I watched the PBS special Forge "Crafts in America" last night. The show featured 3 areas metal work plays a role in society through art and function.
The show opens with silversmiths incorporating old world techniques to make table ware. Interesting fact: people are buying enough quality hand made items that it supports a number of silversmiths a shop doing their craft. Refreshing to see was the very talented young women who had the enthusiasm to learn the details of a silversmithing. The special described the intricacies of the business and filmed different techniques being applied during the manufacturing process without much explanation of what was being observed by the viewer. One of the interesting tools used to form the forks and spoons was a drop hammer activated by pulling a rope with the leg to lift the hammer until it trips and falls.
Next was a student using forged steel and casting bronze to express feeling to tell a story and pay respect to what he experienced in the Gulf War. What I would like to learn more about is how to make plaster casting moulds to pour melted bronze into. This is something I would like to see more conversation on the forum on this subject. Again in this segment the attention was focused on why and not so much how.
The last segment was a jeweler turned sculptor. I though his art busy and abstract on a large scale. This theme was prevalent through out his designs shown in this special. I appreciated the feelings his work created when displayed. I was less impressed by the technique they described to create the work of art. Then they talked about the garden gate he designed. It was display in his studio. At first, I would have described it as busy and un-proportionally relevant to function. When it was pointed out that he used multiple forging techniques to create the gate I was blown away. Well worth the time to study up close. I hope to find a picture to get a closer look.
Overall the show was excellent. The "Forge" Craft in America special on PBS gives examples that demonstrates the vast range and versatility metal offers artist to create.
If you have time to see a show make sure it's this one.