Many years ago, I was ‘this’ close to taking a Ken Bova workshop at the Campbell Folk School.  I can’t remember why it didn’t work.  It was pretty early in my jewelry making days and I was seriously short on techniques.  I heard about his class workbook, The Soft Tech Jewelry Workshop Handbook, and decided to track him down and see if he’d sell me one.  I don’t think I was on-line back then (late 90’s), but I found him in Montana where he still lives.  Anyway, the book is all about cold connections and, what I call ‘low-tech’ he calls ‘soft tech’ techniques.  He thought ‘soft tech’ had a better connotation than ‘low-tech’.

ken bova soft tech workbook

ken bova soft tech workbook

For me, the most lasting section of the book has been the ‘Do It To It” list that he compiled with a college chum many years earlier.  It has never failed to inspire.  As best as I can tell, he doesn’t have a website and has recently retired from teaching in Montana.  I did find an address and phone number for him.  I’m going to give him a call and see if the workbook still exists for purchase.

Here’s a very slightly abridged version of Ken Bova’s “DoItToIt” list:

turn it over     turn it around     pierce it     pattern it     draw on it     paint it     repeat it     cut it     split it in pieces     rivet it     flatten it     enamel it     frame it     soften it     look at it from the side     elongate it     hang something from or on it     hang it     patina partof of it/all of it     make a secret space     stripe it – remove some stripes     dot it     scratch it     gloss it     matte finish it     make it functional     make it non-functional     wrap it     write on it     type on it     number it     look at the back     tenderize it     diagonal      horizontal     vertical     fill it in     empty it     photograph it     draw it again     xerox it     fold it     zig zag it     overlay it     texturize it     smooth it     wrinkle it     transparencies     reflections     make a pedestal – stand     platform – plate     plate it     coin the edge     soften the edge     sharpen the edge     sharpen it     point it     round it off     solder it     warp it     make it movable     spread it out     bring it together     ask youself questions – is it worthwhile … on all levels?     write about it     write for it/to it     line it     carve it     roller print it     remove parts     stitch it (as with thread)     engrave it     stitch it (as with engraver)     compare it      filigree it     hinge it     make it primitive     make it contemporary     romanticize it     emotionalize it     twist it     fill in the holes     make it two …     make two of it (3,4,5 …)     make it natural – don’t force it     force it!     make drawings of it/ for it     render it     etch it     extend beyond the edges     forge it     color – hi key, low key, gray scale     pierce the edge     loosen it/tighten it     give it life     change its function     if it’s a knife, make it a brooch     if it’s a cup, make it a bracelet, etc.     make it colorful     make it colorless – clear     let the “guts” show     vacuum form plastics     photo etch it     photo enamel it     consider – reconsider: >>     scale it right    sew it     chase it     put it through the mill     put arms – extensions on it     give it depth     let it breathe     marry the materials in it     break the line     send it in a new direction     make it negative     make it positive     put what is above below     trade places     cut it up – put it back together     throw it away     graduate it     mokume’     reticulate it     file it

Okay – if this doesn’t get you unstuck, it’s time to take a break.  Also, if you don’t know Ken’s work – check it out.  He’s one of the people that laid the foundation for much of the mixed media jewelry that’s out there today.  Here’s a link to the Ornament magazine article about him last year.

ttfn …

blessings – kvk