Following further research I have made up some clay balls with a mixture of malachite and charcoal inside to smelt. Copper results from removing oxygen from the copper ore, so the sealed clay balls should be more successful that the pit smelt that I did at the Sculpture Workshop.
I like the way the clay balls look a bit like poppy seed heads.
I’ll let them dry out a bit before I try and get them to smelting temperature in a charcoal furnace.
I have been awarded funding for my Stone to Bowl project. It will pay for several weeks at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in 2018 to complete the project which will take copper ore through to cast pieces, using traditional and fully sustainable methods.
I’ve been doing some preparatory work:-
I experimented with melting the copper that I pit-smelted this year at the Sculpture Workshop, adding in some silver to lower the melting temperature. I melted 115gm and got 74gm of copper and some residual oxides which didn’t melt. The left hand metal is copper, the right is the original smelt material which is less pure. Next trial will be to sand cast with the copper/silver alloy.
The iron pour at the Sculpture Workshop went well. (Steve and I ran the furnace under the eagle eye of George Beasley and Eden Jolly) This is the iron piece that I showed the sand mould for in my last post. The found metal, probably copper, from the beach is now included in the iron.
This cup has a flat piece of beach copper in it:-
And this has some copper nails that featured in a post in January:-
The heat of the iron has melted the copper through to the outside of the cup.
Looking back to the sunny day when I took pieces down to the Fisher Gallery in Pittenweem.
Their summer show opens tomorrow, June 24th 2017.
These are the six pieces they will be showing, so if you are in Pittenweem for ENOS, or any other reason, maybe just pop in and see them.
A bit of tidying still to do for ENOS Open Studio tomorrow. I’ve opened up part of my sitting room as a gallery, with the technical stuff still in the workshop/studio. So there’s a bit more room to explore.