Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Making Faces




I began shaping faces in copper while I worked as a metalsmith and made copper fountains behind Knox Campbell Gallery in Tucson during the early to mid 1970s. The gallery sold my fountains. Jim Knox and Gary Campbell were kind enough to allow me to work in the area behind their gallery. I would carve the face in wood and then use it as a form to hammer the metal onto. I made two of these faces and then combined them into a flask that I gifted to my printmaking instructor at Pima College Darla Masterson. Darla had a definite influence on my sensibility and pushed me to look and understand what I was seeing. From her I learned the subtleties of edge definition.

In 1978 I created a reliquary during my tenure at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage that once again incorporated two faces. This time I used repousse and chasing to create them. The making of faces became a regular exercise when I returned to Tucson in 1981 and I would make these during metalworking demonstrations for a short television spot and annually for the Old Pueblo Lapidary Gem and Mineral Shop at the Tucson Community Center. It was wonderful to be able to sit and create these faces before a stream of people who would watch as I took simple disks of copper and sterling and form them into faces. These faces were not put to practical use until I used small faces for a pin swap at the SNAG conference held in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1986. I later made a 10th wedding anniversary gift for my wife in 1987 that incorporated a smiling sun face. (see image 'a') I’ve received a few commissions for faces in gold that were made during those years and have no images of them.

In March I taught a two day workshop in Tucson on the making of faces and it was well attended and well received. We made tools first and then used them to make the faces. I’m scheduled to do a face making demo for the Arizona Artisan Blacksmiths Association during their November meeting in Phoenix.
Most of the faces I have made are for study, fun and demonstrations. ('b' & 'c') I suspect that the faces will creep into my work in the future.


ford said...

Hi Fred,

I see you're taking to this blog thing like a duck to water. I look forward to watching a catalogue of your projects grow here...I'll be popping by for a visit regularly.

I'm inspired to make one of these faces myself...perhaps as a brooch for my mother.

thanks and regards, keep tapping,


Fred Zweig said...


I am just a kid who want to do "show and tell"

The faces are addictive and relatively easy to do. All it takes is time and patience. It is much harder to make them look like anyone specific. I have not yet tried to do a portrait.