Talking with Arthur Hash

Talking with Arthur Hash

Episode #180

Today I talk with Arthur Hash.

Arthur is a metal artist as well as the Instructional Support Technician, for the Metal Program State University of New York, New Paltz, New York.

Interesting title for a fascinating job, plus Arthur is incredibly generous sharing his knowledge.

Plus a creative new App I got for my iPad.

I love Grace Mclean’s music and you get to hear her new song; Cabbie Landlord

Use the link to buy her album.

Grace Mclean/Cabbie Landlord

Shrink, Shrank, Shrunk by Kathy Sheldon

PUSH Jewelry: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Jewelry by Marthe Le Van and Arthur Hash


Listen Now

Interview transcript

Arthur Hash Interview Transcription

Alison Lee: Well you are going to be thrilled hearing who I’m going to be talking to today. It’s always exciting to talk to interesting, fascinating people. Today’s guest is Arthur Hash Hash. I’m holding his new book he just curated called “Push Jewelry: 30 Artists Explore the Boundaries of Jewelry” It’s totally fabulous. And he currently manages both the metal studio and the digital fabrication lab, I love that title, for the finer performing arts department at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Arthur thank you so much for coming on.

Arthur: Oh you’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me.

Alison: Now, let’s just fill everyone in a little bit of your background so they know how you got at least to this place.

Arthur: Sure. I can start at the beginning. I have my BFA in crafts, materials studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and then my MSA in metalsmithing and jewelry design from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. And then from there, kinda had a bunch of random jobs within the field and kinda eventually landed here at New Paltz in the metals department.

Alison: Random jobs usually are the ones that are most telling about people. Because you are usually learning something fabulous from it. What was your most random job?

Alison: My most random job? I was the night auditor at a hotel. for a summer where I worked from midnight till 7:00 am which was pretty intense. I mean for the most part, the odd people that would come in it was kind of interesting job to have for my age at the time.

Alison: And are you someone that always been making things. Is that you?

Arthur: I think so. I mean I do have a fond memory of my parents dropping us off at my grandmother’s house. We had kind of like a craft day. I think it was her attempt to occupy time so we weren’t sitting in front of the television the whole time and we’d make Christmas ornaments and random things. I’d like to think that sort of inspired me maybe to continue making with my hands.

Alison: So you liked it when you did that? I tried to get my son to do that with me. It didn’t go well at all. He was not interested. Did you like the whole process?

Arthur: Yes, it was great. You know she’d let us watch TV as well but she definitely had an allocated time for us to do this creative thing. And of course, there was everything else involved. Like you know we’d go outside and play as well. As time went on, I found myself kind of lest interested in kind of normal academic pursuits and then kind of found out about going to art school for college. And it kind of opened up all new doors and avenues to go down and it was just pretty exciting. It seemed like a perfect fit for me.

Alison: And was it the process or the finished result that interested you?

Arthur: I think initially it was probably the process. Like when you are younger or a young artist especially kind of in your foundation years in art school, college, you are like a sponge. Absorbing this and this is great. Now I want to do this. You know. So I don’t know if I gravitated towards metal because of its an errand of preciousness or maybe more so towards jewelry because you get to wear art. You get to keep it with you and walk around with it and it’s just a great thing to have and hold. Difficult to wear a large painting. So I think that’s probably why I went in that direction.

Alison: And you knew you were hooked right? You knew you were in the right place right away.

Arthur: Oh yes. Absolutely. It was an interesting way to get there but I think everyone depending on what university you go to whether or not they have a metals department or a jewelry department or even like crafts as whole. I think people just gravitate towards what they feel that their successful in and what they are interested in.

Alison: Yeah. I loved art school. What did you stay up all night doing? I can see you like you were up somewhere.

Arthur: I stayed up all night in my beginning years of metal, I stayed up all night doing metalsmithing. So a lot of raising. And I think it was mostly because I was excited but also because like I think people got really annoyed with me because it’s very loud plus lots of hammering. And so they kind of liked it that I was doing it in the middle of the night. Because they didn’t have to hear it during the day. And no one was there and I got the whole studio to myself so it was wonderful.

Alison: Do you still do that ever? I sort of longingly think back of like staying up all night was the darkroom. I was in school for photography. Yes. That all-night doing feeling. I wonder if that only happens in college?

Arthur: You know I thought about that. I think now that I am older it still happens but it doesn’t happen as much. I’ll find some process or project or peace that I really will be excited about and I really am into it and then all of a sudden I look at the clock and its 4 am. It does happen still but not as much. I just don’t have maybe the stamina to do it every night.

Alison: Right. I think that’s what it is too. I always know it’s bad when you see 2 am. If you [inaudible] to 2 am it’s not going to go well for the rest of the night. You might as well give up at that point.

Arthur: Yeah. Now that you are older, you are smart enough to know that if things are not working at 4 or 2am it’s time to stop.

