDrakkar’


The concept :

Love Art? Creativity & the amazing dynamics involved in creating Art? Me too. Check this out: I titled my sculpture project for the Metal Art competition the ‘Lunarc ov enDrakkar’ because it is an Arc created around Lunar measurements, equations,ratios etc. with a serious nod to Nature and the amazing Creative energy between Male & Female in Nature. It also will have a Dragon with my Art logo as a design element.   A Drakkar is an ancient well as a Viking ship…  images

You can think of a Drakkar as a vessel that holds things for a voyage.  So basically a Lunar~Dragon box. Stay with me, It’s Art.

In researching some more designs and facts, on the last page is cosmic/Lunar ratios, facts & What?…something called the “Dragon’s Box”

'The Dragon's Box'  based on Lunations

‘The Dragon’s Box’ based on Lunations

related to the Moons measurements. Who has ever heard of this?  I was amazed to read this.  What are the chances that my Lunar Dragon box would be so similar to something actually known as ‘the Dragon’s box’.   This is that uncanny magick with creativity and Art that is so amazing & that I speak of occasionally when it happens.

What is it, this Opus Mysterium, that weaves throughout Art & Nature?

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Building the Arc :

This Project, like almost all my Art has a serious Nature and Lunar influence with Mythology woven throughout.  There will be a Nature Motif with Pine cones, Acorns, Ivy Roses, Juniper berries and even Insects all cast in various Metals.

The Cherubs of  the Arc:  The original Hebrew texts tell us that the Cherubs that adorned the top of the Arc of the Covenant in the Holiest of Holy Temples were Male and Female.  The space between them is the dynamic, powerful, Creative potential of Erotic Energy and Creativity.  Eros.  This is not the western idea of Erotic, but the original timeless idea of being truly present in the moment, and in Union with one another, and with Nature.  It is the Creative life force of the Universe and nothing would exist without it.  Nothing.

     The book that brought this to light and really had an impact on me was a book titled : ‘The Mystery of Love‘ / {‘on the Erotic and the Holy’} by Marc Gafni.  If you haven’t yet, you should.  It will not so much as change the way you think, as to just galvanize truths we know in our core but have been covered up by modern society.  It is a great book, with great meaning.  {  }  It partly inspires this Project.  I should also add that I am not Jewish, nor Christian, nor do I endorse any religion.  I am an Artist.  Art and humanity are the closest things I have to a religion.  I am a voracious reader and I find there is something to be learned from everything.  I do not judge a book by its cover, nor do I judge people.

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I carved the Cherubs wings from Wax and will cast them in Copper, because I feel Copper surrenders amazing colors with a flame treatment that are to be found nowhere else in nature.  {As you can see I did such a realistic job of carving the wings my cat Yin had to inspect it to make sure he couldn’t eat them.}


The next step after a fevered brainstorming and sketching session is to actually do what Einstein called ‘Though Experiments’, where we actually visualize doing something.  In this case, building the Arc.   Imagination is one of our greatest assets, we should use it regularly, and what better way than imagining yourself creating something new.  Working through the problems and Math on paper, I came up with a general form of the Arc based on relationships, ratios and measurements between Earth , the Sun and Moon.

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  Next is a materials list and then a flow chart of what to do in sequence so I’m not running in circles.


For the basic box to take shape as I designed it I will need :

~ 1/8 ” Angle Iron 6 pieces 13″ cut to 45 degree angles on one leg.  and 7.35″ segments cut square on both ends.

~16 gauge sheet Metal cut into 2) 8.75″  squares and 3) 8.75″ x 12.75 ”  for the side panels


All the pieces of the puzzle are cut to precision..



the Creative Vision takes shape.


All my materials  I measure and cut precisely.  The basic components of the box are mostly here except for the rounded top, for which I will need the Rolling machine.  That will be later.  Now I want to tack weld the frame so I can make adjustments if needed.  It is important to work on an absolutely flat bench and check to make sure the angles are square and flush.  There is no perfect box made by hand, there will be adjusting and splitting the difference in some places.  When I’m satisfied with it I ‘ll completely weld everything.

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Day 2:


I lay our all the pieces of the frame after cleaning up the cuts and inspecting them, making sure the corners are square and as flush as possible.


 a square, flush & plumb Frame is absolutely essential


I tack weld the inside corners where it can be adjusted if necessary and isn’t visible

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Voila~ ‘The LunArC ov enDrakkar’ takes shape:


the Lunarc ov enDrakkar…What’s inside?… the secrets to the mystery of Life , Love, Lust Stardust & immortality…


The LunArc is structurally, almost complete.  I will start making some of the Nature Motif designs and wrought Iron Flowers.   They say between the Male and Female Cherubs on top the Arc resides the dynamic Creative energy of the Cosmos.  I have designed and will be constructing what I am calling the Lunar Lotus.  It is cut from Iron and will have Copper pedals and Silver Stamen.  It is based on proportions between the Earth and the Moon as visually depicted through mathematics in this picture :

Pentagon based on ratios & radius’ of the Earth and Moon. This inspiration for what I am calling my ‘Lunar Lotus’

This will be the basis for a flower design I am calling my ‘Lunar Lotus’ to reside in between the Male & Female Cherubs, signifying the Natural Creative dynamic energy that resides between the two.

