In a Snail Shell

Hello Dear Readers!

I hope this finds you well. It’s hard to believe fall is already here. The summer seems to have passed in a blink. I love fall though – pumpkins and autumnal foliage abound, hence it’s that special time of year when we gather around to watch Over the Garden Wall.

Things at the workshop have been busy as usual with conservation work, guilloché commissions, and new making!

Following Segolene’s visit and work on Alphonsine, I found myself attempting to finish a project two years in the making! My first automaton.

I just returned from New York where I introduced the first automaton in my Medieval Bestiary series, Cochlea (Snail), as part of an exhibition on Craft at the Museum of Arts & Design. It will be on display there until March of 2019 – so if you’re in the New York area stop by! Here are a few photos and videos of it, as well as a short video from the opening night (I was pretty stoked!).

Thanks so much to the Horological Society of New York for their coverage of the exhibition!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Mechanical Mysteries | The Maillardet Automaton : Andrew Baron

I hope I’ve sparked your interest in learning more about automata. You won’t want to miss the final lecture in the Horological Lecture Series coming up on November 13th. Also held at the beautiful Stimson Green Mansion, this lecture promises to entertain adults and youngsters alike.

Clockmaker and paper engineer Andrew Baron will be discussing his work on the Maillardet writing and drafting automaton at the Franklin Institute. This iconic machine was the inspiration behind the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret and the Oscar winning motion picture Hugo.  Tickets and sponsorship available here.

 

Join us for an evening of horological enchantment, wine, hors d’oeuvres, and petit fours.

 

Tickets available here. 

 

Mechanical Mysteries | The Maillardet Automaton : Andrew Baron

 


New Horology Pins in the Memoria Technica Pin Line!

Two new enamel pins are coming to the shop soon, as well as the next edition of the workshop zine! For those of you subscribers, keep an eye on your post box in the following weeks.

To commemorate the first automaton in the bestiary series, I decided to make a limited run hard enamel pin of Cochlea.


snail

 

 

This pin is 35mm across and comes in nickel with white enamel and screen printed detail.

 

 


 

Pre-Order Cochlea Pin | USA

This limited edition nickel and white hard enamel pin with screen printed detail comes in at 35mm across and is finished with two pin backs and the Memoria Technica logo on the back. A celebration of the first automaton by Brittany N Cox, she is super proud of it and basically couldn’t stop herself from making a super cute pin version. Pin: $10 + $3 shipping

$13.00

Pre-Order Cochlea Pin | International

This limited edition nickel and white hard enamel pin with screen printed detail comes in at 35mm across and is finished with two pin backs and the Memoria Technica logo on the back. A celebration of the first automaton by Brittany N Cox, she is super proud of it and basically couldn’t stop herself from making a super cute pin version. Pin: $10 + $8 shipping

$18.00

The second pin has been in the works for some time and celebrates Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin’s marvelous mechanical orange tree trick. This soft enamel pin with green glitter detail has all the action of the original trick with vanishing and appearing handkerchief to boot!

 

 

 

Clockmaker & Magician Robert Houdin’s Orange Tree Pin | USA

This limited edition hard enamel pin with green glitter detail comes in at 62mm tall, as the handkerchief emerges. Just as in real life, as Houdin’s tree would produce a handkerchief carried by two butterflies, the pin features a movable component that conjures the past in the same fashion. As if appearing from the tree itself, the handkerchief rises to reveal the ring (or other article) vanished by the famous magician. The handkerchief can be worn in the up or down position. Pin $15 + $3 shipping

$18.00

Clockmaker & Magician Robert Houdin’s Orange Tree Pin | International

This limited edition hard enamel pin with green glitter detail comes in at 62mm tall, as the handkerchief emerges. Just as in real life, as Houdin’s tree would produce a handkerchief carried by two butterflies, the pin features a movable component that conjures the past in the same fashion. As if appearing from the tree itself, the handkerchief rises to reveal the ring (or other article) vanished by the famous magician. The handkerchief can be worn in the up or down position. Pin $15 + $8 shipping

$23.00


 

Sacred Geometry – Second Edition!

Al Collins and I went back to the drawing machine to add 17 patterns to the original book, making a total of 88 unique patterns. This is another limited run of 300. Now available for purchase here.

