2005 - 2008
updated: June 2008
|miles halpin sculptures miles halpin abstract photographs
techniques and materials
about the artist, CV
TECHNIQUES AND MATERIALS
To save repeating myself on every page, here's a few notes on the techniques and materials that I use.
Most of the sculptures are made from mild steel with some small inclusions of stainless steel. Generally these inclusions are behind small holes and gaps so that they reflect the world outside and include it in the work itself. The stainless steel inserts are sometimes heat-discoloured to give blues, oranges, yellows and reds. In the main picture above the orange colour is a stainless steel insert.
With the mild steel I generally polish it after construction to remove workshop dirt and scratches; then I may heat-blue it -see above- or use nitric acid to oxidise it to a bright, dry, orange colour. Sometimes I may grind the steel very thin and then beat it with a ball-hammer until it stretches and cracks - again see above. On completion, all steel surfaces (except oxidised) are protected using acrylic lacquer.
I have recently begun to use acrylic paints on top of the lacquer. This is a laborious process of up to 6 or 7 coats of very thin paint which is then sealed under another coat of lacquer.
Finishing on the surface is often by brushing with a rotary wire brush on a drill. By brushing areas in different directions I can create areas that are subtly different in appearance - you can see this in the picture above: around the grids of holes are shiny areas - these have been brushed at right angles to the rest of the surface. I make extensive use of this technique. Interestingly it changes as the viewer moves around the work - what is shiny from one angle can become matt from another. Also I often use pencil lines under the lacquer to help deliniate the brushed areas.
Another technique (which I now use only rarely) is to part-burn the lacquer to give a black finish to the surface. This is a good looking technique but the fumes given off smell like cancer so I try to avoid it these days, or just do it on windy days!
If there's anything more you want to know about these techniques please get in touch - I'm always keen to have a chat with people who get excited about metal.
A more detailed explanation is given on the "ABOUT" pages - see above.
Measurements for each piece given on the page refer to the measurement along the largest dimension. eg if a piece is 80x20cm the measurement will be given as 80cm and you can look at the picture and infer the 20cm. Measurements are approximate to 5cm.
People are often concerned whether these metalworks will hang from their walls - these pieces are lighter than you may think, and all hang just fine from a single standard fixing (rawlplug and screw).