Fold forming is a metalworking technique in which metal is folded, alternately annealed and forged repeatedly, and unfolded. Following this process, each piece of metal assumes a completely different and unique three-dimensional form.
Forging is the process of shaping metal via hammering, rolling, or pressing.
Annealing is a heating process that softens metal to allow for reshaping through various techniques. No solder is used with the metal while it is being fold formed.
Fold forming begins with a sheet of metal—I typically use 24-gauge copper or silver. At this point, the metal needs to be dead soft, as it hardens quickly during the fold-forming process. Each hammer strike “work hardens” the metal, which makes it increasingly more difficult to work with.
Some tools used in this process include a steel bench block, on which to hammer, and a fine-edge rivet hammer, with which to form a nice edge once it's unfolded.
Fold forming lends itself well to combination with other techniques.
Patina is often used to enhance the texture of fold-formed pieces, as it gives it greater depth.
Reticulated sterling can be set atop fold-formed copper to add additional drama and flair.
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If you have any further questions about this technique, or if you'd like to work together to create a custom piece of fine art jewelry featuring fold-formed metal, reach out to me at email@example.com!