written by Aniya Dunkley
Just before the Winter holidays, the second-year MFA students of Alchimia participated in a three-day workshop in Anticlastic Raising (a technique of metal forming whereby a sheet of metal is formed directly with a hammer on a sinusodial – snakelike – stake) based on ancient Greek concepts and techniques. The course was taught by Akis Goumas, a Greek jewelry designer by trade who also works with a team of archeologists studying and researching prehistoric metal technology in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Akis, who has been designing and making jewelry for over 35 years, emphasizes the importance of understanding the journey a piece of jewelry takes through the process of its making. He believes strongly in the power of our rational and logical thinking, in the idea that we all have the ability to teach ourselves how to make things through a careful consideration of the materials we already have at our disposal and what our desires for an object are.
Over the three days, students learned how to design and create tools made of raw wood and metal, and then realize three (or more) anticlastic pieces of jewelry, ranging in size and dimension. This was meant to guide the students towards an understanding of the proper functions and uses of the tools they use, and how to personalize and shape them in relation to both themselves and the objects they imagine to create.
Each student walked away with its own specially-designed hammer, etching pens and tweezers, hammering techniques, and memorable pieces of jewelry. It was a lot of hard work, but Akis was an excellent guide, eternally patient and very attentive to everyone. His warm spirit and drive kept the students going at a steady pace and eager to learn more each day. He left a lasting impression on everyone and we all look forward to having him back again some time soon.