Friday, September 11, 2015


And here's where we branch out.  After struggling with whether or not to include pieces that are not made of silver, I've decided that to include only silver means to exclude some of Ivaan's most memorable pieces.  So, sure, I could make this corkscrew in silver if only to prove a point, but I can tell you what would happen:  the second bottle of wine that was opened would wind up with the business end of a corkscrew broken off in the cork.  Silver's like that.  Like butter, I mean.

So let's stick with bronze.  I love working on bronze.  It holds detail beautifully, is the most stalwart of metals, and it develops its own patina if you leave it alone.  Ivaan did not leave this one alone, and he had a patina added to it at the foundry.


Ivaan cast his own thumb to make this corkscrew.  He called it the Thumbscrew, and it's definitely a functional corkscrew.  He was never very enthused about mechanical corkscrews that sucked all the joy out of opening a bottle of wine, even as they sucked the cork out of the bottle. Never much of a drinker, Ivaan nonetheless felt that if you were opening a bottle of wine, you might as well make it an occasion, and put some effort into it.

There's a story behind Ivaan's collection of corkscrews.  He made several of them, mostly functional, occasionally just decorative.  Once, a couple of years before his death, he lent his collection of corkscrews to the editor of a magazine called Metalcraft, who was publishing a story about making corkscrews.  I have a feeling I may have written that story.  Certain turns of phrase come back to haunt me. But I digress.

Anyway, Ivaan lent the guy his corkscrews and promptly forgot all about them.   In the months just before he died, Ivaan started worrying about what he'd done with his corkscrews.  He asked me if I knew where they were.  I didn't.  In fact, I didn't even know he had lent them to the editor.  Ivaan was capable of the most fantastical leaps of logic, even when reason suggested otherwise.  If you've never read the story about the ruby heart, stay tuned. There is not one small chance I'll forget to post that story in this series.  So, Ivaan decided that since I didn't know where his corkscrews were, that I must have thrown them out.

Now, I'll admit I have a powerful predilection for cleanliness and order, but preserving Ivaan's art is what I do. So I would never even contemplate throwing out something he made. And besides, how would I open a bottle of wine for our guests?  Ivaan almost drove me mad, cross-examining me about what I'd done with his corkscrews.

Months after his death, I was at the foundry, picking up Ivaan's bronze grave marker.  The owner of the foundry (who happened to be the publisher of Metalcraft Magazine) came by and said, "I have something of Ivaan's here", and handed me a cardboard box filled with his corkscrews.  I bet you think I was relieved.  Wrong.  My blood boiled.

I got in the car, drove straight to the cemetery, and in the earth around his grave, I carved the words I TOLD YOU SO, IVAAN, with the business end of this corkscrew.

Now you know.

No comments:

Post a Comment