Metal Working

By Fiona Lubold – 11th Grade, North Hills Senior High School

Safety First

Safety first!

I grew up loving sculptures that I would see on city blocks and in public parks.  Some were great to look at.  Some I could climb on. Some made me think.  Some caused me to wonder how to create.

The Metalsmithing Apprenticeship at the Society for Contemporary Arts located in the Strip District provides students with the opportunity to learn how to create with metal.  I got to witness the beginnings of two metal sculptures that have been installed at the Public Library in Millvale.  It was fascinating!

In the mornings, students worked with Jim Bove, a faculty member from Cal U.  He teaches them about metal working and jewelry making. They learned how to make prints using a salt water etching process on copper plates.  Students were encouraged to make their own designs to use in this process. They then transferred the design onto copper plates through the engraving process.  The plates then could be inked with a roller.  A piece of paper was placed on top of the plate and pressure was put on top to transfer the ink from the copper onto the paper.  The final image was mostly ink with white lines where the etching was kind of a reverse or negative image.

After lunch, well known sculptor, Dee Briggs, came to help them make large 3-d sculptures from large sheets of aluminum. They started by filing the edges to round them and reduce the sharpness.  I believe some of the process then included folding, bending, and cutting; I did not get to see the finished products yet.  The two sculptures made by the class have been installed at the Millvale Public Library.

Throughout their creative process students were also instructed in good safety procedures, the use of tools and equipment, and the properties of various metals.  Along with learning these new skills, the students also earned digital badges from the Pittsburgh City of Learning.

Students expressed their interest in this class because it is not something you get to do everyday.  It may also lay the groundwork for other learning opportunities. One student summed it up as, “It’s metal working!”  I guess that’s all you have to say!

Students hope to continue to use these skills at home to repair and to create things.  I think some families will be seeing a treasure trove of handmade jewelry this holiday!

While each student had a favorite thing, they all seemed to be enjoying the classes.  It was certainly a unique opportunity to learn from real artists and to create objects for personal enjoyment and community display.

 

This is how a statue starts

Gloves protect fingers from sharp edges

Gloves protect fingers from sharp edges

Planning together

Planning together

Focusing on the work

Focusing on the work

Great studio space at the Society for the Contemporary Arts

Great studio space at the Society for the Contemporary Arts

Part of the process

Part of the process

Print Sheet

Print Sheet

Three designs

Three designs

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Designs are transferred onto metal sheets as a raised impression from which an ink and paper print is made.

Design Sheet

Electrical Etching using Salt Water

Salt Water Etching

Etching design and print

Etching design and print

Students draw their own designs

Students draw their own designs

Crushing Metal Bottle Caps

Crushing Metal Bottle Caps

Designing a Look

Forging A Design

Hot Stuff

Hot Stuff


Fiona Grace Lubold 2 Fiona Lubold will be a junior at North Hills Senior High School in the fall.  She enjoys music, arts, acting, cooking, baking, reading, and writing. She hopes to gain more experience in media and journalism with Pittsburgh Youth Media.

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