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 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.
This is a silver charm bracelet that I finished for Christmas. It’s a commission for a friend with a piece from the Thames foreshore, from the beach in Fife, a witch stone from New Zealand for luck, a silver threepence and a part of an old earring. So it’s quite special, includes lucky amulets and each piece has a story. I plan to do more for Valentine’s Day.
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.
Some lovely pieces were made by the people at my workshop yesterday, a super eye for design.
I’ve since made a couple more pairs like these earrings as I think the colour and design is good (shame about the photo)
Some of the participants busy making.
Pittenweem Arts Festival continues until Sunday, pop by and see me at Venue 53 if you are in the area.