Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pouring molten metal

Last weekend, even though I was still getting over my cold, I went to a casting workshop at Artisan's Asylum. And it was amazing! I hadn't seen the new Asylum space yet, and it is so great. Overflowing with maker-ness and beautiful art and crazy projects and a sense of community everywhere. Like the best parts of a machine shop, a hippie co-op, and an artist studio all mixed together.

In the casting class, we melted bronze with a REALLY HOT TORCH. It was oxygen/acetylene! I am very covetous of this torch. So much so that I'm considering joining the Asylum just for occasional access to that torch.

To get a feel for melting the metal, we first just cast into water for random shapes. Then, we moved on to Delft casting (a very precise sand-casting) and cuttlebone casting. These were both methods I'd read about before and was eager to try out. Here are my first attempts at each (taken with my cell phone in class):
The ammonite on the left is duplicated via Delft clay. The face on the right was a semi-accidental shape made with cuttlebone casting--I tried to carve a trilobite, but missed, and it looked like a face because brains are good at seeing faces. So I did a bit of shaping with a file to enhance the face-ish-ness.

Seeing that cuttlebone carving can be a bit unpredictable, I of course turned to making continents. I really love the way the cuttlebone ridges lend a topo-map feel. I hope to make more things like this!

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