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When Vivian Beer set out to form sheet steel into bold expressive forms, she couldn't find a workshop to teach her the things she wanted to know, so she taught herself. Vivian has built a workshop series around what she has learned about expressive sheet forming, with applications ranging from large scale sculpture to custom auto body modifications. Building on last winter's well-received hot sheet workshop at the Center for Metal Arts, she is taking her improvisations on creative hot sheet forming to an expanded two-weekend session.

In her Creative Sheet Forming II workshop for intermediate to advanced students on February 11-12, Vivian Beer teaches process and technique for forming and fabricating hollow expressive forms. This hands-on seminar in advanced sheet forming technique has applications in large sculptural forms, furniture and maestro auto body modification. The class will explore hot and cold forming processes, and when to use welding and grinding to create expressive hollow forms. Topics of pattern making, basic hot and cold forming, tool selection, welding, and finishing with various abrasives will be introduced. The class will cut, form, weld and grind from flat sheet material to expressive three dimensional form, learning ways to take free-form metal working beyond the limits of standard fabrication practice,

The weekend class is held in the fully equipped teaching studio at the Center for Metal Arts and the adjacent fabrication studio of Fine Architectural Metalsmiths with a full range of tooling. The tooling pieces that appear on anvils and leg vises for the Sheet Forming Seminars are beautiful in themselves as a collection of forms and negative space, ready to fold and curve and bend the hot iron. From improv sinking tools to a concave tree stump and swage blocks, the tooling is a playground for hot sheet forming.

Vivian Beer's own evolving work combines the sleekness of race car lines, high heel shoes, and other sweeping forms to create art furniture and installation art. Of her work, Vivian Beer says, "I choose a cocktail of images and forms that embody beauty and power: flags, fenders, clouds, tail feathers, rodeos and corporate logos all come into the mix. I combine these with a sense of architecture and furniture design to create objects that are steel calligrapher’s lines in three-dimensions." Her work will be featured in the upcoming 40 under 40: Craft Futures organized by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

An article about her work in the American Craft Magazine says, "Vivian Beer is fearless. That's really the best way to describe her. The 33-year-old designer/maker takes steel and cuts it. Bends it. Shapes, welds, grinds, and sands it. She transforms it - by hand and machine - from rigid raw material into impossibly curvy furniture and sculpture. And she does all of this, more or less, alone."

The Center for Metal Arts is located in the picturesque black dirt farming Village of Florida, NY. The Center holds workshops in blacksmithing, fold forming, repousse, patination, moldmaking and other topics for sculptors, jewelers, and lay persons looking for hands-on experience with topics of metal forming.

The Center for Metal Arts holds blacksmithing and other metal arts workshops for artisans, designers and the public. Located one hour north of New York City, The Center for Metal Arts offers an opportunity to work hot metal at the forge and anvil.


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