Monday, January 7, 2013


These are a few examples of fibula I have made over the years.
Fibulae offer a wonderful interplay between the body of the brooch and pin stem.

Brass fibula

One of the first designs I created

Simple yet elegant

Sterling fibula

Copper fibula

I love making these

Broad fibula made from heavy stock

I enjoy using texture
One  of my favorites


hwkmom said...

Hello, I am not commenting on the fibulae, but rather I had seen your posts on other sites regarding a coppersmith of Arts and Crafts era named J Braun. I have a copper bowl with his hallmark and was wondering if you had more information regarding this person.
Sincerely, Liz Kendrick

Fred Zweig said...

Hi Liz,
I have no further information and would love to see your bowl. I continue to search for more information on this craftsman.

mario said...

At times you see similar pieces by other craftsmen, made independently with the same line/look:

aluminutman said...

i have several pieces with the signature j braun. materials include aluminum (with and without ceramic tile center), copper, copper plated brass and brass. some trays have intricate aluminum handles and probably used pyrex inserts originally. i certainly would like to collaborate with anyone with info on this artist. my collecting usually is restricted to hand hammered aluminum from before WWII, but j braun's work intrigued me with unusual form and design. i look forward to unravelling this particular mystery. charlie

Fred Zweig said...

Hi Charlie,
I have sent you an email so we can share whatever we know about this mystery metalsmith. Hope to hear from you soon.

Elizabeth Kendrick said...

Hello, Just seeing now that you responded to my query regarding J Braun from last year. I have photos of the bowl I can send you--not sure if I can post here. Sincerely, Liz

Laura Chalifoux said...

Hi, Fred.

Thanks for sharing your lovely fibulae! I'm an amateur metalworker, happiest with a hammer in my hand. I've been incredibly fortunate to study metal forming and forging under Cynthia Eid (a mentor and dear friend), Betty Helen Longhi, Michael Good, and Charles Lewton-Brain - all at Metalwerx in Waltham, MA.

Over the years, I spent the most time learning from Cynthia, and she is the one who introduced me to the joys of forging. Lately I've become fascinated by ancient fastenings like fibulae and penannular pins. As you show with your fibulae, the basic functional form is extremely simple, and yet - like all perfect functional forms - it allows for endless creativity and interpretation. I don't think I could pick a favorite from your designs; they are all gorgeous!

So glad I came across your blog; so much inspiration to discover!

- Laura

Fred Zweig said...

Hi Laura,
Glad that you like the blog. With the advent of Facebook I have neglected it and am only now beginning to add new material and information.
I have always love the simplicity of fibulae and other brooches. All the names you mentioned are friends and you are wise to learn from them.
Thanks for you kind comments,

Hammer757 said...

Fred, My experience is primarily bladesmithing but in the last few years I've been working a lot of with non-ferrous metals, mostly copper and Sterling. During that time I've been experimenting a lot with what forging, fold forming, anticlastic raising and a little vessel raising. I kind of cycle through them. Lately I've been forging a lot from wire and ended up on broaches and that's how I stumbled on to this article which is very inspiring. If you don't mind, I have a question. As far as the the wire or pin part of the fibula, I have been forging it but find it very hard to make round once I get it down to size. I plan to experiment with a rolling mill and draw plate but have very little experience with them. What is method do you use to create the pin?
also, do you ever make it to the east coast to teach?
Thanks for taking the time to share with us!
Robert Hatcher

Fred Zweig said...

These brooches are forged from a single length of metal wire. I use my wire rolling mill to taper one or the other end down to 18 gauge. I Then forge and shape the thicker portion of the wire. I file and prefinish the major portion of the fibula. My final step is to draw the 18 gauge end to thickness I desire for the pinstem. This rounds and polishes the stem. I then coil the wire for the spring mechanism, form the catch. I then measure the wire in the closed position. This allow me to cut the pinstem to length so I can file the taper on the pinstem and polish it.

I may be teaching in Ohio and I would love to teach on the East Coast. All I need is someone to ask me.

Hammer757 said...

Thanks so much Fred!!!