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Foldforming Hardcover – April 15, 2008
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About the Author
Charles Lewton-Brain received his initial training in Germany and later earned a Master of Fine Arts from SUNY New Paltz. In the 1980s he invented a way of working with metal that exploits its inherent behaviors. Through hundreds of workshops and in his position at the Alberta College of Art + Design, Charles has developed the science and art of foldforming to its current high standard.
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Shame on you, Amazon! How many of us paid the extra and bought the Kindle Fire because it supposedly makes it possible to read magazines and art-type books in color! If the Kindle version of this type of book isn't in color, that needs to be clearly stated!
Some of the techniques could use a bit more coverage and it would be nice to have a few more specific instructions (like the exact-gauge to start with for a given technique, do exactly this, exactly this way, etc), but foldforming isn't actually an exact science. It is a very fluid and forgiving technique (or should I say techniques, since foldforming is really a collection of different processes). You will truly learn the most by trying out different techniques. Just remember ... annealing is your friend!!
Make sure to have a decent supply of copper sheets in several gauges - don't shortchange yourself by not having enough material to experiment with different techniques. Make sure to get some hearing protection - pick up a cheap pair of headphones to protect yourself. You can order them from Amazon or find them locally in a variety of stores. I found a pair that works great in the hunting section of a local big-box store for 10 bucks - and they're hot pink, so it's easy to find mine if I leave them on the work table. Also, the welding department at Harbor Freight can be your friend - I got an inexpensive pair of welding pliers (and lined them with scrap leather) that is VERY similar the expensive ones they sell specifically for jewelry making. I also got a welding chipping hammer for $3 and lightly rounded the edges - it works great as a substitute for a cross-peen hammer for fold-forming (which would have cost $50 plus shipping even for the cheapest one made for jewelry). Check Amazon for similar tools. Once again, you MUST anneal along the way, but if you want to work on items at home without a studio, you can use a small butane torch as long as you have some type of soldering stand or some type of soldering board or a firebrick (a regular brick won't do).
I purchased this when taking a Foldforming class at a local art center. Although it wasn't necessary to purchase the book for the class, I found that it was well-worth the cost and I was glad to have my own copy. Ultimately, everyone in the class ended up purchasing their own copy - anyone who didn't have an Amazon Prime membership had one of us who did have one make the purchase for them to get it more quickly. If you plan to take a foldforming class, make the most of it by getting this book for yourself. It's a fun technique, not to mention a great workout!! Nobody in our class was disappointed (and the class wasn't cheap), and everyone managed to build up their forearms due to lots of hammering. We all got lots and lots of practice annealing.
Jewerly/metalsmithing classes and studio time are expensive, so if you are taking a class, make the most of it by getting your own copy of this book. Whatever minor shortcomings some may feel that this book might have, if you want a book on this technique (and really, there isn't a big choice), this book is the one you should get. Don't forget to anneal frequently.
***I didn't get the Kindle version because people had commented that it wasn't in color, leading to many people being disappointed in it, so I would recommend the hardcopy. However, the Kindle version seems to have dropped in price considerably since I purchased the book, so it may be worth considering getting the e-book if you find the hardcover to be too pricey. If they ever add this book to the matchbook program, I will definitely purchase the Kindle version as well.
BTW, did I mention that you will need to anneal your metal???
This is my honest opinion and I have NOT been compensated in any way for this review.
I have included a photo of a copper lily and copper roses that I made using the Foldforming techniques in this book.
It was the best decision I have ever made as the book is extremely readable and the projects are both easy to do with minimum tools and with cheaper metals.
Instant gratification! I know I will refer back to this book in my metal smithing for years to come.