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Day 3: ‘ The Lunar Lotus’

Ok now this is freaking Bizarre.  Truth is stranger than fiction.  What are these chances?   One of those designs I was talking about making was based on this mathematical Earth/Moon radius pentagon pictured above.

Well, I was going to start on it today early before class,..when I walk in the shop; what is laying on the drafting table?

Strange coincidence : these are the templates the Instructor drew up before, for today’s unrelated project. The exact same ratio as what I was already going to make for my ‘Lunar Lotus.’

Templates for the day’s project : the same EXACT dimensions as the Lunar Lotus I was just about so start making.  This kinda freaks me out, but more so amazes me and I am in awe.  {again} What are the  chances?  I mean really.   I know there are just coincidences and stuff, but I haven’t yet even mentioned to the instructor that I was entering the competition yet.   There is absolutely no connection between these two things and no reason why they would crop up together.  I ask : What are the odds? Infinitesimally Astronomical?  Does Art really tap into some deep stream of something we only get occasional flashes, visions and glimpses of?  Whatever the case, it is again, one of those uncanny coincidences in Art that amaze me.

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…behold…my ‘Lunar Lotus’ the space between Male and Female the Divine Creative Potential Energy, Eros, where Heaven meets Earth.


I decided to also add a Male and Female Star composed of an upward triangle and a downward triangle symbolizing a merging of Heaven and Earth into one. Like in Man and Woman.

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November 20th / Day 4 : Casting Organic Nature Motifs in Metal:

The LunArC ov enDrakkar is an unapologetic Bacchanalia of Nature.  I am incorporating Organic Nature castings that I find interesting.     I am casting these wings in Copper because it surrenders amazing natural colors with flame treatment.  The deep Orange Reds will contrast nicely with the Grey Blue of the Iron.  My goal is to use various Metals in forms that compliment their beauty while also incorporating all forms of joinery that are appropriate.

Cherub Wings I carved from soft wax;  my fingerprints are visible in places.



I invest each wing in a separate flask because of their size.  Carved wings set in investment to be placed in the Kiln for burn out in preparation for casting.   I’ll get back to this later I have other organics that are ready for casting but after I head over to the Metal shop to continue working on the lid of the ArC.

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I have a pad of watercolor paper measuring 12″ x 18″ the exact dimensions of the projects maximum allowable footprint, I have 18″ height as well to stay within. {18″x12″x18″}  I am staying well within this to allow room for the decorative elements and still be an inch from the limits.  {here’s another neat ‘coincidence’ : I found a scrap piece of metal that someone had cut a circle from and for some reason it matched nearly perfectly to the ArC ‘ width.  I may not use it but it’s still interesting.}

I use some construction paper to layout the rolled lid dimensions and transfer that measurement to Metal and cut the piece to fit.  The Roller is not hooked up yet so I’ll have to wait to roll out the lid, but I will cut the side pieces so they are ready.

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I use a Compass/scribe to draw out a circle to the 9″ diameter I need.  I then use the shears to cut off the corners until it is close to circular.  I then use the belt- sander to take it down to the scribe line I made.  I then cut it in half and clamp the two halves together to sand them exactly the same.   They are ready for the lid, but I’ll wait until I have the rolled top piece.  In the meanwhile…

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I’ll cut out the sheets for the ‘secret’ false bottom, and while I’m at it, I’ll make a ‘secret’ false wall.  How do you access them? Well, that’s a secret

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A lot of designing is doing what Einstein called ‘Thought Experiments’.  I try to visualize things and work through the engineering issues in my thoughts before committing.

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Some design Elements involving geometry and Lunar & Astronomical facts.  Like the Zodiac Spider web the Moon goes through during its various cycles.   There is so much to draw from.   For the Metal Sculpture competition each participant must have a narrative for their sculpture.  I have a narrative alright.  Everything has meaning.

“Fire in the Crucible’ {also the title of a great Book about Creative Genius and the Arts}

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2/6/14 edit /insert of lost / found sketch book ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I lost my sketch book with my initial designs a while back; but strangely found it again a few weeks later on a city electrical box while walking my dog.  The book had been run over and was waterlogged from rain, but I dried it out and salvaged what I could.   {Lesson: take photos of all notes and sketches and measurements.}

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Day 5 /  getting a handle on the Dragon.  { 7 Hours at the Forge}

Forge Welding : Making Twisted Crescent Moon Handles with Diamond cuts.

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{Materials: 4 pieces of 8″ stock/ 2) 1/4 ” round and 2) 1/4 ” square stock.

Process: Mig weld the ends, put it into the Forge to get all the Metal up to welding temperature.  Coat 2″ of each end with Borax Flux to prevent Fire Scale  by lowering the melting temperature of  fire scale .

The Dragon emerges from the Flames….


It is interesting that the piece of sheet metal I was going to use had striations and all I did was bring them out with a pencil into the Dragon shape and then use the Plasma cutter to cut it out.


