The Creativity And Tools Involved In Metalwork Sculptures
Metalwork sculptures are arguably the most creative types of art. Unlike paintings and some other art forms, you can position them both indoors and outdoors for display. That’s the beauty of sculptures, and people even use them to decorate gardens. However, like the different types of art, they require paramount creativity and specific skills. For metalwork, you need to know about art and working with metals.
Brief History of Metal Art
People have made and built things using metal for a long time. During the Bronze Age, they crafted household utensils like cups and bowls from these ores of the earth. They also used them to make human figures and masks. In later years, they started using them for wall art and furniture. The common metals used include gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, lead, aluminum, and alloys like steel and brass.
There’s little or no metal art that is new in the real sense. That’s because the ancient people explored most of the forms, including coins and various jewelry. They also made decorative motifs, ornaments, statues, and doors. However, most of their works had to have one function or the other. The styles evolved over the years and are more design-oriented, even though there are creative industrial objects.
Similar to woodwork, there are various tools used in metal sculpting. That’s because it’s unlike other types of sculptings, in that there’s no three-dimensional block of metal. Instead, there are various scraps, sheets, and parts that we work on and put together to form a single piece. We classified the tools into three major groups that we’ll discuss.
1. Measuring Tools
The measuring tools include calipers, divider, try-square, tape rule, and micrometer. They each have their specific purpose, but we use them for measurements, as the group name implies. Some are for measuring length, and some are for width. Also, some measure larger dimensions, and the others are more specific. For example, we use the ones like the micrometer for accurate measurement of smaller sizes.
2. Cutting and Filing Tools
We use the cutting tools like the saw, chisel, punch, and drill to carve metals into different shapes. We also use them to carve shapes into metals, for example, drilling. We classify the clamp and bench vise as cutting tools because they hold the metals in place during the process. The other ones have their applications. The file is for smoothening surfaces.
3. Fusion Tools
We use this category of tools to join different pieces. They help bring everything together and hence, are as important as the others. These tools include crews, bolts and nuts, screwdrivers, and wrenches. Welders and soldering irons also belong to this group. Although they work differently and produce various kinds of joints, they all serve a similar purpose.
A generator is not a conventional metalwork tool. Some people don’t usually consider it or think of it as unnecessary. However, it’s essential for a welder or metal sculptor. That’s because having one provides an excellent backup plan for power outages or when you need to work outdoors. It’s usually best if you even have one that’s unique and designed especially for welding equipment.
Safety Measures and Equipment
Safety is a significant concern, especially when working with heavy or sharp appliances and power tools. One measure that you must take is to ensure proper knowledge of the work and tool handling techniques. The workspace must also be spacious to allow movement without the risk of incurring injuries. You must also not neglect safety equipment, and we’ll discuss some vital ones.
i. Jacket and Boots
A jacket is necessary for the welding process. It covers the upper part of your body and offers protection from spatters, slags, and arcs. It’s best to obtain the ones made of durable leather and protect your front and sides and your neck and collar. The jacket should also be lightweight and comfortable to wear. Meanwhile, the boots are for protecting your feet and must be sturdy and snug.
ii. Helmet, Face Shield, and Goggles
The helmet protects the head during welding and the other procedures while the goggles protect the eyes. We mostly use goggles only during the different processes and the face shield for welding. That’s because the latter is better suited for the heat and covers more surface area. Hence, it’s crucial to have the three of them.
iii. Gloves and Ear Protector
With the type of tools you’d be handling, it’s necessary to have gloves for protecting the hands. People mostly recommend strong leather gloves as they are resistant to cuts and are therefore sturdy. They must also be the right fit, so they’re comfortable, and you can work efficiently in them. Meanwhile, it would help if you also had earmuffs to protect the ears from sparks and materials flying around and not only the noise.
Exhibiting Your Metal Sculptures
After you finish creating beautiful sculptures, the next thing is the exhibition. Besides preparing the finished works, you must choose the right stands, equipment, and venue for showcasing the sculptures. Also, there must be an appropriate selection, whether from one artist or various artists.