Carving Techniques 2017 with Tom Herman

Monday - Friday, June 12-16, 10-6pm


Carve heavy metals and learn to sculpt metal into ornamental patterns into existing work. Students will focus on developing chasing, engraving, and piercing skills as well as make chasing tools, modify hammers, and mount and sharpen gravers. 

Leaves or flora and fauna from nature are great studies for this course. (Working from a 3-D object is advised versus working from memory or a 2-D image.) Lay out patterns on metal with tracing punches (students will make in class) and add contour and detail to the piece by drilling, piercing and then shaping it with gravers and texturing punches. Students should come with clear ideas on what they would like to achieve and  how these techniques will enhance their own work.

Tom recommends that students come prepared with a design, which is then transferred to metal sheet with a tracing punch. He uses a method to give the developing piece support without using pitch, which allows you to chase it and really move the metal.

Students will learn to modify hammers, make chasing tools, to sharpen and mount gravers, and use chisels while providing the skills needed to get started creating any ornamental piece. Students can work towards a finished piece of jewelry in almost any metal material including gold (not provided), but should focus on practicing the techniques so that they can continue to build upon their knowledge in their home studios.


Each student will learn to make their own punches for class and understand the difference between a good punch and a bad punch.  You will then do a sample piece of leaf overlay in copper or nickel.  You will then be able to create a work of your own using this process.  Students that are new to this technique, should stick to flat objects, i.e. necklaces or earrings.  If you wish to work on a ring please bring in a blank that is your size.
All metal should be thicker in size, at least 1.5mm thick-16-12g is preferred and can be as large as a 2"x3".  You may work in copper, bronze, stainless steel, nickel, sterling/argentium or gold. Materials are not included in your tuition, so please bring them with you to class.   

Carving the Metal:

This technique differs from chasing and repousse in that there is no pitch.  The chasing is done on flat metal and then pierced and sawed to open up the pattern.  It is then glued to a steel block where it is fully supported and can be chased and carved.  After the work is fully chased it can be taken off the steel block and the frame can be finished.  Some fine repousse can then be done into a woodblock or leather to get further dimension.  
Please check out this facebook page album of Tom’s work in progress to get a clear idea of the process: Carving Techniques with Gold and other Metals

Students should bring to class (any or all of the below):
Blank Bands - Bronze, stainless steel, nickel, or silver/argentium

Castings of your work you want to clean up
2-3mm blank plates
Gems you want to design around
Designs you would like to make

Kit includes:
Tool steel for punches
1 - 1.6mm Flat graver and handle
3 - 1mm Onglet graver and handles
1 - 1.2mm Round graver and handle

No raw materials will be provided for this class. Sheet metal is available for purchase or you may buy your own.  You have the option to make a ring (more complicated) or a flat design that you can enhance through the chasing process.  All metal should be between 1.5-2mm thick (16-12g).

Students must bring their own materials and graver ball,  or rent one from CSJA for $25. These graver balls will be available for purchase after the class (the cost of the rental will be deducted from the total price).

Practice, Practice, Practice: Sawing out Nickels before class
Before the workshop, students are encouraged to practice drawing the kind of ornament they want to carve - the more you understand a pattern the better you can sculpt it. It is also helpful to practice saw piercing by cutting out coins (at least 3).  For example, cut out the background of a nickel only leaving the outer edge of the coin & Jefferson’s head intact.

 photo practice nickel_zpsyzrzes3y.jpg

Tuition: $985 + $75 Kit Fee (Students must bring their own materials and graver ball, or rent one from CSJA)

New Dates To Be Announced. Please email info@creativeside.org for more information.

Reserve your spot today in one of our many inspiring workshops or classes by calling the Creative Side | Jewelry Academy of Austin 512-799-0731 or feel free to email us with any questions at info@creativeside.org.

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