Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tactile Dimensions of Iron



I recently heard a commercial where the person said, “Don’t you just love the feel of gold?”  Besides giving me an uncomfortable recollection of the King Midas legend it reminded me of a few comments about the tactile esthetics iron work which I have tucked away.

I can’t recall the person who said, “Easy on the hands means easy on the eyes.”   But, I’ve seen that demonstrated by several blacksmiths.  Finishing the surface by sanding with 60 grit abrasive before applying a finish sealer coat gives the surface a very appealing feel as well as appearance.  I like for the surface to feel very smooth and silky.  I heard one client use the term velvety.

Another remark came from Jeff Mohr at the June 2001 Ironfest in Grapevine, Texas.  He told a story about a potential buyer being turned off by the feel of an item she was examining saying it felt sticky or dirty.  He decided to pay more attention to how a finish felt to touch as well as how it looked.

I’ve heard people say the like the coolness of ironwork and they like the heft of ironwork.  That led me to enquire more about the vocabulary for describing touch experience and I found this interesting three dimension graphic contrasting some tactile surface judgements -  soft/hard, smooth/rough and slippery/sticky.  I suppose sharp/dull is, technically, a characteristic of an edge and not a surface.  I added my fourth dimension of cool/warm. 

http://krieger.jhu.edu/mbi/hsiaolab/directory/currentProject_tactileTexture_perception

Don’t you just love the feel of iron?


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