Clachtoll Broch residency

I went back to Assynt for a week in May; and the weather was kind, so lots of work was done.

With the invaluable help of Nigel Goldie, we got the Community Bronzes installed in the bedrock around the Clachtoll broch. A lot of lugging in and out of generators, drills, glue and the bronzes themselves was involved. I had agreed which rocks were outside the historic area, but on land where we had permission, and Nigel did the drilling and glueing.

bronesClachtoll1I’m hoping that they will weather and patinate over the years, I started the patination process with sea water and beeswax resist. They are mainly on the Stoer approach, but there are a few on the Clachtoll side. So if you are on the site do try and find all forty four of them.

The main group of thirty-five include all the ones designed and carved in beeswax by the Clachtoll school pupils at a workshop in the Glen Canisp art studio. They also did pewter casting in sand, the same process as Iron Age casters would have used, and which I used for these bronzes (although in updated materials). Please refer to earlier posts for more on the bronzes.

Thirty five is the estimated size of the extended family group who lived in the broch at any one time. The design choices reflect the range of ages and interests of the people involved, a local community working together.

bronzecombCan you find the bone comb? Maybe a plan of the broch? A panda or a Pod?

It’s a great collection of designs and styles and I hope it’ll give visitors to the broch pleasure, stimulate ideas and trigger narratives; celebrating the local community and the people who have been involved in the broch project.

Perhaps some people will think of the metalwork and how the broch residents will have traded for cast bronze products, even if they didn’t smelt and cast bronze themselves.

bronzebee

Advertisements

Iron Age bronze working

We had such fun at the final public event for the Clachtoll Broch project.

furnaceboyd

Uist Corrigan (who is now at Edinburgh College of Art) joined me and some local folk and volunteer archaeologists. (That’s Uist keeping an eye on the furnace)

recording

We had the bellows from SSW and built the furnace using local clay, sand and horse dung.

bellowsglencanisp

glencanispfurnaceaWe had some local charcoal courtesy of Chris (although most of it came from the Chinese wholesalers in Dundee). Heather Fulton took loads of photos, some of which I’m using here.

We started before dusk and did the final copper smelt of the project.

Katbellowsglencanisp

Just about everyone helped with the bellows, it’s not so easy, but it’s sociable, thanks all who joined in.

We cast the two community bronzes which were lost wax cast.

meltoutglencanisp

This is burning out the wax.

lostwaxpour

Pouring the bronze and, below checking out the crucible for the next pour.

lostwaxstu

One of the bronzes was a bear foot print, designed by Bill.

bearBZBill

I had spent the previous week preparing the waxes, adding runners and risers and then  dipping them in a clay slurry mix to build up layers of mould which was then finished by enclosing in a cob clay with a pouring funnel.

waxdipclachtoll

We kept the furnace going (and the bellow workers) to pour the last bronzes – One closed oil sand 2-part mould, an open sand box with local sand and clay mix; and a closed 2-part mould (although we ran out of bronze in the end)

furnacesandmould

Most people went up to hear Gordon’s talk, but I’d promised Mandy Haggith that we’d try a copper alloy. So we switched to the hand blower to melt the copper, including from the local smelting, and added some tin grain to get a very local bronze alloy.

The open sand mould was Roz’s bird over waves design; and the closed one Stuart’s panda:-

The next morning I said goodbye to the Art Studio for 2018 and headed back to my studio to finish the final bronzes.

studio

My thanks to everyone for making the Clachtoll broch art project such good fun.

NEOS packing list 1

dambowlburr

Just taking some quick pictures before packing my pieces for North East Open Studios (NEOS) which previews next Friday. The work will be displayed at Art in the Buchat. Glenbuchat. Do pop along if you are in the area.

dambowlburri

This is a damascus steel bowl on a burr wood stand, it’s so tactile.

Pittenweem Arts Festival 2018

PFA2018i

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.

PAF2018iv

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

PFA2018ii

The allure of copper – Stone to Bowl

copperbowl2018

Alongside the traditional copper casting project I have done a copper/silver cast; using plumber’s copper and silver.

copperpourjuneiicopperpourJunei

and two-part sand moulds. This is partly sustainable, with all materials being recycled; but the heat used is gas.

copperpourJune

copperbowl2018i

One of the pieces sold unfinished at ENOS 2018. The bowl has a metal ‘pebble’ inset, a blue heat patina and is almost clean copper on the exterior because I used a different greensand on the outside.

Some learning – try different sands to give cleaner surfaces but retain textures, cost in the silver, keep experimenting, copper is an attractive metal although challenging to work with.

Iron Casting photos from Studio RoRo

I have some great photos of the Iron Pour that Steve and I supervised at SSW, thanks to Ross Fraser Maclean of Studio RoRo

ironpourixA view into the inferno

ironfurnaceiThis is George Beasley lighting the furnace for his demonstration run.

ironpoureThis is the team discussing roles, the furnace is running on blown air to maintain and build up heat having been lit with the gas torch.

ironpourivAdding coke to the furnace onto a charge of scrap iron. The iron scrap melts and drops down to the bottom of the furnace. It is then tapped from the bottom into a crucible for pouring.

ironpourviiHeating the crucible ready for it to receive molten iron for pouring into moulds.

ironpourviiiYvonne taking notes for the log so we know how the furnace is running.

ironpourxiMolten iron tapped from the furnace flowing into the crucible for pouring

ironpourg copyAndrew and Uist pouring iron

ironpourfMy sand moulds with clay along the joins to minimize the amount of burning to the boxes.

ironpourcEden and I checking how the beach-sand moulds held up

ironpourdDropping the bottom when the last tap has been used. This coke can be cleaned and reused.