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Thursday, June 28, 2012

From a scrap of unwanted metal...

This seemingly useless piece of brass was given to me with a suggestion that I try to make something with it. There were about 20 just like it in the package. Probably a cut off or left over from a stamping process.

First up I annealed the metal to allow me to unfold it. The secret to the process is simple..heat the metal to a dull red or a little beyond..and then allow it to cool to black before plunging it into water.

After cooling it is ready to unfold and if properly annealed will work like soft wire.

. Once unfolded it looked like this. The tool I chose is a crosspein hammer the rounded wedge tip makes a stretching in the metal when striking the brass on an iron or steel surface.

The result is this and since I had many more I repeated the process 3 times. Two pieces were very similar and I saw a pair of wings...it could have been leaves, but I was thinking of wings...so I had a pair and riveted them together.  

This is the result a somewhat birdlike form. Very organic to my eye. I had just made a Putti figure in ceramics and this led me to the next conclusion

 This face was the right size and I love the dreamy expression. With a little careful grinding on the back of the ceramic piece and a generous glob of E-6000 the two become one.
Two holes were punched to accomodate a neck chain and it is finished. Recycling what might not be the first choice for a saleble piece has led to an arty neck focal piece. Next time I will work on making a hand made necklace to support the angelic face.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I heard a crash...

I was working on my computer this morning and I heard the oddest noise..the sound of a nail being pulled out of wood then CRASH!!! My first thought was to count the cats..usually a crash is preceded by Neville climbing..but they were all napping. When I went down to the basement to find the cause I saw this in my overloaded little jewelry room. Sometimes a little mess grows until it needs attention..but dramatic change is not my favorite way to get the job accomplished. 

After 3 hours of decon, and part and tool sorting the place was bare again in this corner. Knowing the other bench did not work the best I decided to compromise by using available items and create a small space that would work for a while.

This is the result. The cabinets can be accessed now directly and they hold the many things that clogged the work space. I also tossed many pounds of stuff that accumulates. I have to find some of the tools in the boxes I filled but at least I can create again. Tomorrow I will do what I had planned for this afternoon and part of that will show you what I made with some brass scraps and a broken doll head.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wire scoring..how to direct the fold in metal.

I started with a piece of 26 gauge Nu-gold, a yellow bronze alloy. It was cut to the length I had envisioned , annealed, then textured in a Big Shot with a Sizzix folder. This was again annealed. The concept of wire scoring is to use the design bent into a wire to direct the folds and therefore the shape of the finished piece. My vision for this was a leafy looking pendant with a sinuous curve on the high point.

Using stainless steel wire about 18 gauge hand bend to a pleasing form.

This step requires a piece of strong tape..masking or duct tape is fine, and a firm piece of metal..I use a bar of aluminum..an anvil will work or even a bench block.Lay the metal down first, position the wire along the metal and cover with one layer of tape,burnishing the tape to tightly hold it all together. Them take a large hammer and strike along the length of wire very strongly. The wire will push the metal and harden it along the wires length. Then remove the tape and wire, and again anneal the metal. Heat it to an incandescent red allow to cool slightly the quench in cold water.

 I choose to trim the piece to a point at this stage and began bending along the curve with my hands. After every few bends I annealed the metal and it stays workable.
 This is the result. The form is beginning to rise along the fold by forcing the metal down in the valleys.
At this point it was annealed again and I chose to hammer the edges to add texture.

The form is nearly complete. Only drilling and edge finishing was done after this. I sanded the top of the curve to highlight the color and filed the edges all around to remove any sharp edges. Then the center was polished and the whole was waxed with Renaissance Wax.

Adding a jump ring and chain completed the pendant. For more details on this and other forms of Foldforming check out the book Foldforming by Charles Lewton-Brain.
This piece and other foldforms are available through my etsy shop