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.
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.
Some of the copper that I smelted at the Sculpture workshop was not very pure. By hammering it I was able to get rid of much of the impurities ready to alloy with silver and melt for casting. I think that this was the first time that I used this blacksmiths hammer and my rather rusty anvil/
The copper silver alloy from the first copper smelt also made a lovely shell. The alloy is a really lovely colour.
The copper man comes a good black when heated.
The first trial casting of the copper I smelted last year at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop was a success. I added a high percentage of silver (15%) and used the top temperature setting on my electric furnace and the copper alloy poured well. The first mould was a small toy person.
The Stone to Bowl project will use lost-beeswax, ceramic dip moulds and sling-casting, but I’m trialing different parts of the process using other technologies.
The New Year bonfire was the first trial smelt of the year. I didn’t expect much from it and it wasn’t a great success, because the bonfire dropped through into the rock pool beneath it. It seemed a good way to celebrate the New Year though.
The photo is the wet remains when the bonfire had burnt out, a gift to the sea.