Dan has been a friend of the Hammer for a while now. A skilled Sculptor and Metal Fabricator, he has made many of our complex steel projects including our custom furniture hardware.
Recently moving to Braidwood with partner Alison Jackson, he is in the process of building the shed of his dreams. We caught up with him to get the latest on the move and ask him a few questions.
Tell us what you love about timber…
At a young age the first things I ever made were from timber, there were always bits of wood lying around my dads workshop to make with. Timber was a staple material until the day I had free reign in my schools technology department. My teacher said “here’s a welder and there’s a pile of metal over there, have fun” ever since then metal has been the focus of my making. Although metal lacks the beauty of having grown organically it makes up for it by being a wonderful material to form, it will take on any shape or colour if you experiment long enough.
What are you most proud of making?
There are two things I have made that standout for me, one is the first sculpture I made after finishing uni, titled Point of contact. It’s a blackened steel sculpture that uses a powerful magnet to balance precariously on its curved base. It was inspired by the amazing basalt rock formations at the Giants Causeway in Northern Island.
The second is another sculpture I made for the Contour 556 exhibition here in Canberra. Titled Fault Sector it is the largest piece I have made to date. Made from rusted coreten steel, it mimics a fallen monolith that has split into two. The space between the two halves contains an intricate network of contours and folds. This piece was lucky enough to win the University of Western Sydney sculpture prize in 2018.
Rustic or Clean Dressed (timber of course)?
For me it all depends on where it is used. My partner and I recently moved into a very old house that has both rough sawn and dressed timber floor boards all mixed together. Our whole place is made from recycled materials, the story is that two miners cottages were pulled apart, moved here and reconstructed into this kooky house we call home. It’s intriguing to look at and wonder where each piece came from.
If you had to work with just one timber…
I’ll change timber for metal and say 304 stainless steel any day. It’s a very common material and used in everyday things from the kitchen sink through to the front of your fridge. It’s the workhorse of the stainless steel industry. Apart from being beautiful to form, weld and machine it can also be finished in interesting ways, using chemicals to patina and bring out its crystalline structure and grain.
Downtime is best spent…
Downtime is something I’m trying to learn about…My partner and I work together in our small businesses which does tend to blend those two separate boxes people put work and life in. Fortunately for us, we have a beautiful town to explore the concept of downtime in!
Recommend us your best source of inspiration
I think you just have to look closely at things to be inspired. Look down, pick up a rock or a twig and bring it close to your eye. If you look closely enough, you will find they always have something interesting to show.
What do you love about your job?
I love that I get to work with my partner every day, creating products and artworks that bring joy to both our customers and us.
To see more of Dan’s project and to find out about his fabrication services, check out his website.