Here are some elements I will be drawing from for some design Motifs steeped in meaning:

In alchemy, the rose is primarily a symbol of the operation of Conjunction, the Mystical Marriage of opposites. It represents the regeneration of separated essences and their resurrection on a new level. In the Practice of Psychotherapy, Carl Jung discussed the archetypal underpinnings of love between people in terms of the rose: “The wholeness which is a combination of ‘I and you’ is part of a transcendent unity whose nature can only be grasped in symbols like the rose or the coniunctio (Conjunction).”

[The Roses I cast last time didn’t turn out right, so I hand carved some in wax in hopes they will turn out.]

How appropriate is the Gilded Golden Rose as a symbol for this project? It signifies:  “completion of important project; perfection of oneself; invocation of cosmic energy; invocation of past masters”

Wiki CC : In alchemy the red rose is regarded as a masculine, active, expansive principle of solar spirit (Sulfur), where the white rose represents the feminine, receptive, contractive principle of lunar soul (Salt). The combination of white and red roses (spirit and soul) symbolizes the birth of the Philosopher’s Child (Mercury). During the operation of Conjunction, the relationship of the masculine red rose to the feminine white rose is the same relationship depicted in alchemical images of the Red King and the White Queen or the Red Sun and White Moon. White roses were linked to the White Phase of the Work (albedo) and the White Stone of Multiplication, while the red rose was associated with the Red Phase and the Red Stone of Projection.
The single golden (or gilded) rose is a symbol completion of the Great Work or of some consummate achievement in personal or laboratory alchemy. completion of important project; perfection of oneself; invocation of cosmic energy; invocation of past masters.
The Popes used to bless a Golden Rose on the fourth Sunday in Lent, as a symbol of their spiritual power and the certainty of resurrection and immortality. In alchemical terms, the golden rose means a successful marriage of opposites to produce the Golden Child, the perfected essence of both King and Queen.  The Rose has inspired Artists, Poets & Lovers for eons and has been symbolic of many things.

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  ‘The Chalice and the Blade ‘ by Riane Eisler was another book that had an impact on me. {Link to the Author’s page :~>  }  It is about basically the transition in history from Goddess worship to Patriarchy & religion and all the historical consequences therein.  The Sword is a symbol of the Male, and the Chalice is a symbol of the Female,  I am incorporating both into the design elements on either panel.  The other half of the Chalice I am using for the Moon emblem appropriately enough.  It has been said also that the Blade also represents the Physical and the Chalice represents the Spiritual.

Opposites Copper and Iron, Female & Male, Moon and Sun, Physical & Spiritual I am attempting a union of the opposites in Metal as an Alchemical reference.

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The Sacred Heart in my Artist logo can also be viewed as the Cauldron of Inspiration.  Like that of Cerridwynn’s, in Welsh Mythology, where the Ancient Bards went for Poetic Inspiration.  (See Robert Graves ‘The White Goddess’.  One of my all-time Favorite books ~> : )

“My thesis is that the language of poetic myth anciently current in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe was a magical language bound up with popular religious ceremonies in honour of the Moon-goddess, or Muse, some of them dating from the Old Stone Age, and that this remains the language of true poetry.”  Robert Graves


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Day 6 : The Handle and Dragon Claws with captive wrought Iron ball

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The Captive Balls started out as a square 2″ stock that I formed through repeated heating and calculated hammer blows.  I was going to make them perfectly round and smooth, but I like the facets.  It looks more Medieval.

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I’m carving my own rose pedals individually in hopes they will work out.  The Roses are an important element in this Project.


I may also draw from this design of the ‘MoonFlower’

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The Design is basically a Heart, a Moon and an Earth.  I will go in and give it detail later with engraving and rolling.  This was learning by doing.   I think they will look great when I’m done.  The important thing is that they work properly, are strong enough, and aesthetically balanced.

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Day 8: Casting Wings & things.

Well casting is one of my favorite methods of Metal working.  There are a few Castings that are essential to this project: The wings, the Roses & Organics.  A lot of stuff didn’t cast right but I was able to use the ‘happy accidents’ anyway.  The second set of wings turned out ok and I was about to invest for another set when I thought well, this set is in Copper, same elemental symbol as Venus, ans represents Female, spiritual; so I thought it just seemed appropriate that I make the other opposing set of wings out of Iron.  Iron represents Mars, Male, and the Physical.  Great idea!  Art works like this, it evolves over the project and hints at its own best form.  One just has to be in tune with it and receptive to new ideas.  This will really gel well with the whole concept of the work.

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Though the roses didn’t cast right I have an idea for them with enameling; a light dusting of white and then transparent Red & Victorian Red with Orange.  but that’s another project for another time.  I will have to carve new roses for this project and cast them.  They are an essential element in the concept of this piece and will represent the Alchemical Red, White & Gilded Rose with all their meaning.

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January 18th 2014


Copper wings

At first I cast the wings in Copper after Carving them in wax.  They came out OK, but I’m not going for ‘OK’.  I’m going for ‘O Yeah!’  So I decided to use the castings as a base and add individual feathers in fresh Copper.  It seems in the casting process the Copper lost some of its luster and properties.  The New Copper will help restore the original vision and contrast well with the now Earthy tones of the Copper cast wings.   I used the brazing method of joinery.  It works on capillary action at the surface level, not on a molecular level of bonding.  Though it is a very strong bond, I feel it is fine for decorative joinery but I wouldn’t use it for considerable load-bearing structural joints and seams. I will work on the Iron set of wings next time.


