“Fold Forming lets me see directly into nature”
Master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain invented fold-forming, a large system of working sheet metals that is completely new to the world. It uses simple hand tools to produce complex three dimensional and relief forms and structures rapidly. There are hundreds of shapes possible, and the results are widely used for sculpture, installation, decorative blacksmithing and jewellery making. Numerous colleges and schools worldwide now offer courses using these techniques. The British Museum research lab (Metals Head, Paul Craddock) and the Rolex Awards for Enterprise have confirmed this is a new, original approach to working metals (1990).
A distinguished Fellow of the Society of North American Goldsmiths, a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain he has lectured and taught in England, Germany, the United States, Canada and Australia. He is a consultant on the jewelry field, and has written expert witness reports regarding health and safety in US legal cases. A short video interview showing foldforming is here. A 2010 online interview with Jay Whaley is here an hour long interview.
I believe in Beauty, and that ‘beauty’ is related to nature (form, surface texture, colour) for most humans. I play with the tension between nature and structure. Allowing the nature of the materials to do the work, deliberately building in some randomness, letting nature show in the work lends it a ‘beauty’ that I cannot easily reach by forcing form onto the material. The marks of process are compositional elements. The effects of chaos (nature) on systems is something I work with.
Fold-forming lets me see directly into nature, into the relationships between process and material. The forms that emerge from the material are truly magical.
Classes Taught by Charles Lewton-Brain
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