Making Metal Badges by Maria Whetman

40 artist maria whetman

making metal badges
Scrap metal graphic-art badges inspired by Peter Blake and the painting Self-portrait with badges 1961


Artist and craftsperson Maria Whetman shares a workshop process, in which students can have fun creating wearable metal badges from unwanted tins.

This project was shared with AccessArt as part of the 40 Artist Educator Project, funded by Arts Council England, aiming to highlight and celebrate artist-led teaching and facilitation.

“Tins ain’t what they used to be!” Badges Project by Maria Whetman

Adaptive Re-Use is the theme behind this workshop in which students make a wearable graphic-art composition badge by reclaiming metal from tins that once contained such products as tea, treacle, biscuits and mustard. Mix it up with postcard cuttings, found objects and bits of broken jewellery. Play with word, image, shape and colour composition by snipping, filing, emery-papering, folding, hammering, slotting, punching and forming with ordinary tools, to construct a layered design from the printed steel packaging of unwanted tins.

Students need to think about how the shapes will be held under the folded-over edges of the badge frame and will learn how to ‘cold connect’. The badges could be just decorative or contain material that makes a statement, comment or narrative. This is a workshop for young people aged 13+, whether they are interested in Pop-Art, graphic design, jewellery or very simple metal-smithing.

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