Canadian Charles Lewton-Brain, is a rare modern day metal smith and artist. He is the inventor of foldforming - a totally new metal technique which he developed in the 1980's. It is the first major innovation in thousands of years of metal working history.  He credits his invention to invaluable advice by his German instructor and that was to spend time playing with his materials.  In doing so, he succeeded in coming up with something new.  He said,  "Tradition interferes with going to new places." Repeating what you were taught to do will not lead to innovation.

Internationally renowned, Charles is also the author of several publications - he owns his own publishing press, Brain Press.  Foldforming is one of his most famous books.

He is the head of the Jewelry Metals Program at the Alberta College of Art and Design.  He earned his Fine Arts degree at the Nova Scotia College and went on to do his Masters at SUNY of New Platz, NY and also trained abroad.

He has been teaching his unique foldforming techniques to thousands over the last few decades through his books, videos and at workshops.  He also teaches on Craftsy : Professional Foldforming Techniques

Watch the class preview here. The class lasts just under 2 hours. As with all Craftsy classes, the format is such students can watch the class when and where they want and as many times as necessary to learn a technique. You will be able to ask Charles any question.

Although Charles teaches with copper, his techniques are not limited to this metal. Having said that, the beauty of colorized copper after torching is evident in his samples.

Lesson 1
His first lesson is fascinating to watch as he explains what fold forming is. There are just 4 basic steps - folding the metal sheet, forging it, annealing to soften the metal (it gets hard with the hammering) and then unfolding it.

Only basic tools are needed such as forging hammers and anvil. He ensures the metal stays malleable with the torch firing so that he could frequently bend the metal with just his hands.  No wonder his techniques have been described as a unique combination of origami and metal work.

Indeed Charles makes the analogy with any clay work or even pastry.  What you shape with clay is possible with metal if you understand how metal moves.  That is the real essence of his class.

Lesson 2
He teaches how to make line folds which is one of the key foundations of foldforming. There are literally hundreds of variations.  He demonstrates a number of them.  The tight line fold is such that it does indeed look like a wire has been soldered onto the metal!!

Tight Line Fold
He goes on to show how forging in different ways after folding will yield curves and flares.

His techniques are very efficient and fast.  His class is focused on just the method but he did demonstrate one particular jewelry design, the foldformed cuff below :

Lesson 3
This is all about 3D foldforming where  cutting into the shapes results in infinite possibilities.  He also talks about how you can weave narrow strips of metal.


Lesson 4
Second major category of foldforming are the T- folds which are accomplished with the help of a vice.  The top bar of the T can be flattened or left in a pillow form or tube.  He demonstrates how to "chase on air" where he forges wonderful textures and shapes on this bar.  One tip he showed with doing T folds is a wedge variation which can produce metal cones!!

Lesson 5
He moves on to advanced foldforming with more chasing on air examples.

Cross Folds
Lesson 6
Paper sculpture artists use scoring and folding techniques to create 3D designs.  You can do the same with metal!!  Charles shares how you can score with just the hammer and anvil, use his wire scoring technique or with separating discs and a flex shaft.

Lesson 7 
This is all about design and experimentation. The use of paper models to explore future design possibilities is inspiring!

Craftsy does not have any such distinction but this foldforming class is truly a master class.  Charles is a gifted teacher. It is not hard to understand why he has legions of fans as he inspires his students to explore and develop their own unique designs based on foldforming.

This class not only enables you to make jewelry but also use the techniques to make larger sculptures. Highly recommended.

The first prize winner of the giveaway will win free access to Charles Lewton-Brain's Professional Foldforming Techniques class.    There will also be 4 runner-up prizes of 50% off discounts for his class.  Winners can use these links at any time convenient.

If you want a chance to be one of those winners,  please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, May 23, 2016. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!


I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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