Metal Forming Workshop with Andrea Kennington

In August of 2018 I took a workshop with Andrea Kennington of NC Black to learn about her forming techniques for botanical and insect forms. (The Plantae and Arthropods workshop, as listed here).

I have no idea what Andrea was explaining to us here in this photo but am very glad that she was as serious about eye protection as I am. And I love that her safety goggles are bifocals, too.

This is a great workshop and if you get the opportunity to take this one, or any other, from Andrea, you will not be disappointed. One of the things I noticed is that she really knows how to teach to varies learning styles. She teaches techniques and processes, not step-by-step tutorials, which is what artists need so that they can then take these techniques and incorporate them into their own work. However, she still provides plenty of patterns and she breaks down the techniques into manageable chunks so that people who prefer step-by-step instructions will not feel overwhelmed. 

I managed to take good notes during the workshop, which I am really glad about, because I am looking back on now them to refresh my memory since I took the workshop over a year ago.

Forming tools
A few of the forming tools I got to play with in the workshop. Most of these were made by Andrea for her own use. They include metal forms to help shape the tiny spiculum shapes we formed, a sinusoidal stake, and some forming blocks made from purple heart (a very strong exotic hardwood that works great for forming soft metals over).

The experience left me realizing that a rolling mill was definitely a tool I needed in my studio (though I have yet to get one). That and many of the other tools she used during the class. Especially the hammers. Though, for real, I love all hammers. I also have yet to do anything with the various forms I made.

workshop pieces
A somewhat blurry photo of some of the things I completed in the 3-day workshop, including some bug-bodies, leaves, and wings. They are currently in a little ceramic container on top of the cabinet in my dining room at home.

My self-imposed studio hiatus is especially hard to bear sometimes; and one of the things I miss most is spending time around other metal artists. I am most always an awkward, introverted person and generally feel out of place, but when I get to spend time in a group with other people who are also awkward artists, and we are all making things, I do feel like I belong.