Essence of Akaba

This is a series of sculptures I made last week.  They are forged from 2″ solid square and mounted on 6 1/2″ diameter industrial punch press drops. The tallest pictured is 22″.                                             Approaching Akaba #1             16″ x 16″ x 58″  March 2011

A year ago I got lost and benighted in a snowstorm in the Grand Canyon after climbing Mount Akaba.  I had to keep walking and climbing up and down rock faces all night to keep my body heat up.   There was just enough moonlight to make out impressions of precariously balanced rock spires and deeply eroded cliffs.   At dawn I rappelled to the cave where I was camped.  When I got back to the studio I made a series of “Approaching Akaba” sculptures–balanced spires on a torch-cut (eroded) base.

The elements for the Akaba sculptures are forged very hot under my 500lb electro-pnuematic power hammer.  The force of its blows penetrates through the full thickness of the stock rather than just its surface.  The resulting, seemingly random, forging textures are a logical result of their forming forces just as the Grand Canyon rocks, that inspired me, are the result of theirs.


As one of my early  welding teachers told me 43 years ago, “Blacksmithing is hot dirty work.”  He was right but I also find that in spite of or perhaps because of the repetitive primal physicality, during magic moments, hints of the timeless wonder of life seem to flow through me into my forged functional and sculptural ironwork unimpeded by conscious thought.  With this blog I hope to examine and document my creative process and quest for letting that magic happen.