Last week was my final week of work at Scottish Sculpture Workshop on my VACMA funded Stone to Bowl copper project.
It focused on getting the bellows organised so that I can work anywhere in the landscape. Monday was spent fixing the blower which had arrived fractured. Eden Jolly did most of the work as it involved tig welding, but I did the cleaning of the joins and offered cups of tea. Eden and Fleur (an Erasmus student) made it a super wee base and I went to Portsoy to get it some flexible tubing. By Wednesday all was ready to return to copper smelting trials. The smelt balls tend to over heat in the shaft furnace as it’s hard to see what is going on.
So on Thursday I dug a pit furnace and trialed that smelting with great success.I got 35gm copper from 50gm ore in 30 minutes and using about 2kg of charcoal.
On Friday it was time to trial the bowls mentioned in the project title. This was using ore I’d smelted alloyed with 10% silver. The photo shows the open mould after casting. The copper did not complete the pour. I need to redesign the bowls with a thicker base. Even after heating the moulds and with sling casting, the copper would not stay molten in such a thin walled vessel.
Spending 4 weeks developing processes and tools has been brilliant and the work goes on.
I’m trying out this copper/silver alloy bowl on a patinated mokume gane disc. I’ve tried other stands, but the bowl ‘stands’ well on its own, so I’m going for something simple that highlights the blue patina.
There will be some of my charm jewellery going to Art in the Buchat, Glenbuchat as well. I gave it a little polish and its tucked up in its boxes now waiting to charm visitors from Friday, 7th September.
Just taking some quick pictures before packing my pieces for North East Open Studios (NEOS) which previews next Friday. The work will be displayed at Art in the Buchat. Glenbuchat. Do pop along if you are in the area.
This is a damascus steel bowl on a burr wood stand, it’s so tactile.
Finally the hand cranked forge blower has arrived. This is hopefully the last piece of the Stone to Bowl project. The forge blower will deliver air to the furnace, powered by hand rather than electricity. I’ll find out next month at SSW if it can be made to work. If the bellows can be hand powered it means that I can work anywhere,
I’m just back from a week learning about clever ways of making jewellery without soldering. Professor Ebendorf led the workshop and was generous with sharing his skills and knowledge of jewellery making and working with found objects. Cold connections are particularly useful when working with found objects (as well as enamel pieces)
This piece uses broken glass from the beach, but treats it as something precious. It also has a piece of mixed metal that I made at Alchimia and formed into a tube; and nettle yarn which has an Iron Age feel to it.
It was quite a challenge to get the piece balanced as the bronze artefact is heavy, so I pinned some lead into the tubing.
Pittenweem Arts Festival is on again, do head down to Water Wynd, Venue 70 to see us. (That’s Keny Drew, Nicola Wiltshire, Frazer Reid and I) The net loft looks really good this year with better lighting and the introduction of white fabric to lift the space.
I have a selection of copper, iron and bronze bowls as well as some jewellery.