Until next time~


day X Saturday 1/25/14 8:30am-2:00 pm… Wingin it!

Art is a process… not a product.  It evolves along the way and is   altered and changed until it has become everything it is supposed to be; nothing more , nothing less.  I am reworking the cherub wings, again, I still used the original castings but I’m adding individual feathers and each feather will get detailed engraving to impart the feel of feathers.  I scrapped the Iron wings and started from scratch.  They as well will have detailed engraving and also a flame treatment.  Only Raw Metals can be used, no paints, patinas, pigments or polishes.  I say : who needs them?  Metals surrender their own unique interference colors in an array of hues and values, ya just have to treat them right.
Depending on how my engraving skills are, I may engrave the front panels with a chiaroscuro lunettes of the mythological romance of Selene and Endymion.

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Sat. 1/31/14 {10a~2pm} Wings & things….

So today I made more Iron feathers to fill out the Iron wings.  Adjusted and sculpted the Phoenix claws that will hold the handle for the lid,and Created my Artist logo in steel that will be a decorative element on the Phoenix.

I wish I could work on Metal for hours every day.  There is something about Creating Art with Metals that I really, really dig. There is just something about it that fascinates me … I’ve said it’s like Alchemy, we use Earth, Air, Water, Fire and Creative Spirit to Create something truly unique and engaging.  It ties in with Mythology, Literature, Archaeology, Astronomy and Art. 
Interesting article on the history of Copper and metallurgy… ~>

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DSC01474 - CopyThis central emblem is my personal Artist logo.  It is based on my initials and incorporated a lot of important symbolism for me:    The Snakes represent male and Female and between them is their ‘cosmic egg’ of pure Creative Potential that they are guarding.  The Phoenix at the hilt of the Sword holds a heart it is rescuing from the flames.  The sword can also be viewed as a quill for writing, the tip incorporates a crescent moon and a treble clef note representing Music.  The Music note is crowned with 7 stars representing the 7 Sisters and everything else 7 represents. : the planets,7 wonders, 7 notes of a music scale, 7 colors of the rainbow, { and ok 7 metals and  forms of Metal joinery}

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Feb. 6

Swords & Snakes

So today I added detail elements to my Artist Logo and made more feathers.  We also had a Skills meeting and I asked several questions that I needed answers to.

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I decided to incorporate my Artist logo in Metal as a design element.  A Sword, Snakes, A Phoenix, a Crescent Moon a Sacred Heart and stars…It just seemed to fit the project theme.

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I experimented with Feather textures and using a cross-peen hammer and a piece of metal seemed to add the texture of the feather I was after.  I will really get in there and do some engraving and more detail.

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Copper brazing: adding more individual ‘feathers’ to a casting of the original ‘wing’ really filled out the layers for the effect I was after.  Birds have different feathers : Flight, Tail, and Semiplume are all I’m concerned with here.  Function dictated form.  It is important to have a realistic shape in Metal and have the feathers lay properly.

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The Phoenix will have Copper Flames on the side with the Copper wings and Iron on the other side.

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My Artist Logo in Metal.  It is based on my initials and has a lot of important symbols and meaning for me.

It is crunch time.  I really have to step up the schedule so I know I will be ahead of the curve.  I worked feverishly from the time I found out about the competition and I’m glad I got all the structural stuff done.  There is still a lot of little detail work to be done and to tie it all together and clean it up.  Fortunately I can find a few extra hours a week to work on stuff, and knock out all the non-studio work, like piercing and etching as I can.


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 It may look rough here, but this is the beginning of what will be the head-dress for my Moon Queen ..or Copper Queen for my Metal Art Competition piece. I have to really get to banging’ this detail work out, there’s only a couple of weeks left; but I am confident I will finish and it will be at that point it has to be at for me to feel it is ‘complete’ Moon Goddess statue will be in the style of an ancient Bronze India Erotic Shiva style… but have Copper wings and arched backwards fanning the Metal Lunar Lotus design in the middle. It may sound weird now but I’ll post a photo soon..


wiki: dancing Shiva unknown artist / date

~fin for now~

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2/14 Yes it’s Valentine’s day, but isn’t everyday?

Besides I Love Metal-Working and I have to make good use of some open studio time that was offered me.  Today : Wings of Iron!


I added detail to the Iron Wings, re-arranged the Copper Wings so they lay better, and now the two figures will face each other.  This is more inline with the vision of the piece.  It just didn’t feel right with their backs turned to each other.

I drilled holes for the hinges.  Though I’m not entirely happy with the hinges, they will work.  I don’t want to waste valuable time redoing things.  Maybe I will try to add some decorative work and accents to spice them up.

Other than that, I ground down the rivets and re-flowed the seams around them.  Time goes by so quickly when you’re having fun.


2/15 The Lunar Queen…

Today I need to finish working on the Lunar Queen, and then start on the Iron Cherub.  These sculptures are prominent in the composition and need to be near perfect.  I still have a lot of work to do and only 2 weeks to finish.  I want it to be complete in time, so I am working diligently to finish.

