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Small-Scale Metal Spinning

June 16 - 21, 2024

James Thurman  ·  jamesthurman.com

Workshop at a glance

Metal Spinning is a unique way of creating metal vessels by forming it on a lathe and is rarely taught outside of industry.


  • Metal spinning
  • Metal finishing
  • Patination
  • Design principles


  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Pewter


  • Ability to create spun metal vessels of the students own design

Artist Bio

James Thurman is a Professor at the University of North Texas’ College of Visual Arts & Design, where he is Metalsmithing/Jewelry faculty. He received his MFA in Metalsmithing from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, his BFA in Sculpture from Carnegie Mellon University, and his machinist certification from MTSI. In 2012 and 2016, he was a Fulbright Specialist Scholar in Istanbul, Turkey. A highly active studio artist for over twenty-five years, his work has been included in hundreds of national and international curated and juried exhibitions as well as ten solo exhibitions in the past ten years. He is also well-known for Thurmanite, a recycled paper and bio-resin composite material that he developed and trademarked. James has been incorporating handspun metal components in his jewelry and tableware for over twenty years. Most pieces are one-of-a-kind designs that utilize uncommon spinning techniques like deliberate rippling, compression, and use of pre-perforated metal. Recently, he has been using increasing amounts of pewter in his metalwork.

  • James Thurman
  • James Thurman
  • James Thurman
  • James Thurman
  • James Thurman
  • James Thurman

Workshop Description

Although metal spinning is typically associated with larger scale industrial products, individuals spinning by hand continues to be a creative and efficient way to produce metal pieces. Since a lathe is required to do metal spinning, it commonly is a way that established woodturners incorporate metal into their pieces. Metalsmiths are interested in the techniques but often lack the lathe necessary for the process. This workshop will provide the opportunity for anyone interested, regardless of their background, to learn the basics of metal spinning and produce numerous finished pieces. Students will have the opportunity to work with aluminum, copper, and pewter. The instructor will be demonstrating a variety of different metal spinning techniques as well as basic metalworking and metal finishing approaches. Depending on the interests of students, a wide range of additional demonstrations and techniques could be incorporated, including form and design principles, wood and metal combination approaches, and metal patination.


The health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is a priority at Arrowmont. To that end, a Personal Conduct & Social Distancing Policy has been adopted to foster a safe learning environment during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for the detailed Policy.


In order to complete your registration, a $300 deposit is required.

Call 865-436-5860 with questions about registering for this workshop.

ART WORKSTENNESSEE ARTS COMMISIONTENNESSEE FOR THE ARTSTennessee Specialty License PlatesEAST TENNESSEE FOUNDATIONWindgate Foundation Arrowmont is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

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