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Monday, April 4, 2011

Faaaabulous NC Black Weekend!

I mentioned a while back that I have been working for NC Black Co., a fabulous small tool company owned and operated by my dear friends Andrea and Chuck Kennington, Les Bryant, and Andreas Schmoll.  My time with NC Black has been few and far between since our move to Richmond, so this weekend Mark and I went down and had a mini workshop at their home base in Mount Airy, NC.   Chuck and I are debuting the brand new Micro-Raising workshop at the Sawtooth Center in Winston-Salem, NC in May, and we needed to meet up and figure out lesson plans, and really just how to teach this stuff.  So Mark came along as our "beginner level" student, and was very helpful with asking questions and just letting us know what and how much we need to explain.  Mark has some experience with metasmithing - he actually took the NC Black Hand and Hammer Engraving workshop back in the fall, but this was his first experience with raising. 

I should probably take a minute and explain what raising is...  by definition, Raising is "a method of creating a seamless form by contraction; the height of the form increases while the diameter decreases. A flat disc of metal is hammered against a metal stake (an unyielding surface), and the side of the disc hammered becomes the outside of the workpiece." (Silversmithing, Finegold and Seitz, 1983). 

Much of my portfolio work involves this process.  Bascially, you take a flat disc of copper (or silver or other malleable metal), you start by sinking the metal into a shallow bowl form (I do this in a wooden stump with depressions carved into it for this purpose.)  Then, you hammer the piece from the outside over the end of a metal stake, from the bottom up, course after course, until you have hammered this flat disc into a vessel form.  It take A LOT of hammering, but it's really a lot of fun and quite satisfying to see how far you can form a piece of metal.  This can be done on a larger scale, like a lot of my older work, but the workshops we're teaching are for Micro-Raising.  So this weekend we started with 3" discs.

Actually, I think Chuck was working on a 2" disc.

Here's Mark texturing his piece toward the end of the day.

See, they're pretty teeny, but very cool!  Here's Mark's finished piece.  Not bad for a beginner, eh?  I was impressed!

If you want to see more micro-raising from our last workshop, check out my album.  I started several different shapes just to get a feel for the process on a micro scale and to potentially have some ideas to share with my future students.

So we had a great day with the NC Black team before heading on down a little further south to visit my parents and see some great live music!  I gotta go ahead and give them a shout-out, because I know a lot of people reading here are music fans!  The band is called Sanctum Sully, untraditional bluegrassy music with a jammin' rockin' good time sound!  They played at High Rock Outfitters, a delightful outfitter/kayak/outdoorsy adventure shop that is also a coffee shop and have just now started selling beer and wine in the evenings for shows, etc.  It's in downtown, Lexington, NC, and is definitely worth checking out if you're ever in the area.  It's a small venue for some great bands on the weekends, and Sanctum Sully was no exeption.  Good times!

Incidentally, I also have some jewelry for sale at HRO.  I mean, fishing fly earrings?  Yes, please!

Ok, that was a shameless plug, but they're fun. 

So I'm off to take some photos of the new pendants from last week, so as always, thanks for reading!

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