Charles Lewton-Brain invented fold-forming, a completely new way of forming
sheet metal quickly into wonderful 3-D shapes and textures, most from
single sheets of metal without any soldering. Fold-forming uses sheet
material, folds it, works it and then unfolds it. Many schools and workshops
teach and use fold-forming, and thousands of people use parts of the system
in their work. Brain Press is in the last 10% of the multi-year CDROM
compilation of all the fold-forms, finally due out in Summer 2010.
Alan Revere's comments on Lewton-Brain are here.
A description of hammers
and other tools for fold-forming is here.
list at the Ganoksin Project. Some step by step articles
on making fold-forms are here. (Examples
from the CDROM). Works by Lewton-Brain available to purchase are
Cross fold used to create multiple line folds
Ruffled Boat form forged on the open side.
Fold forming is a new system of metal
forming developed between 1980 and the present which is the concrete
result of a conceptual approach to metalsmithing that emphasizes
forming using the metals characteristics.
Click on the pictures
to see full size images
It is about following what the metal likes to do.
Rather than forcing form upon the material forms are to some extent
derived from the natural tendencies of the plasticity, ductility
and elasticity of the metal.
basic T-fold diagram
Sheared and formed star folds.
Forged wedge T-fold (Good fold)
Woven fold, (Adams fold)
|The British Museum Research Lab and the Rolex Awards
for Enterprise, among others have certified that Fold-forming is new,
and has not been done before in the history of metal working.
A pile of pleated folds, each made from a single sheet.
|Because one does not fight the metal or force form upon
it forming is extremely efficient and very rapid (many radical changes
in cross section and surface can be made in 3-5 minutes).
Complex high relief forms are produced from single
sheets of metal often with a single annealing.
Tools are simple; fingers,
hands, hammers, mallets, anvils and rolling mills.
Fold forming allows rapid understanding of metal flow to take place
and teaches a kind of material comprehension that often takes years
to arrive at under traditional metals educational systems.
Romero fold (a type of T-fold).
Forged 'boat' folds (T-folds)
These shapes resemble chased, constructed and soldered
forms and can often not be arrived at in any other way in a comparable
working time. The techniques may be used with most metals including
aluminum, niobium and steel. As there is no soldering for high relief
forms the surfaces are applicable for jewellery, holloware, enamelling,
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Bowl form using T-folds and cross-folds to gather the metal.
Bowl from two fold-formed discs soldered together.
Scored and bent folds, two stages. One is scored and bent using
separating discs and the other has been soldered after scoring and
then flattened out.
As a result of this approach there is a certain beauty lent to forms
produced this way as the working processes are very close to the
nature of the material. There is a reflection of natural laws in
the results; modeling of nature is often apparent in fold forms.
Fold-formed Wall pieces 2009
Fold-formed Wall pieces 2008
A chased wedge T-fold which has then been die formed, flattening
textures while shaping and doming it.
Line Folds, T-Folds,, Cross Folds, Rolled Folds, Hydraulic Press,
Scoring and Bending
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise 1990 Committee chose a project on
the further development of fold forming for inclusion in "The
Rolex Awards for Enterprise" book on international innovative
developments in science and invention.
And Woven Folds, Form and Shear, Pleated
Folds, Folds derived from paper models
Pin, 18k gold, pearls, garnet, line folds.
Pin, Swoop Series, moonstone, 24k, 18k doublee, sterling, scored
These pieces are by
This is copper sculpture forged from a single sheet, 2 feet high
Sterling silver rueger fold
"Tennessee fold Form", forged from a single sheet, 2.5
"Dancing pin", moonstones, zircon, 18k gold doublee. Scored
Charles Lewton-Brain writes:
"Snake", copper, gold plate, scored and bent.
Pin, ammolite, 24k gold, moonstones, zircon, 18k doublee,
|"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 poignancy of humans laying structure upon the
universe, of our need to create and seek pattern intrigues me, and
is part of the work."
Works for Sale
"The roles and relationships of human and nature, human and
perceived reality are of interest to me."
"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."
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a Basic T-Fold
to make a Chased Wedge T-Fold
a T-Fold with a Table Insert
a Boat Fold T-Fold
to make a Rolled Fold Heistad Cup
Rueger Fold Tutorial
basic T-fold diagram
to unfold a T-fold diagram
Forged Pleated Object, copper, silicone carbide
Fold forms while they can be used as finished products are at their best
as a starting point or component of more complex pieces. An example of
this might be slicing up a fold form, manipulating the elements and re-soldering,
or using it as an element in a constructed structure. By chasing on air
in a T-folding technique hours may be cut from a chasing procedure. Fold
forming also offers a major new series of procedures for production work.
A number of production shops now use fold forming as part of their working
Fold forms themselves have developed a great deal since 1985. There are
now a number of discrete avenues of research available involving folding,
working and unfolding. Each avenue provides great numbers of individual
'marks' or process elements that are distinct enough to be worthy of naming.
These are arrived at by following specific procedures, recipes that produce
given results. By making a number of fold forms and experimenting an understanding
of process in metal forming is achieved more rapidly than in conventional
Charles Lewton-Brain's Articles
at the Ganoksin Project
for Lewton-Brain's Artwork and Goldsmithing / Wall pieces from 2009 / Wall pieces from 2008/ CraftCast Interview 09 / Hawk
Interview 07 / Slide Show of Cage Series Work / "River Trip" Project Cage Series Work / PDF of Lewton-Brain's CV 2009
Search the Ganoksin Web Site
for Jewelry information