Alison: Right. Exactly. It’s time to lie down for a while. Well now in your current job, I love that the title official is “The Metal Studio” and I love this part “the digital fabrication lab”. Is this an accurate sort of take? I look and I see now sort of with great longing I would jump back to college in a second, but I see how now the metals program you really have to be into your, which I am, computer skills and the whole digital part to really be part of the metals program. Is that correct?

Arthur: I wouldn’t say that it’s accurate. Well, again it’s one avenue to pursue. I think here at New Paltz and most universities we try to give everything to our students like every opportunity and it’s becoming the digital fabrication or digital tools are becoming more and more something that they need to know when they get out of school. So I think we are doing our duty to expose them to other ways of making. And we give them a choice, it’s not a necessary thing or a requirement. They can come through the metals program and still stay completely traditional and never touch a computer except for email. But it is an option. It’s something. The digital lab isn’t a department in the university but it is a place to go to, to experiment with certain techniques and equipment that they wouldn’t have normal access too.

Alison: Right. And do you find that an exciting area to work in?

Arthur: Yeah. Well you know initially I think when I finished, I started dabbling in grad school and I think once I got out of grad school I took the path that everyone else does or traveled the same task in the sense that you know you get out of school and you are like “Well I got to find a job. I don’t have any money. I don’t have a studio!” I had a computer. So it gave me the opportunity to still make but using a computer. You know the [] print thing and all of the laser cutting and all of the things I learned and did was just a product of my circumstance [] you know. And it became like a real part of my work and develop alongside other traditional skills that I learned through going to school for metals.

Alison: Can you just explain to us. I mean I was reading on your blog you just got back from visiting Norway and you were talking about their school there and I was just looking at the list of some of their things and I believe you have a lot of them too at your school there but it said there were five 3D printers, two laser cuts, a waterjet, a CSC I have no idea what that is and two 3D skinners. It was like a partridge in a pear tree. I don’t even know like, can you just like give us the overview of what for, you know the simple breakdown definition of what all those things are and what you can do with them.

Arthur: Of course. I mean maybe what I’ll do is tell you what we have here because it’s pretty much the same but just paired down. So I’ll start with the 3D printer which is becoming very popular these days with a lot of metals because the 3D printers normally are an additive process where it actually generates an object using either a powder or a plastic extrusion and the print that we have actually prints an object layer by layer. So if you can envision almost like how a spiral hand is made up of layers of hand to make like the whole hand, it’s very similar to that. So there are layers of plastic layered on top each other to make an object. But metals people there are other 3D printers that actually print the same way but in wax. And so you can go directly from wax. So it’s another reason why a lot of metals people like the digital stuff.

Alison: So you can work in a digital program like CAT or something and then you print it out as a wax and then you can go have it as lost wax

Arthur: Exactly. Or if its prints in another material like plastic, you can make a rubber mold from it and then go on from there. Another machine that we use very often. It’s kind of our workhorse, our laser cutter engraver.

Alison: And that does what?

Arthur: That’s a very power laser. It’s almost maybe 100 times the power of like a laser pointer and it actually will cut to engrave material. So you can do things like, I don’t know. Some of the things we use it for in the metals program is cutting Plexiglas for doing hydraulic press. Or some of the things I have been experimenting with is actually using the laser to engrave []. So the laser will burn or fire at about 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. Enamel normally burns or fires on a [], that 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. So the 2100 degrees actually selectively over fires the enamel. So it becomes almost a new way of mark-making on enamel. But you know we use it for packaging design, you can cut cardboard, you can do dye cutting, you can cut fabric. So it’s a pretty versatile machine.

Alison: And it can cut very fine line correct?

Arthur: Oh very fine. [] the thickness of a human hair. But our laser cutter is not powerful enough to cut metal. So the students in the metals program are challenged kind of to use this equipment creatively or [] laser cutter creatively to get to their final product. But other programs or majors such as painting or textiles or fashion design or graphic design will use it all day long for other kinds of things. So it’s pretty exciting. Every day a student will come and they’ll bring something and say “I’m going to cut this and make this crazy thing!” and it’s pretty exciting to be part of that.

Alison: I’ve seen the garments and the material that’s done with laser cutting and its incredible looking.

Arthur: Yeah. it’s a pretty amazing thing. I kind of wish that I had my own. One day I’ll have.

Alison: Your own laser cutter?

Arthur: They can be quite expensive but another machine that we have that you mentioned is the CNC.

What people are saying

  • Your classes are just amazing and I have learned sooo much from Cindy Pope’s classes on the Silhouette machines. She breaks it down so any beginner can learn. I didn’t take my Curio out of the box for a year until I watched her class. Now I’m addicted

    Beth B
  • Thank you for the informational class last night, and for the notes, it looks like a great product to work with. Best Wishes,

  • You are a truly generous soul to share so much with the community. I am constantly impressed by the extra effort you put into everything you do. A true inspiration. 

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