Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Know When to Fold 'em"

I love moving metal…hammering and manipulating it into dimensional forms…imparting textures using stamps, punches, rolling mills and finishing techniques.

One of the most intriguing and satisfying metal techniques I have experimented with is fold-forming. Fold-forming is like origami using sheet metal instead of paper. This is a fairly modern technique invented by Charles Lewton-Brain around 1980 as a completely new way of forming sheet metal quickly into wonderful dimensional shapes and textures, from a single sheet of metal without any soldering. The primary tools employed in this technique are fingers for folding, hammers, mallets, anvils & rolling mills for forging & forming and a torch for annealing the metal.

The dynamic and fascinating shapes that one is able to achieve using the fold-forming method are unique to this technique. The metal can be worked into high-relief forms that imitate the look of chased and soldered forms.

Charles Lewton-Brain has committed himself to sharing his knowledge to educate and build a community of metalsmiths. He is the founder of Ganoskin and the Orchid Forum. I am really glad that he has decided to give away his vast knowledge and welcome us to learn more about metalsmithing. To quote Lewton-Brain, “The secrecy shrouding so many techniques is evidence of small minds trying to protect small properties.

Click image for more about fold-forming and Charles Lewton-Brain

Some fold-forming technique from SATeam members.

The SATeam blog features artisan handmade creations by the etsy starving artists jewelry team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current etsy shop owner members can be found at


nicole said...

These pieces are beautiful - and I'd never heard of fold-forming before, it's fascinating! Thank you for sharing!

galadryl said...

Wow, I like that, one day I am going to try this. Thank you.

N Valentine Studio said...

LOVE that ring!

Cat said...

Very interesting information, I bookmarked that one!

BeadSire said...

Absolutely stunning work by Sateam and what a fabulous blog piece! Have bookmarked and going to read further!

DragonTrollQueen said...

Wow! I didn't know this artform was that "new" and I love the pics!!!
Now on my list of techniques to research and try.

Thanks for sharing this and yes, I bookmarked it for later!!!!

Leilani said...

I'm fascinated by fold forming! Would love to try it. Thanks for the inspirational post!

Stacie @ said...

Fold-forming is something I'm interested in, however my results to date aren't as striking! Great pieces...I should hop on the forums & pick their brains- great work! Lovin' this blog post!