On the 7-9th July, I took part in a workshop with one of my favourite artists, Julie Blyfield, in conjunction with the Jewellers’ and Metalsmiths’ Group of Western Australia (JMGA WA). Julie is internationally renown contemporary jeweller, based in Adelaide, South Australia. The workshop “Paper, Scissors, Metal” was held at Central Tafe in Northbridge and focused on design process and development rather than just finished pieces of work.
On the first day, the group of workshop participants were required to bring in objects from their personal collections and draw them on large sheets of paper. We drew standing up, loosely holding markers and pens to allow the creativity to flow. We drew the objects from different angles, turned the paper upside down and drew over the top of our drawings to see how different shapes and patterns were created with layers. A few of us were a bit hesitant about our drawing skills, but we soon had fun and each had to present our drawings to the group. We discussed how the drawings would be used to create paper models and later samples in metal.
After contemplating our designs over lunch, it was time to create with paper! We used a variety of paper, card, tissue paper, sticky tape, glue and other materials to make 3D models. After a fun but exhausting day, it was time to sleep on our ideas overnight.
On day two, we were in the workshop. We learnt how to use tool steel to make our own little tools and filed them by hand as well as chasing and repoussé techniques. We made different sizes and shapes according to our personal preference. Julie makes all her tools by hand as she finds you have the most control with your hand rather than a machine. She made comment that it was good to have a variety of shapes and sizes of tools as they each have their own purpose. Once our thin rectangular file was ready, we annealed copper sheet, heated up the pitch and began texturing the metal using our little tool and a chasing hammer to practice lines. Julie demonstrated each step and reminded us to make sure we stopped and stretched so we didn’t come away with sore necks.
In the evening, workshop participants, students and JMGA WA members were invited to attend a presentation by Julie in the lecture theatre on campus. Julie had a great photographic display and you certainly got a sense of where and how her ideas develop. There was a good turn out and despite the wet weather a few of us enjoyed a delicious meal at Aisuru Japanese in William St, Northbridge.
On the third and final day of the workshop, we were keen and eager to work on texturing the metal and create patterns. Some participants even made final samples complete with brooch backings in copper and silver. It was a race against time to get as much done as possible in the workshop, before we presented works in the art studio. When we were ready, we placed our drawings, paper models, metal samples and displayed some of our own previous work. We each presented and discussed our thoughts on the workshop and how we would develop our ideas further. Overall, it was a fantastic three day workshop which was jam packed learning new skills and working with like minded people. At the conclusion of the workshop, each attendee received a Certificate of Participation.
Thank you to everyone that participated and assisted in the organisation of the workshop. There may even be a few repoussé pieces included in this year’s JMGA WA Member Exhibition later in the year.