As you may recall, I attended a workshop in Bonny Doon on the basics
of hydraulic press forming. This was one of the most awesome
experiences of my ldife! I was privileged to work with Anne
Hollerbach, a wonderful artist and generous teacher, for five days.
Anne was funny, insightful, and made it a point to support each
student in his or her artistic direction. She redirected me on one
early task, taking the work I was doing (carving a Delrin punch) out
of my hands and telling me that it wasn’t really me at all - and she
was so right. She gave me some new blanks, I thought it over, and
created one that I am very proud of. If you have the opportunity to
take a class with Anne, you are lucky. The lessons learned included
the proper operation of the hydraulic press (a good thing, since
apparently Rio sold me my press missing a few essential pieces),
carving and using Delrin punches, mushroom formers, dapping, the use
of contained urethane and its various durometers, the creation of
matrix dies, split matrix dies, and insert plates to emboss those
designs, etching (an added plus!) using paint pens and embossing
powders, deep drawing, and the creating and use of blanking dies.
Of course, creating one blanking die has reinforced my deep respect
for Dar Shelton, the master die maker at Sheltech. We also learned
about the bending brake for forming ring stock, boxes, and just
about anything else in which you want to bend without hammer marks.
For those of us who are older and finding some tasks more physically
challenging, the hydraulic press is a wonderful gift. It is, and
will always be, just a hammer, but one with infinite possibilities.
Thanks to Lee Marshal l for his brilliant innovations in this area
and his wonderful hospitality. The mix of people in the class was
wonderful to see, and very inspiring. As Brian Marshall reported
earlier, the teachers and all the people involved with Bonny Doon
Engineering are wonderful, the setting is beautiful, and the
experience was just great. I only wish I could have stayed to take
the bracelet forming workshop with Cynthia Eid which starts on
Now I have to spend about a hundred hours in the studio to
internalize and run with what I’ve just learned.