- Paperback: 150 pages
- Publisher: The Kent State University Press (October 1, 1978)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0873382129
- ISBN-13: 978-0873382120
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Form Emphasis for Metalsmiths Paperback – October 1, 1978
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About the Author
One of the most innovative and influential silversmiths of the latter 20th century, the late Heikki Seppä helped introduce the technique of reticulation to the United States while also developing and popularizing new methods for shaping sheet metal into three-dimensional shell structures. His own works are notable for their use of bold sculptural forms ― Seppä insisted that silver could be an expressive, rather than merely utilitarian, medium ― and for combining silver and gold with other metals to create striking contrasts and color blends. Born in Säkkijärvi, Finland, in 1927, Seppä studied at the Goldsmith School of Helsinki and the Central School of Industrial Art in Helsinki. He continued his professional training in 1948-49 with George Jensen Silversmiths in Copenhagen, Denmark, and two years later emigrated to British Columbia, Canada, where he taught jewelry and metalsmithing at the Civic Center in Prince Rupert. Seppä died in 2010.
Top customer reviews
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This book looks in detail at the different shapes that metal can be forged into, without, most of the time, being worried with what the shape will be used for. Seppa tries to separate form and terminology from function, believing that abstracting these shapes will allow the artist to use them more freely and in more unexpected ways. This book will take you deeper into working metal than almost any other book.
To me, the major drawback is the overly complicated language Seppa proposes for describing shapes, which sound, for the most part, clunky and even pretentious.
This book starts where others leave off. As a result, it skips the basics that a reader is expcted to know already. Those include soldering, annealing, raising or sinking of simple forms, and matching of complex shapes to be soldered to each other. Instead, Seppä goes into detail about forging of complex forms, including anticlastics, multi-part shells, and even a forged cube! Within each section, Seppä guides the prepared reader through steps, with special focus on the unusual techniques needed. The well-prepared reader will easily follow along as Seppä shows which part of the workpiece requires attention, and the kinds of blows needed to create the desired form.
The other major thrust of this book addresses the language in which metalsmiths describe their forms. Seppä asserts that terms like "bowl," "platter," or "box" create un-needed confusion between form and function. That, he believes, restricts the creator's imagination. If, instead, the smith thinks of a rounded concavity rather than a bowl, it suggests many more ways to incorporate that same shape into different design contexts. So, in addition to using unfamiliar shape-words (like 'spathe' and 'xiphoid') in the how-to section, Seppä adds 30+ pages of glossary. That creates a verbal short-hand, summarizing a complex thought in one word. Then, when those complexities have been reduced to single words, it becomes that much easier to combine them into larger structures. The fact is, I have not seen this vocabulary put to use, but the idea remains intriguing.
Once the reader accepts the relatively advanced level of this book's discussion, I have only a few qualms about it. One appears when Seppä says, "The statement that 'anything that works is right' is no more than simple-minded sanction of inefficiency." True, well-known techniques make work faster and easier, and avoid deleterious side effects that might not be immediately obvious in poor technique. Still, I would not want hidebound obedience to rules to prohibit thoughtful experimentation, or combinations of techniques from different bodies of knowledge. A reader at this book's level will understand that, though, and have the background to incorporate Seppä's new advice with the reader's own knowledge and experience. This shouldn't be anyone's first or even second book on forged forms, but should be in the library of every advanced student of metalwork.
The text is rather heavy and the diagrams supporting it are rudimentary and often have no sub-titles of explanation.
I like the book but as a ready reference, but it would not be the one I pick up first- a DVD on metal-shaping would probably be more useful.
My teacher warned me that this is a very advanced book. I've tried what looks like some of the easiest forms to make and got beautiful results. Thing is, they did not resemble the form in the book at all! The directions assume prior knowledge and can be cryptic to a novice.
If you are new, books like Creative Metal Forming (de Longhi, Eid) and Foldforming (Lewton-Brain) are what you should be using. They will keep you busy for a few years. Still, read this book, play with the forms, but don't expect to master it unless you've been fold forming raising for a while. The author names every.single.one of his forms. It's a bit different than most, but the names are interesting. New to foldforming or not, I'd get it and plan to grow into it.