Time in the Limelight

What a busy time it has been here at the Memoria Technica Workshop. If you are new to the blog, welcome! If you are a long time reader, thank you so much for following along. I’m very grateful for your support!

I have been remiss in posting updates on the blog this year due to many new developments here at the workshop.

Horology has found its way into the limelight! With the release of the podcast S-Town, there has been an uptick in interest, which has given horologists the opportunity to talk about what we do. Here at Memoria Technica, we have taken this duty seriously which is why you may have noticed a few new pages in the menu bar at the top of the blog. We have been busy putting together a lecture series, the workshop zine, and an enamel pin series to promote public engagement with the field.  Read on to hear about these and a few other developments.

A Few Announcements


If you’ve been wondering why I’ve been absent from the blog, it’s because I am writing a book for Penguin Publishers! Earlier this year Penguin approached me about writing a memoir of sorts, and I can’t express how humbled I am to have this opportunity. Oddly, I have always wanted to write a book, but I had no idea the moment would come so soon.

Writing such an account has been a bit difficult for me; sometimes the words come easily and other times I feel quite challenged by the prospect of producing such a volume. More than anything it’s been about finding a rhythm in the words, but all in all it’s been an extremely rewarding process and I can’t wait to share this project with you.

A short synopsis from Penguin:

“This book is the story of how Brittany formed an unusual bond with Dennis, a man she had never met but whose ghost she sensed in every half-finished horological puzzle he left behind. It’s a story about the mesmerising objects she has painstakingly restored over the course of her career: from rare timepieces to singing clockwork birds. But above all it’s a story about time: how it passes and how a horologist, more so than anyone, cannot escape it.”

Additionally, I’m excited to feature the work of some of my dear friends and colleagues. Supporting the horological community is essential for the future of our field. With each passing year, we lose more of our history and identity and become further removed from our memories. Recording the stories and preserving the legacies of those who were pioneers in our field is one of the greatest tasks we face.

Stay tuned for a publication date announcement!


A tiny Great Big Story!

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Back in March, I had the privilege to be featured on CNN’s Great Big Story. It’s exciting to share my work with new audiences, on a platform that exposes many new viewers to my little corner of the world.

I have received so much love and support, and for that I am extremely humbled. It’s amazing to me that our local Girl Scouts crafted a horology badge because the troop was inspired by what I do. How wonderful that young women see themselves growing up to preserve the heritage and gifts bestowed on us by our ancestors. It is so moving that people are getting in touch to give me their compliments and inquire about how to study. THANK YOU!

All of this momentum has led to a number of recent articles and interviews.

Check out the latest on:

Worn & Wound

Seattle’s The Stranger

Seattle’s Art Zone

 


Horological Lecture Series with Seattle’s Stimson Green Mansion

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This has been in development for some time now. We recently finalized the agenda with the staff at Stimson Green and are now putting together the first set of dates for the lecture series. These will be quarterly, with the intention of expansion including special events and small symposiums. We are currently looking for sponsors, so please do get in touch if you’d like to be involved!

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Announcing the Memoria Technica Enamel Pin Series

The enamel pin trend sucked me in… I can’t get enough of these artist made pins! Encouraged by my friend Alena Diaz, a local watchmaking student and pin maker, I took the plunge and designed a series of limited run pins. I wanted to commemorate some of my favorite objects and make them available to a more diverse crowd (my coloring book was made with similar sentiments). I plan to release a few more as time and finances allow – featuring the work of clockmaker and magician Robert Houdin and Balsamo the chattering magical skull made by Polish watchmaker and magician Joseffy. For now, I’ve started with the MADE lathe, the Silver Swan Automaton, the singing bird pistols by Fréres Rochat, and my workshop logo. For the first time ever, you have the perfect gift for the fashionable horology nerd in your life. Now available here!


 

Engine Turning Classes

Lastly, our Engine Turning classes have already filled up this year. But, not to worry, if you missed this set, I am working to schedule some for early 2018. I am looking forward to meeting my new students and can’t wait to set up a regular class schedule to suit the increase in demand. Guilloché is experiencing a revival of sorts!

Intermediate Engine Turning I

Hey all! I hope you’ll enjoy some photos from our first session of Intermediate Engine Turning. We had another great group who brought some interesting concepts and ideas – such as using multiple centers and divergent patterns! Students used the elliptical chuck on both the straightline and rose engine, a pen chuck, the jig borer, and the Schaublin 102 to complete their various projects – from pens to watch dials!

 

Newsletter & Classes!

Let me start by saying, very best wishes for the New Year!

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-5-38-14-pmTo start the year off, I’ve put together a newsletter containing shop updates. It’s basically a summary of happenings and the latest offerings at the workshop. It will cover upcoming classes, new making whimsies, featured conservation projects, riddles, and more. If you’d like to check it out or subscribe, you can do so here. Below are some excerpts from the newsletter. Don’t worry, I wont flood your inbox with stuff; it will be a rather infrequent publication.

The exciting news is that I have finally put together some class dates! Student numbers are very small this time around based on student feedback. We’ve set the limit at 4 to 6 people per class – so everyone gets more time on the machines and more one on one tuition. David Lindow will be  joining me in March for some advanced level classes. See class descriptions and sign up here!

