Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Newest Metalsmithing Method... Fold Forming

Most of the forms of metalsmithing in the world are quite ancient. From casting, to stonesetting, to fabricating, metalsmiths have produced crowns and jewelry for millenia.

Along comes fold forming. Invented in the late 20th century, the metalsmith heats and folds the sheet metal and hammers it flat. Multiple heatings and hammerings yield a stretched, expanded and textured surface. And then the piece is opened from its folded position, to reveal new contours.

Once unfolded, the piece is subjected to grinding, polishing and drilling. And then often placed in a tumbler with steel shot and some solution to work-harden the piece and smooth its edges. This also brings a bright, shiny finish.

The fold-formed Leaf Earrings are made from sterling silver sheet metal. They bear fine hammer marks from a particular hammer's edge. The center veins of the leaves reveal the fold. I dish the leaves once they are open with a hammer and stake. Their contours are usually unpredictable. The airy sterling earwires were handcrafted by me, too. They're smooth and springy, for comfortable wearability.

Find these and others in my Etsy shop!


  1. Your form folding pieces are stunning. I love them! I'm in awe with your creations.

  2. Thank you! They are challenging and fun to make.