Lexi Erickson Introduces Richard Sweetman and the Hydraulic Press for Making Three-Dimensional Jewelry, No Hammers Required!

When our new hydraulic press videos with Richard Sweetman became available, Lexi Erickson was the natural choice to introduce it to you, as she is lucky enough to have learned from Richard in his own studio for two years. Read on to learn what a hydraulic press can do for you and all the fun things you can learn about in his videos, including quickly and easily making dimensional metal components for jewelry by die forming with a vise or a hydraulic press, as well as how to cut and prepare your own dies! —Tammy

three-dimensional metal shapes made with dies and a vise or hydraulic press

Meet Richard Sweetman and the Hydraulic Press

By Lexi Erickson

Henry Moore once stated, “The most powerful artworks are the largest and the smallest.” That certainly fits popular Denver artist and teacher, Richard Sweetman, who has been my friend for a number of years. I already had a Masters Degree in Jewelry Design and Fabrication and had been teaching college jewelry for about 15 years when I decided to join Richard’s evening class at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, Colorado. I was in need of some inspiration myself, and as I have said in the past, “Sometimes the teacher needs a teacher.” Lucky for me I joined his class, and in the two years I spent with him, I do believe I learned more from him than I did in my Masters program. He echoed that recently, when he told me that he felt he learned more about jewelry and techniques AFTER he graduated with his degree in jewelry. After “retiring” from college teaching, Richard still teaches at his Zephyr Street Studio (zephyr-street-studio.com) in Denver.

Richard went to University of Oregon, but a very influential teacher in his life was Heikki Seppa, who taught him (along with Michael Good) the joys of moving metal at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. Since then, the forming of metal has been a passion for Richard, and like I said, from the smallest to the largest, Richard is the go-to guy for many jewelers. Not only does he make these cute little “buggies” but he also overhauls hot rods–big buggies!! Yep! There is very little that Richard does not know about metal of all types, shapes and sizes, including how to shape it and how to teach it.

Richard Sweetman's buggies made with hydraulic press

Through the years, Richard developed the SharkBite hydraulic press, named for his love of diving and discovering underwater forms. I own the Tiger model, which is a 12-ton press made here in Denver that handles everything you would ever need, from doming with the SharkBite’s Plexiglas silhouette dies to cutting out production pieces using the popular dies made by Kevin Potter (PotterUSA.com). Though forming with a hydraulic press seems intimidating, it is absolutely pure fun, easy, and the results are mind blowing. The SharkBite will fit on any workbench and is easy to use. (Be sure to get your name on the list for one of the limited edition presses Richard will be making.)

three-dimensional metal jewelry made with dies and a vise or hydraulic press

The coolest thing is (cue the drumroll) that you, too, can learn, just as I did, to incorporate the hydraulic press techniques into your jewelry–but you can learn from the comfort of your own studio or living room. We are pleased to introduce Crushed Metal Cuff and Hydraulic Press with Richard Sweetman, your own personal hydraulic press for jewelry making class with Richard. It’s two complete videos–hydraulic press basics and the popular crushed metal cuff tutorial–on one DVD.

crushed cuffs made with a hydraulic press

Want to make your own tiny bugs to sit on your shoulder? You can do it with the press. Want to make the popular “crush” bracelets? Richard will show you how in the video tutorial. Want to make production pieces but not cut out 100 little cowboy boots? You can do it with the press and Kevin Potter’s dies. Want to make patterned metal? You can do that, too. The hydraulic press can be one of the most versatile tools in your shop. I’m telling you, if you don’t know how to use a press, you need to learn, because this can be one of the most useful tools in your studio.

make your own dies for metal three-dimensional jewelry with a vise or hydraulic press

Working with the hydraulic press is HOT! The time is now! You cannot get a better teacher than learning from the man who actually makes the presses, Richard Sweetman. You can join the ranks of whom Henry Moore spoke and make the smallest to the largest of artworks (though you will need a really large press for the re-making of a hot rod, like Richard does!).

Lexi

Order Crushed Metal Cuff and Hydraulic Press with Richard Sweetman or save money and get Richard’s DVD along with Lexi’s Hydraulic Press for Jewelry Making DVD both in our special-value hydraulic press bundle!

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