Albuquerque is located in a high-altitude desert and it was very hot and windy. The plants were quite different from what we have in Southern Ontario - I had no idea that yuccas grew so tall! - but they were beautiful in their own way. I spent my last morning there at the local botanical garden in the Southwest US section but those are pictures for another post.
Today I want to show off what I made during the week. We practiced on circular tubes of varying widths and diameters; most often, we sawed the finished forms open to make cuffs. We used brass for almost everything. Almost all of my pieces still need polishing - but these were metal forming classes, not metal polishing classes, and I wanted to make the best possible use of my time. I can polish things at the studio if I want to.
In the first class, Forming metal with miniature stakes, we learned how to control the hammers - not only to hit what you're aiming for, but how to hit with the right amount of force - then how to make concave forms, how to make convex forms, and how to add fluting (ridges).
Back row, L-R:
- learning hammer control by planinshing (hammering lightly using overlapping blows to smooth out the metal and harden it) on a cuff made from a 7/8" wide by 2" diameter blank
- a concave (also known as anticlastic) cuff made from the same blank
- a wider oncave cuff made from a 1 1/2" wide by 2 1/4" blank
Front row, L-R:
- a large convex (domed, also known as synclastic) unopened cuff made from a 7/8" wide by 2 1/4" diameter blank
- a small convex ring made from a 1/2" wide by 1" diameter blank
- a convex fluted (ridged) unopened cuff made from the 7/8" wide by 2" diameter blank
- a small concave ring thing whose sides have been completely folded over made from a 1/2" wide by 1 1/4" diameter blank
- a wiggly convex fluted form (I forgot to bring it home)
For reference, the background plaid has a repeat of about 5 1/8" in each direction.
Whew! We did a lot in those two days!
In the second class, Continuing metal forming, we focused mainly on fluting: adding it in different directions, to different shapes, and we used fine silver for a couple of pieces.
|Back row, L-R:|
- a concave fluted unopened cuff made from a 7/8" wide by 2 1/4" diameter blank
- a 2 1/2" diameter bracelet made by closing this wiggly 1 1/4" wide by 8 1/2" long blank into a ring, making it concave, and then folding the sides over to meet
- a wide flat unopened cuff with fluting running around the cuff whose sides were flared upwards, made from 1 1/2" wide by 2 1/4" diameter blank
Front row, L-R:
- a 2" diameter disk that is domed and then fluted
- a slightly convex fine silver cuff made from a 7/8" wide by 6 1/2" long blank that is closed, formed, and then cut open
- a wide convex fine silver form with fluting running around the piece and the sides flared upwards made from a 1 1/4" wide by 6 1/2" long blank that is closed, formed, and then cut open
For reference, the background plaid has a repeat of about 5 1/8" in each direction
We didn't do as many pieces over these three days because the fluting takes quite a bit more time to do than it does to make a convex (synclastic) or concave (anticlastic) cuff.
I loved these classes, although I found the week exhausting. Hammering and learning are both very tiring! I really, really, really love the process of forming these pieces and I will be purchasing the equipment to continue learning. I may end up practicing in copper instead of brass, just as I've been doing with the foldforming. I don't know exactly where these techniques will take me but I am bursting with ideas and I'm excited to get to work on realizing them.
(updated to include starting blank measurements and background repeat, as well as formatting).