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Dearly Beloved Banjos

We are gathered here today for a number of important updates. It has certainly been some time since my last post. I have been working on quite a few projects in the mean time. One being the launch of my colleague David’s new website: Lindow Machine Works. Check it out if you get a chance – his many talents and broad range of work are finally showcased. If you want to know more about his Lindow Rose Engine – there’s an easy to navigate Menu of his products (thank you again to Alexandre David for the amazing photograph of the Lindow Machine). If you are interested in his gorgeous custom clocks – there’s an incredible number of photographs showing the many movement styles he offers, dials, and finished cases in his Movement Gallery.

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David and I also presented a paper in Montreal at the American Institute of Conservation for Historic and Artistic Works 44th Conference on Guilloche work in conservation. The paper will soon be available through the post prints journal through the AIC.

Here’s an excerpt to peek your interest:

“The rose engine lathe is used in a broad scope of work that varies from decorative ivories to pottery, clocks, watches, and snuff boxes as well as glass molds, the printing of stamps, stock certificates, and plastic injection moldings. It stands as an enigma to all but a small group of artisans that use these machines. Despite the broad range of use, the techniques employed by these machines are seldom explained in books and publications. Often, the use of the rose engine in the creation of an object is not mentioned, even in instances where the machine was used to decorate the entire piece. In conservation a working knowledge of how an object was made is not only useful, but may be as crucial as knowing the materials with which it was made. With little scholarly work on the subject we endeavor here to scratch the surface and give a brief account of both the machine’s history and how it was used in the hope that it will foster further study. To this end we conducted a literature review, produced a catalogue of sixty common patterns, and prepared and treated twenty-eight metal samples. The samples consist of composition 353 brass, nickel silver, and fine silver. Using common non-conservation based treatment methods we aim to show how patterns become distorted and demonstrate the effects of oxidation on the reflective surfaces that give guilloche its characteristic flash. It is our hope that this will spur discussion about how to treat these highly reflective surfaces, as the characteristic flash of guilloche is arguably its most important tangible property.”

In addition to working on this paper with David, I have partnered with Al Collins on another project in the works. I’ll give you a sneak peek….maybe you can guess what it is?..

Coloring book!

In another effort to bestow upon me an appreciation for American horology David took me to see a fascinating private collection of clocks. This gentleman has spent years collecting and rescuing American Banjo clocks. The incredible breadth of information he has compiled must make him the leading scholar on this particular branch of American horology. And now without further ado… perhaps the most elaborate and extensive collection of American Banjo clocks…..well almost – there is another thing I must tell you about first –

I have to say I have been lucky to see some beautiful American pieces up close – such as a Howard Company regulator (photos of such to come soon) and this amazing American screw clock and patent model that will soon be sold by Jonathan Snellenburg at Bonhams auction house. I am absolutely smitten with that patent model. I mean – GOSH! – just think about cutting that worm with such precision over such a length when it was made! WHAT?! HOW?!

 

And now! More Banjo clocks than you ever thought you’d see in one place. You’re welcome. 

bmighty

 

And last, but not least – the most important Banjo of all….

Banjo Edison Bloom – aka little ink spot.

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American Clockmaker

David and I stayed pretty busy during the winter visit. Although, I think he’s been busy his entire life. Given that he completed his first clock at 27 years of age, just after completing a home he built from scratch. By 25, David had built parts for over 650 clocks and finished about 500 of them while working under master clockmaker Gerhard Hartwigs, who taught him the trade.

While gathering materials in the workshop, we found a stack of old photos. This one was hiding in the pile and shows David and his daughter Ashley next to the first clock he built after the passing of Mr. Hartwigs.

David and his daughter in his home with wife his Becky

Here are some of the resident clocks at the Lindow home he’s made over the years. They are some fine examples of beautiful craftsmanship.

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The case was made by John Bartron of Honesdale, PA and is made from local cherry. It’s a reproduction of the clock that resides in the Wayne County Historical Society.

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Roxbury style Mahogany tall clock: Case by Robert Materne, who has made clocks for both  Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Dial and movement by David Lindow (soon to be replaced with a painted dial, appropriate for the case).

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davidhome4Tiger Maple tall clock: Case by James Shott, dial by Kathi Seiwert, movement by DL. The case is inspired by the style of Montgomery County, PA. The maple is from PA.

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Mahogany “Thomas Voight, Phil.” tall clock. It’s a reproduction of the clock in Thomas Jefferson’s library at Monticello. Dial by Kathi Seiwert, case by William Towne. Movement by DL, of course.

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This is the first clock to bear David’s namesake, and one of only two made while he still lived in Paupack, PA. It was made when he was 28. The case was made by James Shott. David spun the dial, and it was painted by Martha Smallwood.

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Drum head wall clock: Case by Mike Zuba, dial and movement are temporary – waiting for a regulator movement by Steve Franke.

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Gravity Regulator: Case by Dave Gunderson, movement by DL, pendulum by DL and Ashley Lindow Miller. The case is made of black walnut and eucalyptus burl.

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Tiger Maple Coffin Clock: Case by John Bartron from local wood. Dial by Martha Smallwood, movement by DL.

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Case by Robert Hynes, tablets by Tom Moberg, Dial by Martha
Smallwood, and movement by David Lindow and Ashley Lindow.

banjodial banjopaint

 

Here are some photos from the workshop, while we were working on our mechanism. I was on pinion and gear-cutting duty. David made and assembled our barrel, among other things.

Don't worry - my hair is usually pulled back.

Don’t worry – my hair is usually pulled back.

pinionsdavidbarrelcaplathe finishedbarrelprocess capmillingcuttingpinionsdepthing

And I’m just throwing these in here because they’re beautiful and the piano roll has some good advice, but not for the faint of heart.

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like you mean it

like you mean it