Tim McCreight, demonstrating how to personalize a forging hammer.
Tim forging a rod of copper.
My hammer in a vise, in the process of being cut down to size.
Learning to forge ingots.
Me, and one of my forged bits.
It might not look like much, but this small pile of metal represents a lot of work.
Tim, at the Master Class dinner at the Milwaukee Public Market.
Gail and I, at the Milwaukee Public Market.
We learned to make the hammer do what we want in a more controlled fashion, which is great. We learned the correct way to create a plane change on a wire. We learned the correct way to planish a dome to remove the hammer marks. We cast an ingot and learned to use chisels to cut pieces of it for forging. How amazing to be able to make a piece from start to finish without having to rely on a manufacturer for the sheet or wire that we might need. I probably wont abandon suppliers in favor of making my own materials, but it's great to know that I can and it's wonderful to have that connection with our materials. It's kind of like being a city kid and not really understanding where milk comes from. The penultimate part of the three day workshop, for me anyway, was when Tim explained that we were going to forge a spoon from a small ingot of brass. I must admit that I was less than thrilled about this. I'm usually game for just about anything in a class, but I was a bit reluctant to do this exercise. I just didn't see the point. I mean, what's flatware have to do with jewelry? I didn't express my reluctance, I mean he's Tim McCreight! So, I went ahead, followed Tim's instructions and 6 hours later I was the very proud creator and owner of an itty, bitty brass spoon! How wrong I was to be reluctant. What I didn't see before was that every action, every stroke of the hammer needed in the making of the spoon was a lesson in forging 101. All of the forging techniques we used in making the spoon translate into jewelry forging. Having us focus for so many hours on the spoon was, at least for me a way to ingrain all of these techniques into one project which I will not forget for a long time. Amazing. The class was jam packed filled with great information. Tim even took the time to answer some questions I had regarding forging, hardening, and tempering steel for making my own jewelry tools. He is a very generous teacher. The class was so fun. Many new friends were made and the facilities and folks at the Milwaukee Area Technical College were first rate. I will be absorbing the experience for a very long time. If you are ever lucky enough to take a class with Tim, do yourself a favor and jump on the chance.