For the past two summers I have been visiting the workshop of master craftsman Brian Clarke to try to learn how to make the bronze age ribbon torc. Tired of hearing the torc being described as ‘a twisted’ piece of metal and having being asked by The National museum as to how they would have made these in antiquity, and what tools they would have used, Brian set off on a ten year journey to uncover these lost secrets. He rediscovered the tools and techniques and the results of his work are truly phenomenal. The complexity of the processes involved in making these structures, which are essentially a double helix, is quite fascinating and an exercise in extreme brain exercise, patience and persistence! The photo below showing a copper piece overlaid on a page of Brian’s book is where I am at after 2 years experiments and a combination of frustration and fascination. This is a hollow structure and the next step is to open it up and turn that metal completely inside out and form the structure again with the inside out. This is repeated until eventually when you ‘open it up’ a perfect double helix is revealed ie your ribbon torc. I highly  recommend Brians book and DVD if you have the time to attend some of his workshops near Rathdrum Wicklow, but be warned, you will emerge with a new obsession!)