Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Forged Iron Acupuncture Needle Guide Tube

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 Duo Pendant

Gold and Silver Teishin Case
Here is another version of the neck needle or teishin pendant.  Initially I was going to make this case for 3 teishins, but instead I decided to make it sized to fit one 18k gold micro teishin and one slightly heavier silver teishin.  This particular client had requested these tools for treating her son.  I like the idea of symbolizing those closest to us by elements of the jewelry we wear.  In this case, she has both a son and a daughter.  The yin (silver) and yang (gold) duo; a powerful combination.  Keep them close to your heart and protect them.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Iron Sedation Teishin

Iron Teishins
Recently, I was asked to make a set of iron teishins for meridian sedation.  I have been quite obsessed with iron over the last few years.  From a toolmakers perspective it is amazingly versatile, in that it can be worked hot in many steps without damaging the integrity of the steel itself, while the resulting form can be heat treated very specifically for whatever that tool was designed for.  I also really love the way forged iron tools look. The oxidation colors can range from yellow to purple to black.  Each hammer blow leaves a nice texture and story of the tools creation.  These more organic colors and textures contrast beautifully well with the highly polished surfaces of the tools.

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.