High-Density Foam and Ball-Peen Hammer

Artist: Jesse Bird


Two materials that have played an important role throughout the history of manufacturing and are key elements of this panel’s formulation. A combination of steel (a ball-peen hammer) and polyurethane foam is used. The ball-peen hammer, also known as a machinist’s hammer, was pioneered in the metalworking era as a tool for cold shaping. For this panel, it was used as a vehicle for imprinting the foam’s high-density surface with hemispherical craters. Using varying degrees of intensity, shallow or deep impacts are seen covering the entire front surface of the panel. The intention was to draw the viewer’s attention to the main face of the panel and have the results resemble machine milling or other processes commonly performed using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or Computer Numerical Controls (CNC). The panel symbolizes the act of the craftsperson. It comments on their role in design, which has become divided between those who make versus those who digitally fabricate. When applied within today’s modern marketplace, this creates tension in an industry that demands efficiency and high-volume production. It raises the question, will the rise of a technological revolution disrupt the relationship between hand and digital making, or will it embrace traditional craftsmanship?