This is part two in a series on the synclastic and anticlastic Forming class I attended in Birmingham. To read part one click here.
The first two days were spent familiarizing ourselves with synclastic and anticlastic forming. At this stage we were all well settled into the workshop and were making use of our week in the jewellery quarter. It was brilliant to be in the middle of all the jewellery tool shops. Most of my lunchtimes were spent going from shop to shop buying tools. Which I happily dragged home in my bulging suitcase.
So on day three once we got the hang of synclast and anticlast forming we moved on to spiculums. A spiculum is made from a single piece of sheet metal which is formed into a tapering tube. This process involves hammering the metal until it rolls into itself forming a long hollow tube.
Once they had been hammered into a straight tube and soldered closed we were able to curve them. I found curving them the most stressful part of the whole exercise. You have to take this hollow tube that you’ve toiled over and gingerly bend it with your hands. It has too be well softened by annealing before you start. Once you feel you have curved it as much as possible before it buckles you anneal again. You continue like this until you get the curve you require. I decided to quit while I was ahead and opted for a gentle curve!
We also made open seam spiculums, which look very similar to the closed spiculums but are not soldered. These are made using techniques similar to anticlastic ribbons. We also got a chance to make a double helix, the same process used in Bronze Age Torcs.
We packed so much into the five days, I hadn’t expected to learn as much and be able to explore each technique. Cynthia was a great teacher, everything was brilliantly demonstrated and she patiently answered all our questions. She also brought along lots of her own tools for us to use. One hammer in particular I fell in love with (I know, I hear how sad that sounds!) so I’ve added that to my wishlist of tools. Having five days to refine my hammering skills was such a luxury and will definitely influence my future work.