Lives in a landscape – casting (wood form)

I am also continuing with casting from last semester, again as a traditional process. I will be trying a larger scale so I am making forms for the sand cast moulds. I didn’t want to use foam as it is not traditional so I have turned a piece of Scottish wytch elm. I didn’t have a bow lathe, but will look out for someone who is teaching this if this bowl makes a good former.


This is me turning. The form is a simple tea bowl.


It was good fun, so I tried another simple tumbler shape, this time in sycamore, which was easier to turn.


I am pleased with profile. I have sanded the base so that it is rounded/tumbles.

It is amazingly tactile. I shall try this shape in other materials.

Materials experiments-mokume gane

I am starting to experiment in earnest with mokume gane. I have a press:-




The metal needs to be cut, pickled and cleaned to remove all oxides, it is then kept in water until needed.

mokumevice1The pieces are dried and stacked in the press. I used flux between layers. The press in then pressed in the vice and the nuts tightened to bring the metal surfaces as close as possible.



Then the whole thing is heated slowly until red hot and the metal with the lower melt point starts to flow, then keep it there to hope that all parts flow.




When the press is cooled the fused piece is taken out, reheated and hammered to thin out the metal sheet and return some structure to the metal.

mokumehammered2Initially I rolled this piece, which was too stressful for the brass (I think) and it split along the brass layers, but this is how to learn.

Lives in a landscape

Final year. My project – ‘lives in a landscape’ is looking at cultural history in the landscape. I am initially exploring materials and traditional processes that have a link with the landscape. Sean Kingsley’s Fife Diet ceramics project using clays from Fife farms, led me to ‘win’ clay at Crail.

This is Sean’s family winning clay. The spade for this is called a graft (‘though I used a trowel)


The clay is then dried (picture a pile of mud-like stuff on newspaper in the sun,

then soaked overnight and strained to remove the slatey bits. This is called ‘blungeing’.

crailclay copy

I collected some of the slate bits too as they are attractive.


To be continued…

Non stuff festival

Earlier in the year Craft Scotland put out a call for musicians and artists to share their art at the first Non Stuff festival. I went and did 2 workshops in up-cycled jewellery. On the Saturday we repurposed catfood tins and charity shop fabrics; wiston10

This is Anne Philbrow’s fabric and berry brooch.


on the Sunday we used organic materials. This is Wendy Grubb’s work in progress.

I met some lovely people, made candles and woven fish, learned how to make cans into soap dishes and tasted raw chocolate.


another autumnal necklace worn by its creator.

Aristotle furnace workshop

I’ve just spent the weekend at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden making and firing an Aristotle furnace.


The furnace is a very ancient way (Aristotle writes about it) to produce iron blooms.

On the first day we made the furnace from an equal mix of horse poo, sand and clay and dried it with a gentle wood fire.


On the second day I ran three firings – one with mild steel, one with farm scrap and one with a mild steel and scrap mix.



The final firing broke the furnace, so I need to source some horse poo.

It was amazing to be able to smelt steel with handmade equipment, charcoal and air (from a leaf blower).

The workshop was a follow on from Turf to Tools a project recreating ancient tool-making techniques.