Just checking in after an intensely amazing workshop on fold forming at the Center for Metal Arts in New York, with world renowned master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain.  I'm not home yet so apologies if my post is brief -- I've stopped off to visit my daughter in Washington, D.C. for a few days -- but wanted to share some pics.

These are some of the practice pieces that I made during class.   They all started out from flat sheet metal and were shaped through a series of folds and hammering.  They are just baby steps but I'll keep posting my progress on this blog and incorporating the technique into my work.  I hope you'll check in on me each Wednesday to see how it's coming.
If you've stopped by because you're interested in fold forming too, please visit www.facebook.com/foldforming.  At Charles' request, I created that page as a community gathering spot (the "official" facebook page) surrounding the art of fold forming.  Post your photos there, share your tips, connect with others who are interested in fold forming.  I will serve as administrator on that site, and Charles Lewton-Brain himself plans to pop in with a post on occasion. 

Charles Lewton-Brain with Sue Lacy; New York, July 2011
In the next couple weeks I will look at facebook features and come up with some tips for those who'd like to participate.  If you have some expertise in how best to use the facebook page and / or other tools for these purposes, please send advice to me at suelacy@suelacydesigns.com.

Meanwhile, do come by and like the page to get started!

Off to a fun day in D.C., then driving back to Ohio in the morning.   Stop by to see me next Wednesday!
Have you heard of fiverr.com?  It's a site where people post anything they are willing to offer for $5.  It's a fun site to browse, with a lot of junk (like you'd expect) but also some unexpected cool stuff.   I took a chance and spent $5 to remove the backgrounds of five photos.  I needed to submit them with a black background for consideration in a juried show. 

The photos came back in less than 24 hours, and then it was a simple matter of pouring black into the background.   I used Gimp (freeware) and it just took a few seconds.  I think they turned out great!
This is before:
This is after:
Davide from Italy removed the backgrounds.  He goes by username "dawidh" on fiverr.com.  The site does take PayPal so no worries about sharing credit card numbers.  Check it out!

Just a quick post to show you what I've been up to with fold forming... big and little pendants.  This first one is substantial; about 2.5" at the widest point.  The second photo is a side view that shows depth and texture a little better.
The second is a charm pendant with a copper fold formed piece as its focal point.  The copper charm is about 1.5" long; the stones are red agate and the rest is sterling silver.  I really like how this ripple effect transforms the metal.  The metal I used was so lightweight that without the ripples it would be too flimsy to wear, but rippling results in a very strong, inflexible charm.  It's a fun texture that will have you touching and playing with your necklace as you wear it :)
Next week at this time I'll be on my way to New York for a 4-day workshop with master goldsmith and inventor of fold forming, Charles Lewton-Brain.  I am so excited.  I'll try to post before I leave but no promises.  When I get back, though, I'll post my workshop practice.

I also had an unscheduled mid-week blog post showing a custom wedding band I just completed, along with a jeweler's tip that could save you some money and heartache someday.  If you haven't seen it, take a look.

See you again soon!

I have a jewelry tip for you today that may save you money and heartache.  I'll share my latest project at the same time because I really like how it turned out :-) and it's the reason I have a tip to share.

The project challenge -- create a wedding band to compliment this unique and gorgeous white gold engagement ring:
This is the wedding band I made for the ring; a simple, matching curve of white gold:
And here is the set together:
And now for the tip.

There is a possibility the wedding band will tend to spin a bit on the finger, putting the curved part of the ring in the wrong position as it's worn.  Because of this, I've suggested the rings be soldered together after the ceremony -- a common thing to do with wedding ring sets.  This is not something I can do myself without damaging the stones, and I'll explain the reason. 

So to get an estimate on the work to share with the bride, I visited two very well-respected, long established local jewelers who each have huge, beautiful stores.  Both have high end jewelry and do their own bench work on site.  Their responses surprised me -- hence, the tip. 

The first store preferred not to do the work, BUT offered to try without guaranteeing the result, saying the heat might damage the stones.  Yikes.  When I asked about their process, they told me they use a flame torch similar to what I can affordably use at home.  Why is that significant?  Because in order to solder this way, both rings must be completely heated to temperatures well over 1000 degrees F.   Some stones can survive that heat, but others definitely won't.

The next jeweler assured me the task would be no problem.  Why?  Because they use a VERY expensive precision welder.  Jackpot!  The rings are only super-heated at the bottom, where they are joined.  No danger to the stones.

So when you need work done, ask your jeweler questions!    Even the best skill isn't good enough without the right tools.

I'll close with the last piece of my wedding band project.  This a keepsake pendant made from the gold left over from the wedding band, with Swarovski crystals to match the ring.

I'm still planning to post on Wednesday, so please stop by again!
It's been the best week.  We've been visiting friends that we don't see often enough.  First to Indiana for a few days.  We ended up taking the kids to a beautiful lake with a nice, sandy beach.  Days of moms sunning and kids digging in the sand.  Gorgeous, hot sunny days with just enough breeze, blue skies, white clouds.  Perfect.  Then to Ohio's Indian Lake on the 4th of July for tubing, jet skis, cookout, and fireworks on the water.  Good friends, good times!

I managed to fit in some work too, or should I say "work" ?  It's really too much fun for such a serious word.  I got back to fold forming this week and made a copper cuff and some earrings.  Hope you like them.
I don't have much time before my fold forming class at the Center for Metal Arts in New York-- just two weeks.  Practice, practice, practice in the meantime.   Enjoy your week and stop by again next Wednesday!