A few years ago I took a metals class at the Mesa Arts Center.
One of the processes explored at length was fold forming.
I took to this process like icing on cake. (OK, so I am a little hungry as I write this)
At any rate fold forming is FUN!! I experimented during the classes, on the days between classes and then just kept trying new ideas. The book that helped me the most was Fold Forming by Charles Lewton Brain. Every page had some new process and idea. Here you can see one of the first pieces I made. Using a thinner gauge copper helped me create folds that look like draped material.
So what IS fold forming you ask? Here is the official definition from Wikipedia.
Fold-forming is a technique of metalworking whereby metal is folded, repeatedly forged and annealed, and unfolded; at which stage it generally has a dramatic new three-dimensional form.
You can start with thinner gauge metal and create stability and strength in it by using this process.
Maybe this image will help. Here is a flat piece of copper that has been annealed (heated to softness)
Right below it is the first FOLD made. I just folded the piece in half taking care not to flatten it completely.
Now from this starting fold you can create almost anything! The fold can be hammered flat and then reopened to create a hard fold.. or hammered with a mallet for a soft fold…. OR you can put the copper in a vise and flatten the fold to create a centerpiece. Then there is also the addition of texturing, air chasing, folding perpendicular or angled… The possibilities are endless.
The main piece of advice here is that you DO need to anneal EACH TIME you create a new fold.