 

 


Publications, Print & Media

Keeper of Time Documentary

I’m excited to announce, I’ve been asked to be in a feature length documentary film called Keeper of Time. Documentary filmmaker Michael Culyba sets out to explore the history of horology, mechanical watchmaking, and the very concept of time itself. With interviews by watchmakers Roger W. Smith, Roland Murphy, F. P. Journe, and more! Check out the kickstarter and live events happening tomorrow here! I’ve made a few perks for backers, so if you’ve had your eye on a guilloché pen or pencil set, spinning top or the coloring book, check out the sponsorship packages.

 


Makers & Mystics Podcast

I also recently had the pleasure of discussing a few unique facets of horology with Stephen Roach of the Makers and Mystics podcast. If you’re like me and listen to way too many podcasts and want to learn more about magic, automata and more check out the episode here.

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The Naked Watchmaker

People: 12 Questions Interview Series

I was excited to give this interview, as it gave me a chance to talk about a few of the challenges and experiences in my career. It also delved a bit into my childhood, so have a read if you’ve ever been curious to know why I turned out so strange.

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Last, but not least, I am still working on my book for Penguin. I was given the opportunity to expand on the original outline, incorporating a lot more history and esoteric facets of this field I love with all my heart. As always, I can’t wait to share it with you, so I’ll be sure to keep you posted as a publication date nears!

Thank you so much dear readers for your continued support and encouragement. I couldn’t do this work without kind folks like you who share my love for horology.

Advanced Engine Turning

Hi All! So we finally finished up the last of our engine turning classes this month. It was great fun seeing how the student work developed over the sessions, as many students enrolled in more than one. With more complex projects, students singled in on a specific idea. A lot of time was spent making sure surfaces were dialed in flat and true. Students worked in silver, copper, and other materials. Here are the results!

 

David and I want to say thank you to all of our students and the support! We’re already planning our next series of classes and look forward to meeting our future attendees!

Until next time!

endofclass

Snippets from Engine Turning No.1

We just had our first engine turning class of the year! We had a lovely time and saw some beautiful patterns. It’s always so exciting to see what a fresh perspective will bring to the craft! This group of students consisted of artists, chemists, ornamental turners, and watchmakers.

david

David setting up the ring chuck

 

Showing off the 102 collet set

Showing off the 102 collet set

 

Amie

Amie, exploring form and pattern on the rose engine

 

ropestart  rope

doubleropestart

doublerope

An overlaid rope pattern

 

spirograph

Exploring spirographs on the rose engine

 

spirograph2 spirograph3 overlaychuck

Another Amie exploration

 

flowers student2 studentpieces examples3

Straightline machine patterns (left) and rose engine moray (right)

Straightline machine patterns (left) and rose engine moray (right)

 

drapeline

Sterling silver straightline machine drape by John

 

pieces

 

pen

Nathan and Ed making pens on the straightline machine

 

pentubelathe finishedtube dialstart

Dial by Jeremy

Dial by Jeremy

 

studentexamples2

Pewter door pulls by Robert

 

More of Robert's work

More of Robert’s work

 

pumpingring

Amie tries pumping on the outside diameter of a rosette for a ring on the rose engine

 

barelyring

Pumping on the inside surface of a rosette for a ring

 

If you’re interested, we have just one space remaining for this coming weekend’s class on beginning engine turning! Sign up on the class page!

Annual AIC & CAC Conference in Montreal

Hello everyone! It’s another busy week here at the Memoria Technica workshop.  I have some exciting news about the upcoming joint 44th Annual Meeting and 42nd Annual Conference in Montreal for the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and the Canadian Association for Conservation (Association Canadienne pour la Conservation et la Restauration) (CAC-ACCR). David Lindow and I have been selected to give a joint lecture on Guilloché work in Conservation. Read more about it here. There will be a lot of exciting talks covering a variety of subject areas! I hope to see some of you there. The conference takes place in Montreal May 13-17 2016 – more info here.

