One would think hammering is a simple and straightforward activity... Over the years I’ve had some damage in my hands, wrists, and elbows from hammering. I’d had many projects like this arch build, and, faced with thousands of tiles and rocks to set, or as in this project, pennies to form and dome, I’d power as hard as I could through it and then suffer from repetitive motion injuries. That behavior has sensitized my body for long term susceptibility to carpel tunnel, numbness and tingling in my hands and fingers. In the beginning, I tried to just slow down. I constantly found myself shifting back to old patterns. In order to continue using my hands, I live for that!, I had to ask deeper questions. Why did I keep shifting back? I found I was afraid the jobs were too big, afraid that I couldn’t follow through on them, and afraid that I wouldn’t finish them fast enough. The fears went on and on. I decided I would change my focus away from my fears. Lots of reading material came my way on breath. I discovered the relationship between anxiety and breath. I’m defininately a shallow anxious breather. So I found a phrase that I felt focused on all of the traits I would love to embody, made up a melody, and began singing it during all of my tasks. The book that gave me this idea is https://www.amazon.com/Chanting-Discovering-Spirit-Robert-Gass/dp/0767903234. I found that the singing/chanting, regulated my breath, slowed my thoughts down, and kept me more calm. It was a wonderful revelation. My art became my teacher. I started watching my thoughts; began to be able to detach from them and not take them so seriously, to see that they were endless and endlessly passing. This is, of course, a practice that takes a lifetime. The benefits constantly surprise me and give me delightful ahas of freedom when I’m ready to see something new. Nevertheless, hammering basics need to be practiced at the same time LOL! Here’s a great Occupational Health tutorial on the dos and don’ts. https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/safety_haz/hand_tools/hammers.html
I have a photo of my hand postition using the dapping punch. I practice holding all my tools as loosely as possible while still maintaining control. I grew up holding pencils, crayons, whatever I was using with a death grip and holding my breath at the same time! Thought: fear of making a mistake. Counter thought: Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Quote from Scott Adams.
Welcome back to the arch build! Hope you all had great holidays. We spent Christmas with my family in Denver. We’ve been excited to get back to the arch project. We finished the grouting on all three arches and have installed them in the openings. The house is 1950’s house and so none of the openings were square. We evened out the distance they were off by and I’ll backfill with sanded grout that will match the rest of the mosaic.
After the arches were installed in the doorways, it became apparent that they needed to have some more mosaic built around them to visually tie them to the doorway. This is entailing a lot more pennies! While the pennies in the arches felt okay flat, it seemed that the faux columns on either side needed more dimension. My sweet husband offered to help me with dapping more pennies into domespennies around the doorways. I think it was something like 1500 for the arches.
Bending the pennies adds a finished touch to corners. I line the vice with leather so they don’t get marred. To get them evenly bent, I line up the edge of the vice with the lettering on the penny. I use my favorite plastic mallet to protect the penny finish and my joints. The plastic does a good job of absorbing the shock. I found mine on Rio Grand Jewelry Supply site. https://www.riogrande.com/product/pear-shaped-plastic-head-mallet/112235. I’ll, with my husband’s help, have bent and domed over 2500 pennies when all installed and finished. It’s starting to come along!
glass, metal, wood, paint, plants, found objects, recycled objects, community art, public art, the art of living; may our lives touch and spread blessings of art, spirit and joy.
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