Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Recently, I was asked to make an iron guide tube for a more sedating effect. This seemingly simple project had two challenges. The first is that when forging the hammered texture of the tube one side is being struck by the domed face of the hammer while the other rests on the flat face of the anvil. This simultaneously textures one side while removing the texture from the other side. I overcame this problem simply by forging it on a soft piece of copper which conformed to the texture of the tube without damaging it, yet giving enough resistance so that a decent texture could be achieved in the first place. The second challenge was that I had never tried to drill the barrel of an iron tube before so I was very unsure if it could be done. The drilling went extremely well, but took a great deal of time. Unfortunately the amount of extra labor involved in making these tubes bypasses the inexpensiveness of the iron used, so their "value" will be determined by the therapeutic benefit gained through the experiences patients and practitioners. I very much like the way these tools look. The contrast of polished ends with rough forging is amazing. They do feel very different than silver. They have a hard smoothness, while the silver tools tend to feel much softer in the hand. I do think a forged texture on a silver tube would be unique!
Monday, May 30, 2016
|Gold and Silver Teishin Case|
Saturday, February 6, 2016
The timing of making these tools was perfect because I have been making knives lately and learning a lot about metallurgy and it seems to tie in nicely with Chinese medicine as well. It was through the work of Knife maker; Ed Fowler, that I was introduced to very sophisticated forging and heat treating methods that result in knives that surpass durability and edge retention tests of other blades made with less specific and labor intensive methods. In short, each hammers blow and thermal cycle has the potential to benefit the performance of the blade and is forever recorded in the molecules of the blade itself. Theoretically, the more hammer blows and thermal cycles the better the resulting blade. From the perspective of a craftsman this is what gives me life, knowing that the hand labor and care that is put into each tool is recorded forever in that object. This is in contrast to a tool that is forged by a machine, often forged in one single strike and thermal cycle; lifelessly and with minimal thought. These same ideas from the perspective of an acupuncturist makes me think about our own blood's capacity to "store memories" in Chinese medical theory. Could it be the iron in our blood that gives it the ability to store memory? I do believe that metal objects do seem to carry the energetics of their owner from a kindof sentimental perspective. Because of irons more organic and rapidly oxidative properties, it may have a stronger ability to record these stories. In contrast, metals like aluminum have been linked to Alzheimer's disease somehow disrupting memory. Aluminum works very differently than iron and lacks the ductility, integrity and warmth. We are surrounded by metals with powerful properties that may be benefitting or disrupting our health. Furthermore, the way these objects are manufactured (and the love that is put into them) may affect their subtle nature. Lastly, beneficial metals may be alloyed with other metals in unnatural ways that disrupt our systems. For example; stainless steel has chromium added to iron so that it is more corrosion resistant, disrupting the irons natural oxidative and more organic nature which seems to resonate better with our own bodies biochemistry. This is why acu-practitioners such as Shaun Sutton (Author of "How Toxic are My Trousers") have rejected the use of stainless steel in their acupuncture needles as well as all other aspects of their lives. We live in a time of great technological advancement and we have learned to manipulate the natural materials of the world. We do so single-sightedly without truly understanding the more subtle changes and toxicity of those materials. While our technology is changing rapidly, our bodies evolve much more slowly and were adapted over millennia to only natural materials.