Why Aluminum as an Art Medium?

Ferrous metals contain or consist of iron. The non-ferrous metals include aluminium, zinc, copper and its alloys like bronze.

Electron shell diagram for Aluminium, the 13th element in the periodic table of elementsAluminium has a very interesting history which leads us to to the material we currently call “aluminum.” We know that long ago, traces of refined aluminum were found in a rare nugget form, basically by accident. When manipulated, the ancients discovered it was quite malleable like gold, but very lightweight. It’s widest ancient use was in jewelry, valued much higher than gold because of its rarity, its capacity to be brightly polished and its resistance to tarnishing.

I won’t bore you with dates and the names of the pioneer “alchemists” and the various processes they used to convert the raw earth elements to metal. The importance of electricity plays a key role in our ability to refine aluminum, so the fundamental dates to look at are in the late 1880s. Since then, there have been many key advances including methods to make it more efficient to produce aluminum, plus alloying techniques that give it greater strength and castability.

Aluminum in Art and Architecture

Pure aluminum is very different from the aluminum alloy in a step ladder or an airplane wing. When blended with alloys to strengthen it, much of aluminum’s unique character is lost. giving it a dull silvery haze. Pure aluminum is in a category all its own. Its natural beauty lies in how deeply it refracts light and color. Think of it as a chameleon of sorts. When it’s in a room, it takes on the surrounding color, which changes with the slightest changes of ambient light, either in direction or where there is movement in its proximity.

Loving it is to Understand it…

Aluminum is the star of the show. Similar to Copper, it is pure and mailable, I just manipulate it by hammering, stretching, forming, and fusing it together. Each hammer strike creates a tiny concave facet which twinkles in the light.

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