I did some crude chasing and repoussage to form some details for the face of the female cherub / Lunar Queen.  I wanted it to be ‘broad-faced’ like Europa and the Moon.  As well I have had to re-design her headdress / crown.

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I drilled the holes for the hinges then rivet them to the frame.  The winged cherubs will be facing each other and have the tips of their feathers interlocking with each other.

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2/19 Box of Roses

Today I brought in the bottom part of the Arc.  It was only spot welded / tacked and the panels were free.  I knew I would need to sand blast everything to get rid of the scale and rust and so….

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I sandblasted the entire frame and the panels.  Then I thought the Sandblaster can be used to make designs in the Metal.  I want to experiment more with this later, but for now we’ll just see what happens.  All the seams and joints were sandblasted and I then ground them on teh band sander to get a really clean surface for welding.  I was noticing a little difficulty with tacking the original metal.  This should save that problem.  I will drill the frame and plates and rivet them together.   It is Absolutely essential that everything be as Square and true as possible.  If something is off just a little bit it will effect other areas.  While I can not get it perfect I will try me best with what I have.  The same is true for the Welds.  While they may not be the most perfect looking welds, I am confident that they are the best they can get, and that structurally they are strong and will suffice.  There is no real point in grinding them as they will not be visible and covered by the panels.

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When I work I like to have at least two projects going on, so that while one is cooling I can be busy working on another project.  Good time management skills are helpful with everything.  So in between the frame joints I hammered out some Copper Rose leaves.  Though these are a bit big for the project I still may use them for the center Lotus sculpture.  I will do two smaller Roses in the same manner. One in Copper and one in Iron and one Gilded for Alchemical symbolism as I mentioned previously.

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I Love Metal Working.  Each Metal has its own beauty and colors…

Here’s what’s become of the Rose…


Ciao for now…

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A Box, The Man~O~Steel, Wings and the Colors of Copper….

Well, welding the angles and seems of the frame.  I sanded everything and decided to weld all the seems.  I am a little self-conscious of my welds because people make such a fuss over them.  Though I may not have the perfect ‘roll of coins’ look I am confident that my welds are penetrating deep enough, they are structurally sound and strong.  I photograph them before I grind them down.  This box is not absolutely perfect, despite my attention to detail.  I could spend more time starting over, but I am ok with it not having laser precision.  It represents a medieval forged Arc. it shouldn’t be perfect.  The Art however, well, I’m an Artist and well, the Art will be perfect in accord with the artistic vision.   Full Metal Surgery…The Dr. is in…

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yeah, it’s a frame of a box, not too exciting, but, Copper now…Whoah! where’d those colors come from?  I wrote about the REds, Oranges, Yellows and Golds of Copper but here’s the whole prism you can add to the list.  Amazing Beautiful interference colors.  I will clearcoat them and protect them.  { I see a Peacock project in the future}

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Part of Art is it evolves.  I am redesigning the Lunar Lotus with alternating layers of Copper and Iron in numbers of 9,7,5,3 and the inner leaf will be of Silver.


Ciao for now….

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Riveting Art… hinges on Grinding & polishing…

   ededededf   r

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Down to the Wire

Saturday March 8th last day before Spring break.  Last day to work on the project before break.  I have lots stuff to tie together.  Some Assembly required.  Over 800 individually hand forged pieces, only a few hours to get them together.  Time to get busy.

I have to make these corner Web pieces of Copper to tie into the Aracniad Celestial/ Lunar pattern

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As well I have to make 3 More Roses, one of Iron, Copper and of Brass. If I have time and find my Silver I will make one of Silver too.

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This interesting piece is leftover from a stainless Steel globe that was Plasma cut.  The coloring is from the heat.  It will be used as the Lunar Lotus.  Notice how the colors tie in with the Copper on the left and the Iron in the right with it’s Red to Blue patterning.  Neat happenstance huh?  Art inspiration is all around us, we just have to have our eyes open and be tuned in to where to look…even in the scrap bin’  I had to make smaller stanchions for the base legs to stay under the height limits.

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Gettin’ there…. One more solid day and I will definitely be done working on it and it’ll be ready to compete in the Metal Working Competition.  Thanks for reading and following along so far, but there is more excitement to come as I will be chronicling the competition…

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The staff is so amazing here, they saw that we were pressed for time and offered to help on their own time.  Fortunately after Spring Break I have a few hours to finish up working.  No More new ideas! Dammit!  I don’t have time.   Just tie all the loose ends together.  I have to Forge weld one more crescent handle, I think I was hitting it too hard and the flame was not hot enough.  I have decided to really WIG the ends and after forging and Boraxing the piece, using the Power hammer just to at least get the Forge welding process off quickly and properly.  It gives you a rapid consistent strike which is what is needed.  I used a chisel for decorative notches.  It then needs to be twisted and curled into a crescent.

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this is the inner leaf of the ‘Lunar Lotus’ in flame treated Copper, the base is leaf is of Iron and that is attached to the Stainless Steel dome shape.


I Brazed and welded all the Floral motifs where they needed to be and made sure they were attached properly.  Ok I know I said no new Ideas, but, well I thought of this a while back and it will really tie into the theme and make it look cohesive.  Flames of different Metals rising up into the Phoenix that roars Fire and different Metals up around the winged designs.  See? Fire to Feather,..and Fire to Feather again.  I dig Art!


