Forum Posts

James Gielow
Feb 08, 2022
In Jobs and Opportunities
Hello all you wonderful people! I've been approached by a potential client for a consultation and eventual exhibition project. The collection in question is the largest of a certain writer that I am ethically opposed to. As are many of my ilk. I don't want to say whom just yet for the sake of remaining professional. I just want to get advice from my peers who may have been placed in a similar situation. I will say that this is a philosophical construct I'm battling with, not someone associated with war crimes or anything. I realize it's a slippery slope to begin making moral judgments on controversial historical objects, but I'm still having a hard time saying yes to this project. Has anyone dealt with anything like this before that could share some wisdom? I can discuss the figure in question in an email or phone call I think without compromising my principles. james@sparkandanvil.com Thanks for your time and insights! Yours, James
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James Gielow
Sep 17, 2021
In Tools & Materials
Good morning all! I have a project coming up that requires some two-part epoxy bases. One of which I'm hoping to tap a few clips into if possible. Not overly confident that's a wise idea and have a work around if not. Regardless, what's a safe replacement for pliacre these days? Hope everyone is doing well! Yours, James
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James Gielow
Mar 02, 2021
In Tools & Materials
Hello all. I know this post has come up over the years, the only optional material I've seen here was tested in Cleveland in 2016... "12/29/16 We use Black "Novasuede" from http://www.majilite.com/ It has passed our Oddy test. Philip Brutz Mount Maker Exhibition Production The Cleveland Museum of Art 11150 East Boulevard Cleveland, Ohio 44106-1797 " Philip, does this product come with acrylic adhesive backing perchance? Has ANYONE else found any other replacements that have passed ODDY testing!? Benchmark is officially not producing this product anymore and I have a heck of a lot of black mounts hungry for sueded release. What say you colleagues? yours, James
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James Gielow
Dec 29, 2020
In Jobs and Opportunities
Hello friends! Hope you're enjoying your holiday season. Spark&Anvil has been getting rather busy lately and I'm looking for mountmakers in the Los Angeles and San Diego area to take on some of my overflow work. One job in particular is a three month gig, but there are a few smaller gigs as well. Send along your CV and I'll see if you're a good fit.
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James Gielow
Jun 25, 2020
In Jobs and Opportunities
Greetings all. I'm trying to help out a client to find a mountmaker from June 30-July 10 in Wyoming for a dozen or so mounts. I'm (fortunately) booked solid and can't do it. I know it's super last-minute, but here we are. Anybody interested or have any leads? Email me! Yours, James james@sparkandanvil.com
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James Gielow
Feb 14, 2020
In Jobs and Opportunities
Hello all. I have a scheduling conflict for a job in Wyoming. I'm handling the first leg of the fabrication in Los Angeles. Then the rest needs doin in Wyoming in late March/early April. About 25 small to moderate sized objects. The client is hoping for a more local mountmaker if possible. There is no workshop available so bring all your tools etc. Contact me at james@sparkandanvil.com for more info if you're interested! Hope everyone is doing well! Yours, James
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James Gielow
Jan 31, 2020
In Tools & Materials
Greetings all! It's been several years since I've seen any discussion regarding replacements for Vitroguard for heatgun coating smaller mounts. Has there been any replacement products since then? Anything that passed ODDY testing? yours, James Spark & Anvil
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James Gielow
Jan 22, 2020
In Tips & Solutions
Hello all. I have a client who owns a small Rickey sculpture. The installation crew used some 1/4" tie-wedge concrete bolts in the tile floor to secure it. They are way too short and because of the tapered tips, the nuts barely are engaged. The whole piece is not secure as a result. Especially when you add a washer to the mix. Compounding the issue is the fact that the underside of the base has a slight bow to it in the center. So it wants to rock a bit. I'm wondering if there's an easy way to extend the length of these and maybe step them up to a 5/16" bolt? Like a sleeve or hollow threaded rod with a 5/16 exterior and a 1/4-20 interior? Does something like that exist? Maybe I can make them out of stainless rod? I can't move the piece or drill new holes. The mechanics of this kinetic sculpture are such that it needs to stay exactly where it is to avoid architectural elements. Looking for some ideas here. The client isn't keen on adding a build-up to solve the problem either. I can't add shims to stop the rocking until there's more threads to secure it. Frustrating as I'd only need another 1/8" or so of length to solve everything. *shakes fist at previous installation crew*
Size does matter.  content media
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James Gielow
Jan 10, 2020
In Latest News
Good morning everyone! Well it's my first quarter as an independent mountmaker and I'm still alive somehow. The biggest learning curve for me has been the business side of everything. But I keep on swinging away with great fervor and determination. Last month I had an amazing gig working with the team at LACMA for their Fiji exhibition for three weeks. It was wonderful working with Holly and David and sharing mountmaking tips and tools etc. It also made me miss working at an institution and having so many like-minded peers to talk with. Not enough to make me not appreciate the independent life though. One thing I'm grateful for is being able to take on the occasional restoration/conservation job though. It's helped in those times of mountmaking famine for sure! Today I'm working on repairing some broken ceramics and it's some really meditative stuff! And when I'm finished, what a perfect argument for some supporting mounts for said vases right? I'll share some photos below. I hope everyone is enjoying the new year and involved in some amazing projects! I'd love to hear about them if you have a moment. Yours, James Gielow Spark&Anvil
The independent life content media
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James Gielow
Nov 23, 2019
In Tools & Materials
The Coes Wrench is such a workhorse for shaping mounts. I got this beauty off of Ebay. Is it weird that I keep walking around with it for no reason?
New (old) toy!  content media
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James Gielow
Sep 05, 2019
In Tools & Materials
Greetings all! Tomorrow is my last day at the museum and then I'm out in the void! I've seen some photos floating around of oddly shaped fire brick forms for supporting weird or irregular brazing setups. Anyone know what I'm talking about? Not sure what to search for so I can't seem to find them. Any leads would be sweet. Here's a snap shot of similar forms...
Fire brick forms content media
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James Gielow
Jul 26, 2019
In Tips & Solutions
Hello all. Over the years I've had occasional mounts that required steel over brass. Because I don't have any welding rigs and am only using acetylene for brazing, I've always just brazed the steel. I've noticed that it takes a lot more time for the joint to flow properly with steel. My question is, what's the limitations when brazing is no longer enough? Can stainless be brazed? I'm wondering if it's time to expand and get a welding set up. Any recommendations on welding equipment would be welcome as well! Yours, James
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James Gielow
Jul 26, 2019
In Tips & Solutions
For those of us that have been working with institutions their whole careers but have always wanted to break out on their own to avoid...certain politics shall we say, or certain salary limitations. Do the mountmakers here that are independent have any sage advice to offer such a person? Like me for example? I've been doing the side gig thing for 13 some-odd years now so I already have a good reputation and client base but I know there will be surprises and challenges coming up really soon. My last day at the museum is September 6th, so it's time for action man to take action. I'd love to open up some dialog on these ventures as well as the current state of institutions (i.e. protests and unionizing at major institutions lately). Love to hear from you all. yours, James Spark and Anvil
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James Gielow

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