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1st Class: Fold Forming – Day 2

So this is the first new post being actually put up on my jewelry blog here at The Orchid Blogs Network.  I hadn’t realized just how long I’d been neglecting it.  Good thing it’s not a plant.  I figure it’s appropriate that I don’t delay another day since I was in day 2 of Charles Lewton-Brain‘s Fold Forming class and he’s one of the forces behind The Ganoksin Project that hosts these blogs.  And since I may well be developing a teensy little schoolgirl crush on him… **winks**

Today’s class was in some ways just as overwhelmingly full of information as the first day was, but at the same time I wasn’t the only one of the students who had been letting yesterday’s demonstrations percolate in my mind overnight.  I’ve realized that I not only like the way this particular form of metalworking appears to so easily look like fabrics and items found in nature but part of the way Charles is teaching it gives me that feeling like I need to just play with the metal and take what I’ve learned and try things to the point where I can let the metal tell ME what it wants to be based on how well it chooses to behave when translating my intent.  It almost has the feeling like the metal is another slow-moving liquid, like glass – which I don’t like as a medium generally.  You heat glass and you can manipulate it as a liquid.  You heat metal and it becomes more pliable as well.  Maybe overly thick clay would be a better example as that one was used by Charles when he talked about metal “squishing” when it is manipulated to move one way or another.  Metal was already a vibrant and beautiful thing before, but now it seems so much more potentially malleable.  And while the next two days of classes are about to be full of information on soldering – I am very excited to find additional ways to create dimension in the metal without having to light up the torch quite so often.  I only had time to work on one piece today in class, but incorporated two different folds in the process and took a little time to shine it up a bit to make it pretty…

Fold Formed Copper Piece

 It wants further work done with it.  I’m not sure exactly what yet, but the piece isn’t finished.  The fold forming part of it is done, and I believe it wants to be incorporated as a pendant, but I’ll have to decide what else to do with it once I’m home.  Meanwhile, the class has left me with a TON of new ideas of things to try.  I’m going to need to get more copper…

I took copious notes that will hopefully help me remember as much as possible when I am home in a week, practicing, but to be safe I expect I’m going to need to order his book as well.  In the meanwhile I did make my first Rio Grande purchase of the week today in the form of two hammers.  More importantly, I picked them up during class so that Charles could show us how he alters hammers for use in form folding.  He helped us get any that we purchased for form folding modified and ready for use in our studios.  I bought two different hammers:Fold Forming Hammers
I am hoping that I will have another opportunity in the future to learn more about fold forming from Charles.  It was two days well-spent and I definitely want to learn more!  On top of everything he also had tons of tips to share on web sites, suppliers, tool-making, and what-not.  I highly recommend anyone take one of his classes have a nice thick notepad on hand.  It kind of made me wish I still remembered shorthand from that class I took in high school so many years ago!

Honorary mention should also go out to Anthony Rocco of Rio Grande who assisted in the class these past two days.  He was kept on his toes helping everyone out – from fetching pliers and materials that Charles spontaneously requested (although I think he was swiping the pliers from the Swanstrom class next door mostly) to holding down a traveling lathe that wanted to vibrate right off the counter while we sanded and polished.  Somehow, when we were working on testing the techniques we’d learned, he managed to be everywhere at once and always seemed to be available if we needed something.  On Sunday he even hunted me down a band-aid after I managed to whack my left index finger with a hammer.  It wasn’t too bad, but I’d torn the nail the day before moving my suitcase about and hadn’t had a chance to file it smooth (my nail file was in the suitcase that had flown in on a later plane), so it drew a little blood at the sharp edge of the nail.  Nothing serious, but I’m hoping I’ve had enough minor mishaps for this trip by now-  especially since tomorrow is about soldering and thus – torches.  I want to avoid mishaps with fire, please!

The last bit of note is that I picked up the resin demo piece I put together at the end of the day yesterday.  It was a bit of a rush job, so there ended up being a couple of bubbles that we hadn’t had time to wait and smooth out before things were shutting down for the night, so it’s not perfect, but I think my daughter will like it…

Resin piece with shells and more

It’s hard to tell in the resin, but that’s a shell in the bottom left corner, along with two more in the top and a couple of inexpensive gems on the right to add a little sparkle.  This was thrown together with the stuff they had on hand, but some of the techniques we learned in fold forming will actually yield some potential sources of framing for stuff like this if I want it to.  I have so many ideas rattling around in my head right now.  I can’t wait to get home and play, but I wouldn’t miss one minute of these classes for the world!

Tomorrow – soldering!

Please note that previous entries from my classes at Rio Grande from this year and last will be copied to this blog at some point, but until then they can be found on my personal blog here:




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