This is one HEAVY backpack to lug around.  I’m glad it’s almost showtime.  After I finish the Crescent handle,  little Polishing and some Clearcoat and it is Done.

Ready for SkillsUSA…


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3/19 night before SkillsUSA Metal smithing Sculpture Competition.. Absolute Last few hours to finish the handle and detail work.

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I finished forge welding the crescent handle and brass brushed it.  I may polish a few parts of the project but the Vision is to try top capture the Flames,Heat and Smoke,  I used various techniques and I want to preserve the Flame look, so I will just Clear-coat those Areas.  I Surprised Myself!  This project started with a simple idea to make a treasure chest or an Arc.  One thing suggests another and it’s off and running.  Anyone can do this.  I don’t have any special skills.  It is just Art. We are All born Artists.  The key is to nourish the Curious nature and let it express itself.  Experiment, innovate, Create.  Everything we have in the World is a Creation of some thought, some Vision.  It is our responsibility to ourselves and to each other to learn, to explore, and to create our own unique vision, whatever it may be.  We must always be engaged in ‘becoming’.  Becoming the best, most honest, passionate expression of ourselves that we can.  This is the true Alchemy, the transmutation of the Self into what it is meant to be.  That is the Gold.  We may never fully get there but so long as we are engaged in the process we are on the right track.  Cheers! to you for reading this and following along.  Tomorrow begins the competition.  Let us see where our vision and efforts lead us….

18 hr Daze… Good night!

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Tomorrow morning 5:45 AM enroute to the competition… I’ll keep you posted.  Support SkillsUSA.

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Thursday 3/20 Registration Check in for Skills USA in San Antonio.


Tomorrow, Friday 3/21 is the actual Competition in New Braunfels .  We’ll see what happens then.  I’ll keep you posted.  I really hope I win.  I have done my best to the fullest, and created what I wanted to, and it is complete in its final form, anything less is not quite it, and anything more is too much.  This is Art.  It has to be what everything it is meant to be.  Even though the Vision may have started out simple and it grew along the way, there is no way to tell in the beginning exactly what it will and must become.  There are no mistakes, just learning opportunities.  See you at 5:00am Manana….

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Here is where this blog leaves off and the competition and ceremony blog picks up~

link to the Denouement~> (  )




(C) All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2013 SacredArtsDialog Publishing

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 Update ! 12/6/13… folks have requested a link to more of my Metal Art Creations; here is a link ~>

~ Cheers! Stay Inspired my Friends!



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July 4th Alan Seeger 100 year Memoriam

Artist, Poet, Soldier

Alan Seeger

Collage 2016-07-04 00_53_49~2

We Remember

100 years ago

July 4th 1916

Artist, Poet, Soldier

Alan Seeger

who lived his convictions;
living, artfully and poetically,

‘..who; not unmindful of that antique debt, came back the generous path of Lafayette .’

Who fought for France in defense of Liberty.
would live his last day

on July 4th



We remember

Alan Seeger

‘…that blessed pilgrim of a vow fulfilled’


Letters & Diary :

Poems & Piano











Alan Seeger 100 year Remembrance…

 100 Years ago today…

Monday, May 30th 1916

ALAN SEEGER 100 year remembrance

100 years later we remember

Artist, Poet, Soldier
Alan Seeger

‘came back the generous path of Lafayette ‘
Volunteering for the French Foreign Legion
to defend Liberty and France
in WWI.

He was commissioned to write and Ode in honor of his fellow volunteer soldiers and was to have been on leave to read this

‘Ode to the Memory of the American Volunteers Fallen for France’ on Monday, May 30th, 1916 at the Statue of Washington and Lafayette in Paris France.

His release papers were delayed or lost and May 30th found Alan still in the trenches of warfare.

Alan never got to read his ‘Ode to the American Volunteers Fallen for France’

Monday, May 30th

Decoration day / Memorial day
marks the
100th anniversary
special remembrance…

On Monday, May 30th

we will hear ‘Ode to the Memory of the American Volunteers Fallen for France’

(read by Quinten Rhea)

#DecorationDay #MemorialDay #AlanSeeger #remembrance

POEMS by Alan Seeger

Here is the Audio 

the Lunar Muse

Throughout time, the Moon has been the subject of and inspiration for countless works of Art, Poetry, Writing, Music, Performance, Dance and Architecture.

Its mysterious allure casts a Magick and glamour upon the hearts and minds of Artists.  I have not consciuosly sought to have a Lunar influence in my Art.  It just always seems to appear in some way.  It is inescapable.  I dont entirely understand it, but I don’t question it.  It just is.

I can relate numerous examples of a series of uncanny coincidences that hint at something other, some influence that must be in play because things defy any terrestrial calculus or reasoning.

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 ‘ WolF Moon / the Hunger ‘

This is a mysterious painting I did a while back.  I can’t tell you how, because I don’t know myself.

I can relate numerous examples of a series of uncanny coincidences that hint at something other, some influence that must be in play because things defy any terrestrial calculus or reasoning.

Here are a few of my creations that are heavily influenced by Lunar Musings.  Utilizing reclaimed scrap metal, they seem to evolve on their own and suggest their own best ultimate form.

