Review in The Scotsman

“Julia Cowie casts metal vessels and spoons palpably redolent of ancient landscapes and people”.

Sue Wilson. The Scotsman 8th August 20181damascusbowlset

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Pittenweem Arts Festival 2018

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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.

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I have a selection of copper, iron and bronze bowls as well as some jewellery.

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Stone to Bowl clay dip moulds; incl wax melt out and all-in casting

Returning to Stone to Bowl:-

stonetobowlmouldfiringOnce the wax models have been made and sprued they are then dipped in a slurry mix of clay (this time from Kingsbarns) sand (Cellardyke beach) and fibre (horse poo from near Kilrenny). There are two mixes, one is fine and the early coats are done in this and the other is coarser to build up the outer layers. Each layer has to dry before the next layer is added so it takes several days to build up the mould.

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When the mould is built up a clay funnel is added. The moulds are then ready for the wax to be burnt out. The first photo shows the burn out. Below are the moulds that have been burnt out.

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The link below is to an animated film about lost wax casting, which explains the process well.

https://hyperallergic.com/286780/an-animated-guide-to-the-bronze-age-technique-of-lost-wax-casting/

I also tried out a casting method where you burn out the wax and then put the copper alloy in one end of the mould. You then seal up the mould with a lid and clay mixture and return the mould to the furnace. stonetobowlmoulds

This photo shows the moulds and lids ready for burn out.

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This photo shows the all in one moulds ready to return to the furnace for the copper melting stage.

In theory the copper heats to melting point and you upend the mould and the copper pours into the part that you want to cast, In practice because you can’t see the metal it is difficult not to either get incomplete melting or over heating and the metal seeping out through the ceramic shell.

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The photo shows incomplete melting, the copper is fused (bottom right)

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This photo shows a mould where the metal over heated and seeped through the mould walls. There are two moulds, one complete (but rattles so I’ve not broken it) and an open one.

The moulds with incomplete melting can be ‘re-used’ as open moulds.

 

100 days and Stone to Bowl

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This photo shows the difference between a two-part sand mould and an open pour. The level of detail on the two part mould is far greater than on the open pour.

I had read that this was the case, but I’d not experimented myself previously.

Both pieces are ‘my-smelt’ copper with silver alloy, cast in oil sand. The piece on the right is made in a two-part mould. The piece on the left I heat-patinated after I’d cleaned it up. Both are from the same former, which is an Edwardian mourning brooch. I will make the more detailed piece into a necklace; the open pour piece is too heavy to wear, but is very tactile.

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The second casting that I did with my first-smelt copper produced the ‘Manx cat’, a mouse, a pudding charm of the Christ child and two partial shells.

The mouse and the pudding charm were the more successful pieces. I have ordered a different kind of casting ring for the shells, to see if that is more successful. The shells are too fine for a conductive metal like copper, which tends to cool before completing the mould.

It is exciting using metal that you have ‘made’ yourself.

 

100 days

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This is one of my favourite 100 days pieces so far. It’s a neckpiece using a piece of brass from the beach, drilled and threaded on a glass and silver bead necklace. The glass beads are from Togo and were waist beads that my daughter brought back. The colours are just right for the patina on the beach find.