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Class Introduction

Lesson 4 from: Explorations in Metalsmithing: Hollow Fabrication

Megan Auman

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Lesson Info

Class Introduction

First off, I want to answer that question of what is hollow fabrication? So, hollow fabrication is really just a fancy way of saying building three dimensional forms in metal. And it's called hollow fabrication, first of all, because the forms that you're building are hollow. And, so, what makes this really great... If we take a look at some of our little examples here, we can... I cheated on this one and left the back side open so that you guys could actually see there's a hollow space in here. And what's great about this technique, is that it lets us create these really big forms, right? This is a pretty serious chunky ring that I've got here. And it's really light. So if you were to use some other ways to kind of contrast that, the other way to make really three dimensional forms in metal is through casting. Alright, you carve wax. You get it cast. You're going to end up with something much heavier and more solid. So, today I want to teach you guys how to make three dimensional form...

s from metal that are going to give you really interesting, really cool, really unique jewelry. It's actually really light weight and comfortable and wearable as well. If you know anything about me, I'm all about making things that are big and wearable. Its kinda my deal. So, that's what I want to help you guys do today. So, in terms of what you can make using hollow fabrication. One of the main things were going to be talking about today, are how to make rings. So, rings are really great technique for hollow fabrication. And I'm going to be walking you guys step by step through how to make these. So if you're like I have no idea how to get from a flat piece of metal to this, don't worry. We're going to be doing that step by step today. But rings are not the only thing that you can make with hollow fabrication. It's a great technique for a lot of different types of jewelry. So, of course, it's pretty easy to extrapolate that if you can make this type of dimensional form as a ring, you can certainly also make that as a bracelet. Right, so we're not going to demo bracelets 'cause we did a whole class on that the day before this. But you can see how that can be an easy thing that you could do as well. But there's lots of other things that you can do with hollow fabrications. So, one of the other ones that lends itself really well to these techniques is lockets. So, we're going to be talking about some basic ways to make some lockets a little later on today. We're also going to talk about brooches because when your making big, light weight, three dimensional forms, they actually make really great brooches. This is things you can apply the earrings. So, really we're not focusing on any specific one type of jewelry because you can do just about everything with these techniques which is going to be really fun. But again, I promise you these two rings that I'm showing here as an example step by step, you'll learn how to make those. So, at the very least you can feel like, I know how to accomplish a specific thing. And we'll talk about lots of others as well. So, lets talk about the techniques that you're going to learn in this class. So really this is a class about construction and soldering. So, as I mentioned, its hollow fabrication. So, meaning we're actually going to fabricate, assemble, put things together. That's the heart of this class. But that said, we're going to start with some basic metal forming. Even if you don't have a torch and you're not ready to solder yet, you definitely want to stick around because we're going to play with some of these fun tools. (nervous laugh). Back here learning how to shape metal, how to create some dooms, how to create some other fun shapes. So, we're going to play with that first and then we're going to dive in to actually how to solder, how to construct, how to make these three dimensional forms. Hopefully in a way that's not so scary. So, in terms of tools that you'll need to complete this class. You don't need a lot. So, I've got kind of a big array of forming things up here. But as I've mentioned in previous class, I am definitely like a tool minimalist. In fact, this isn't even mine. I don't even own one of these fancy sets, Creative Lives. I don't even own one and I've been doing this for 17 years. So, I'll talk about different ways to get the same results if you don't want to invest in a lot of expensive things. Really I hope that by the end of this class, we can finally get everybody over the hump we were working on in the last class. Finally, get everyone over the hump and get over those fears of the torch because really to really take advantage of these techniques, you're gonna wanna work with a torch. Again, we're going to cover some things that don't need a torch but the torch is really going to open up a lot of possibilities for you. In terms of taking your metals and your skills to the next level. If you haven't already, there are prereq videos with this class. Don't watch them now. Go watch them on our next break. You can watch some prereq videos where we talk a little about torch safety. We're going to be using an acetylene torch throughout this class. It's also called a jeweler's torch. It's really simple but for those of you who don't have that you might have a butane micro torch. It's basically like a creme brulee torch on steroids. If you have one of those, that'll work too. You don't need to invest in the whole torch setup right away. And yes, you can absolutely do this in your home. It's totally doable. Just make sure-- again, watch those prereq videos we talked about safety. But the biggest things are making sure that you have ventilation and that you're working on a non-flammable surface. Our table here is actually metal. Makes it really easy. But if you don't have a metal table, if you're working on wood or your countertop, you can always just get a big cookie sheet or a nice sheet of metal. Lay that down. Even in my studio I'll use patio pavers. Anything that just gives you a little bit of a non-flammable surface and you'll be good to go. So, even though the idea of the torch might sound scary to some of you, it's really not as very approachable. And I want you guys to feel like you can do that. So the other thing that I want to address, as we're going on here, is what skill level is this class for? I think it's really easy to look at what we're doing here and think, "oh, this is definitely an advanced skill, "I need to have metalsmithing for years." But I can tell you guys that in all the years that I've been teaching metalsmithing at the university level-- I have taught these skills in intro level classes. But these are not super advanced skills. You really can do them even if you're just starting out. So, I hope that you guys don't feel intimidated by this. My goal is to break it down. And if you have never been on a class with me before, you know that I love questions. I love student interaction. So, as we're working rather you guys are in the studio or watching online. If you see something and you're like "wait I missed that, how do you do it". Please ask. I'm happy to show things. I really want to set you guys up for success in these techniques. So that said, I'm going to pick on our in-studio audience for just a minute. But I would love those of you watching online to share as well. What can't you wait to see? So, I'm going to let-- You two are like boss like Tracy I'm going to let you go. You're like I'm on it. (laughs) Well Sarah, well I was sold when I saw the promo pictures for the course work. So, I'm excited about learning how to make those chunky rings. I'm also interested in the chunky rings as well because I don't usually wear rings but when I do I like chunky rings. Prefect. Yeah. Okay, I thought it was gonna be the chunky rings but then you said lockets and you said brooches. And I just had it in my mind that I want a brooch. So, yay. Oooh yeah. That's going to be... You're going to be really surprised at how really doable that is too. So, that'll be really fun. Yes, I was very interested in the chunky rings because they're dear to my heart but making a locket would be super awesome too. Awesome. Yes, we'll get you guys through a ton of stuff today. We've got a lot to cover.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Hollow Fabrication Supplies List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Ring Blank Cheat Sheet

Ratings and Reviews


After watching Megan solder in this class, I felt like it was something I could take on. There's a lot of soldering in this class! But there's also a lot you can do without soldering that's covered. I have a better understanding of how jewelry is made from this class. I'm looking at things that I own and thinking that I now know how to recreate them!

Silvia Rossi

I liked this course, Megan explains a lot of things about techniques and materials and it's simple follow all the operations to create these types of rings. I think I'd purchase other classes of her.

Student Work