FB_IMG_1444877707120                        ‘The Lunar Lotus’

by Rhea


Acrylics on canvas with blacklight.  I love to leave room for Art to do its thing and allow for a randomness and surprises.  An entire sublunary deep forest of exotic flora, this will be expanded to a large canvas.


IMG_20140625_140304 Continue reading

The Flood…


…    a conversation with Gilka Gesespedes about her journey with Music and her Piano.

Gilka is from Bolivia.

She lives in Austin Texas.

Gilka has been playing Piano since childhood.

She is just getting back on track after having lost most all her possessions, including her Piano in the Onion Creek flood.

The Tempest by Beethoven, which she plays, is a fitting thread and metaphor for the Flood itself and destruction, loss, cleansing and ultimate reclamation and growth through perseverance.

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Just yesterday I was helping Gilka reclaim her Garden at her home and renovate her furniture.

In her words: “It has been through a lot, it should show be renewed, but still show its scars from its history.”

It was a long process of recovery and reclamation.  I spent the day helping with everything she needed.

She made coffee and Lunch and I was treated to a performance when she sat down and started playing her piano.

These two photos, separated by over 60 years, speak volumes about the power of Music

and the Beauty of this Woman …


The flood may have taken from her.  She is reclaiming what she can, as she can.

The storm also brought her back to playing her Music.

She spoke about sitting doen at the Piano and recalling compositions she hasn’t played in decades and they just came flooding back with all the emotion and feeling they had before.

The Spring time metaphors about during the day at Gilka’s place.

She saw some tiny cactus had taken root on the roof of her shed and she wanted to nurture them and asked if I could help to make her roof a living green roof with plants.  Yes I can.  It is now what she calls humorously a ‘Chia roof’

also by her Hearth after Siesta I noticed this creature:..


drying its wings…

having undergone some drastic and beautiful transformation.

I have never seen this creature before.  She explains it is one of those black many-spiked fat caterpillars and they often don’t make it to this stage.  She then showed me on her porch some that hadn’t molted successfully.

She thinks it is a nocturnal moth of some sort.

We both agreed it is amazing and let it be.

fanning it’s wings as Gilka played more music.


It Heals us.  It Comforts us.  It gives us solace.

~Cheers Gilka

her Music


and her Piano











…at the heart of the Arts…

At the heart of the Arts are Artists who give freely and often, of their time and talent.

The gentleman standing next to me is a living Arts legend, a friend, a mentor, and a hell of a good guy with a heck of a lot of talent and vision.



I am in awe, humbled and honored, when recently i was given this hand~crafted forged artisianal blacksmith knife…”on behalf of the metalsmithing community for all the good work”

Me.  Quinten Rhea.

I am absolutely honored.

Day? : made !

This will be forever among my prized art memories and posessions.


On my late lunch break I immediately made a stand for it.

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Finally finding the perfect use of that piece of stone I found a while back.



This is the sculpture I made that earned a First Place Gold Medal for ACC and myself in Metal sculpture for the whole of Texas.

The project can be read from sketch to Iron to Gold ~>


I am producing a series of installments for the Austin Artists show that feature conversations with some of the Austin area Metal Artists that are contributing to the Art.  One thing I realized early on is that all paths inevitably lead through ACC Art Metals dept.

 The one which Tom Gingras started ex~nihilo and is thriving today.

And more specifically they lead through Tom’s classes.

I am fortunate enough to be taking his Metal Sculpture class this term and I am on a trajectory to earn all four of my Art degrees.  After this, I will be focusing exclusively on Blacksmithing until I complete my degree.  My next 2 years are mapped out consisely at least as far as my academic and Artistic pursuits are concerned.

I am always interested in stepping outside myself, learning new things and learning more about people who do good work.

Learn more about Tom


To see for yourself some of his work.  Our conversation should be up there too but if it isn’t yet…








Thanks for reading this Art Blog.

Today is world book day.

Read on!

Right on!


Til next time ….

Be well.

Do good.

stay Inspired!






The 55th annual Soto Studio Show with Maestro Soto, Family & Friends


On the last day of the semester and my Jewelry Techniques Class, I had the pleasure of making a journey to attend the 55th Annual Soto Pottery and Art show….


…After an hour ride and a long country entrance we arrive at the Soto Studios.



  In addition to creating amazing Ceramics, both sculptural and functional;

Ishmael creates great metal sculptures….

…and sculptures are Everywhere!

Those that know me know of my passion for all Arts and also know I really love sculpture.

 {…as an aside: in addition to pursuing my Art Metal, Sculpture and Blacksmithing degrees…{yes all three} I earned 1st Place Gold Medal in all of Texas for Metal Sculpture last year with my project the Lunar Arc of enDrakkar… fwiw: here is the narrative ~>  }

Back to the Art Farm….


 My Jewelry Instructor and friend Martha Soto, Ishmael’s daughter, gave us the tour of the Studio, the kiln, and the homes there.


What a wonderful place.

 If there is a heaven,

I would hope in most ways it resembles this place.

 A Place where Friends and Family can gather, make Art, enjoy each others company, good food  and enjoy some peace and quiet in the clean country air…


the Maestro Soto’s Sculptures…










I Love this Studio and Space!!!  ….


