Materials: Mild steel 23K gold leaf
Dimensions: 3" X 1 1/4" high (1/16" thick)
Hand forged in a coal fire. The bottom was formed by sinking while the lid is Foldformed (line fold) and then planished. Patinaed with blacks, browns and 23k gold leaf inside.
Photo credit: Pat Downing
Pat Downing Metal Designs
San Diego, CA. USA
Pat Downing has always been creative. His career as an artist has taken many twists and turns first as a musician and photographer then as a goldsmith and later a woodworker. It wasn’t until 2001 when he was invited to hang out with a group of knife makers that he discovered the things he could do with fire and metal. He has been obsessed ever since.
Pat is now a full time metal artist working out of his home studio in San Diego where he creates unique sculptures of all shapes and sizes. Some are functional. Some simply look cool, but all are as unique as the artist who created them. Inspired by everything from movies to architecture to nature, Pat always incorporates some element of the unexpected into his work from uniquely colored patinas to glass, marbles and stones, creating a style that is distinctly his.
Pat fuses traditional blacksmithing with contemporary techniques and is quickly becoming one of Southern California’s leading experts on Foldforming, an origami-like process folding sheet metal into dramatic shapes. One of his works, a Foldformed piece entitled “Allure,” won first place in the Sculpture and Three Dimensional Category at the 2011 Fallbrook Art Show.
Though his work is far from traditional, Pat is very aware of the historied roots of blacksmithing. Several days a week you can find him in Old Town State Park in San Diego demonstrating 1850’s blacksmith techniques to tourists and school groups.
These containers and vessels definitely hold their place in the world of stunning art objects as well as in the world of metalsmithing.
Since the dawn of time humans have created containers to hold things that were important to them, from large vessels to hold food and harvests to intimate containers for small precious things. They might hold memories, ashes, medicine, beverage, fruit or food - but all spring from the imagination and skill of the maker. Some have specific religious functions, some are meant for everyday use. When one thinks of a vessel or container the inclination is to think of something with solid walls - yet many of these works involve the exploration of positive and negative space, and the use of negative space to help create the illusion of the wall of the vessel.
As the world’s largest jewelry related internet site, Ganoksin strives to develop exhibitions showcasing work from around the world. This exhibition was open to all metalsmiths, professional and amateur, advanced and beginner. Participants are from The Netherlands, the USA, Canada, Australia, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong, Colombia, Romania, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia and Denmark. While most of the pieces are by an individual metalsmith, some are collaborations, one of three artists spanning 50 years.
In total 319 artists contributed 729 show pieces for the permanent online exhibition.
Objects in the exhibition include boxes, lockets, urns, ash containers, bowls, wine cups, reliquaries, match holders, vases, teapots, pitchers, sugar bowls, baskets, nests, pillboxes, clutches and a range of sculptural forms. A variety of techniques are showcased covering a wide range of metalsmithing techniques. Materials used include everything from gold and silver to less expensive metals. Ornamentation includes the addition of enamel, chasing and repousse’, gemstones and found objects.
The exhibition was curated by Beth Wicker, President of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths in the United States, and Adjunct Instructor at Northeastern Technical College in South Carolina. Director of the exhibition is Hanuman Aspler, founder of The Ganoksin Project, the world’s largest internet jewelry site.