Monday, January 26, 2009
I ordered this book "Foldforming" by Charles Lewton-Brain through Amazon.com. It arrived pretty quickly, considering the distance. And just as quickly, I read it halfway, and immediately tried my hand at it.
I didn't have a suitable hammer in my jewelry toolbox, so I had to search my husband's shop. I found a hammer which was too big for this technique and tiny pieces I was experimenting, but since it was the only one I had at hand I went ahead and tried it. After I folded and hammered with much difficulty, I annealed and stared at the pieces of copper with a little disappointment at my lack of visible results. After the pieces were cool enough to handle, I started opening them, and to my amazement, revealed very unpredictable and beautiful shapes.
Here are my first attempts at foldforming. I think I am in love...
I didn't know this, but foldforming is a revolutionary and groundbreaking technique just recently "invented" by the author of this book. It is a "conceptual, physical, and intuitive approach to metalsmithing that is informed by the natural characteristics of metals." He acknowledges many people for its development, including his German teacher: Klaus Ullrich. I like how he describes this teacher taught him that "the marks of process are compositional design choices. Every Hammer or file mark is a design decision as well as part of a process." "In the case of fusing, for instance, this turns the mistake, "I melted it" into the discovery, "What a lovely surface.""
This approach to working with metals, or any medium for that matter, is what attracts me to this technique. I value unpredictability (I like surprises), and am not a perfectionist (far from it). This means I like to play with chance. I also value marks of time, wear, patinas of time, etc.
I've already incorporated these pieces into wearable jewelry. I'll post some photos this week.