{interesting little side note and story: this sculpture was in need of repair before it could be sold and transported…

We have everything But brazing rod and flux…

“Hmmmm… I just may have this,…. May….”  I am fresh from class and had my Lincoln duffle-bag with all my Welding and Jewelry supplies…

YES!  score!    Saved!


…back to the Art…


everywhere one looks, there are ceramics…

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… Ishmael is a great designer.  He recently sat down with me and we went through one of his many large sketch books.  He draws inspiration from everywhere, a certain line or form can inspire a work of Art.

Two examples are:

~He pointed to a photo of an aerial view of cars in hiway traffic….and below it was the ceramic sculpture it inspired.

~He pointed out some photos of the jagged cliff sides on the Rio Grande from Big Bend state park,…. and what I thought was another photo of the same area was actually, after he pointed it out, a photo of the ceramic sculpture it inspired!…It looked just like a natural landscape.

It was good to sit down with him and see some of his sketches, at every turn of the page was something amazing and some new piece of artistic insight and advice.  Ishmael is so genuine, so kind, patient and so concerned with his student’s success and learning.  He has that indefinable charm and genuineness that just moves you.  Yes, I count these among my best Artistic experiences. but even more so; on just a personal level.  Ishmael has great humanity…


In his sketch-book, it was also evident…IMG_20141213_165203 IMG_20141213_165228

that he studies Mayan Artistry…



these Adamite-protean figurines are everywhere….. and I find them intriguing….

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for the event the studio was opened to a few Artists who I had to hear from…

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then there is the Hand~built Kiln where the magic happens…

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Martha explains the operation of the hand~built Soto kiln…

{I am honored have this experience…}


& Part II of the Kiln…

I find a charm in all these lil odds & ends…and relics..

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I would have been absolutely happy with this experience alone, it already exceeded any expectations I may have had, and I would have counted it as a day well spent and been content;…

but my ride was leaving too soon for me, I wanted to see more and hear more from the Artists..

Martha knows my passion for all Arts and other Artists and was gracious enough to offer to get me a ride back a bit later somehow and invited me to stay,… so of course, I said yes.

{I had no idea I would be also invited to stay for dinner}


The Country air is so clean.  We sat beside a huge bon-fire under the clear country sky watching the peak Gemenid Meteor shower for a while…

then we all were treated to a big delicious dinner of home~made Ham and all the trimmings.

To be invited to dinner and welcomed into the Soto Family home and enjoy a meal with a room full of Artists was an amazing experience.  How it is that I am here I can only attribute to their graciousness.

As an Artist, these are some of the moments I live for, and moments I will always remember and count among my fondest.

To live an Artful Life and share it with Friends and Family is what it is all about.  There were three generations of Artists at the table.  Wealth is counted by life’s joys, Ishmael is a wealthy man indeed.

I hope to have some measure of such good fortune of my own some day.  All I can do is to keep living passionately and pursuing my Arts.  Though I don’t put much faith in the world in general, I do put great faith in Friends, myself and my passion for Art.  These moments are my recompense.

I must be doing something right. Thank you universe.

We were eating off plates that are older than I am.


After Dinner I always wash dishes, but this was special, I got to see all the different designs Ishmael made over the years and handle each heavy plate.

What a great meal and what a great experience with great Artists.  I am forever in awe….

That was December 13th (12/13/14)


This is late February…

Those who know me know how important my Academic pursuits are.  They are right up there with my Artistic Pursuits.  This semester I almost didn’t have an academic schedule at all.  Somehow in the 11th hour I was able to clear some things up but all the classes were full, I took the whole day waiting and hoping there would be an opening in at least one class.  Again, somehow at the last hour, even after the official deadline I was able to find an opening in both classes I wanted.  Metal Sculpture with Tom Gingras, … and Ceramics with Ishmael.

{Again,… thank you Universe!}

I am happy to say I am in Ishmael’s Ceramics Class…

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I am not sure how many of the students realize it, but as far as I am concerned Ishmael is a Living Art Legend and a Living Treasure, aside from being a great guy and an inspiration.

I have said it before, Ishmael is so genuine and caring and concerned for his students learning and success.  I value every moment of every class.  He always takes time to show students something new and to take interest in their work, even my work, such as it is…

I wanted to organize a lil birthday party for him all day during Class.  I mentioned it to his daughter Martha and, well she made it happen and invited family and friends.  There was so much food!

I brought a Birthday cake, some Organic Coffee as usual, and some Organic Fruit.

Martha brought one of her awesome Home-made,  deep-dish Cinnamon Apple Pies!   This could be a whole other business.  These pies are amazing!


Happy Birthday dear Ishmael ….

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You are looking at Three generations of Sotos…

these are the moments I hope and live for…

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The title says it all…’Another Art Book’  …

here is just a glimpse of the Art book library~

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Three generations…..  Ishmael, Ishmael’s son and grandson.

Art,  Family, Friends & food…these are some of the moments I live for.


I brought this birthday cake, a bunch of organic fruit, coffee cake and organic Nicaraguan coffee with Texas Pecan ….

And I gave him the first piece of Ceramic I made in his class.