Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Title: "42"
Size: 9.5" tall
Date of creation: 2010
Materials: Black Ash Burl, Copper, Brass, Pewter, Shell, Iron, Leather, Glass, Gold Leaf, Marbled Paper, Battery Powered LED Lights.

This was truly a labor of love, a gift for my daughter who introduced me to an art movement that I much admire. The art movement has been dubbed,"Steampunk".
I describe this piece as; What H.G. Wells might have commissioned from Roycroft Studios sometime before WWI.

The title, "42" is a bit of vintage Sci-Fi humor ala "Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe"'s the answer to the ultimate question. I consider this the ultimate jewelry box of my creation. I have no fewer than 200 hours in putting this all together, and I enjoyed every minuet of it. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the work was to forge the copper legs. I started with 1-1/8th inch copper pipe that I formed into a wineglass shape using a ball peen hammer... I must have annealed those legs at least 50 times in the wood furnace. Another challenging aspect of the work was the latch. It being contrived from parts of an 1840's brass cabinet lock and a flintlock gun spring. (see the brass button looking thing just above the foreward raygun array.) Making the lock function well was fussy work. To top it all off, I made the windows from translucent shell beads. I chose them for their appearance of Tiffany glass. Behind the windows, inside the box are mounted 8 push button LED lights that flash...this gives it an other worldly effect.

Without realizing it, I guess I've been a "Steam-Punker" since I was a kid...before there was a name for it, before it was considered an art form. Certainly before it was cool I was wearing old time clothes, hording bits and pieces of geared machines, antique radios, obsessed with zeppelins and biplanes. My first car at age 15 was a 1936 Dodge Coupe... come to think of it, I owned a top hat too. My favorite childhood pastimes were going to the town dump and to estate auctions...both places had the coolest stuff on earth....contraptions that were obsolete.

Now I have an itch to make a Ray-Gun.

"The last sound on the worthless Earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next."
WIlliam Faulkner