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What we will be talking about: “Guilloché , also referred to as engine turning, is work produced on a rose engine or straight-line engine. The rose engine was developed in the 16th century, but found wide scale popularity in the early 19th century when Breguet applied the craft to augment his watch dials, cases, and movements. Many believe it reached its apex with Fabergé. Developing a conservation methodology for Guilloché work appears to be a relatively new subject and understanding the processes by which an object was made or decorated may be the first stage in development. Little information is widely available on the enigmatic rose engine and even less is available on the process by which its patterns are created. We will briefly explore the history of these machines and their various uses through examining the steps required for accomplishing distinct patterns and looking at some of the diverse objects that employ them. The reflective quality of Guilloché work along with the effects of oxidation on this property will be examined. Through this we will identify various pitfalls in the practice of cleaning and repair. The rose engine was employed not only in horology to decorate metal objects of art, but also in other media such as pottery by Josiah Wedgwood and modern plastic injection molding patterns. As these machines were used from the early 16th century through the present, many conservators are likely to encounter objects that were either made or decorated by them. This session will seek to aid in the development of a conservation methodology for treating and working with engine made or decorated objects. ”

In other news – registration for the upcoming classes on Engine Turning at the workshop has been so popular, we’ve added another set of beginners classes. Please get in touch here to register if you’d like to join!

Engine Turning Classes and Easy Workshop Ramen

Hello all! I’ve been pretty swamped with the finishing touches on the workshop, client work, and getting Engine Turning classes up and running, but I wanted to share a bit about what’s been keeping me so busy. This week I’ve had the pleasure of David Lindow’s excellent company. We did some fun class prep work – basically dismantling parts of the rose and straight-line engines, truing – adjusting – lubricating… the result was really exciting and incredibly rewarding. Here are some photos of this weeks classes!  Of course the day started off right with local “hand forged” doughnuts (haha), coffee, and a little inspiration.

doughnuts boxes

boxes2

dialhopper

dialWe made a wax chuck for this 6497 dial blank and then turned it on the rose engine. There was a lot of lead up experimentation….

examples3 examples2 examples studentpiecces turning2 turning drapes2 angine2 studentpieces2

 

Students took off on their own projects after a bit of trial and error – figuring out phasing and pattern development. Master Lindow was always on the ready to troubleshoot.

student1 masteratwork rob class pat chris2 terrance cuttingdrapes penbarrel penchuck2 penchuck P1000088Overall it was a wonderful few days with some great people! So much information learned and imparted by David – who incidentally builds a modern version of these masterpieces. As well as the most gorgeous machine ever made.

 

The MADE ornamental rose engine

The MADE ornamental rose engine

And now for the workshop recipe! I’ve been noodling around a great deal and had quite a bit of trouble figuring out inexpensive, convenient and still delicious meals to have at the workshop. Indeed, my desire to bring “quick, cheap and easy” to  the culinary art form while not compromising my shop standards has brought about the quest.  I thought I’d share this latest recipe with you, in case you too, have experienced the same struggle, as it represents at least some degree of success.

Easy Workshop Ramen

finished!

This recipe only requires three fresh ingredients: Kale, garlic, and ginger. Easy items to obtain from your local grocery and they stay fresh for quite a while – with the exception of perhaps the kale…

fresh3

You only need the following cookware:

Hot plate, small cup, personal wok (doubles as a bowl), small cutting board, knife, spoon, (optional chopsticks or fork). I use a small spoon to roughly measure out the ingredients and a knife to chop and grate the ginger. All of the ingredients should be readily available at an Asian grocery store. Most of them (or a version of each) can be found at a general store. Here is what I use:

noodles noodles1 condiments soupbase musroombags

mushrooms

Prep time – 5 minutes or less

Cook time – 15-20 minutes

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

3 cups vegetable broth (3 teaspoons vegetable bouillon in 3 cups of water)

1/2 cup mixed dried mushrooms broken into pieces

1 package fresh Ramen noodles (or dry – but fresh is AMAZING!)

3 leaves of kale torn into 1/2 inch pieces

optional garnish: sesame seeds, fried shallots, and sriracha sauce

Instructions:

Add the sesame oil, garlic, and ginger to the wok. Let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth and mushroom pieces. Let simmer for 7 to 10 minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Add the noodles and follow the time specified on the package (usually about 7 minutes). Throw in the kale with about 2 minutes to go. Remove from heat and garnish with sesame seeds, fried shallots, and sriracha. Delicious!

ramen soup2 finished!