Casting is one of my primary techniques I utilise in my practice. I think I fell in love with it early on in my studies, even though it terrified me at first using the big oxyacetylene gas torch to melt the metal down, I had a good teacher and eventually I was able to find my breath and settle my nerves to a point where I am now comfortable to teach others the process. The learning never stops though and there is plenty more to do with casting that I’m yet to explore!
Recently I have been casting objects to make into jewellery pieces and making stock (wire, strip and plate) using some of the amazing donations received.
I had an exceedingly generous donation from a Wellington family who gave me a trunk full of their Grandparents silver and silver plated cutlery along with various trophies and other ornaments. This has set me off on an exploration into researching the meanings behind the stamp markings found upon these items. Being made aware of the history these objects carry has made it a little more hard for me for me to essentially destroy them! but then also it’s exciting and slightly reassuring to think they have existed this long travelling through time to end up in my hands and will be transformed into jewellery, establishing a unique new relationship to the body..no longer enabling the user to procure sustenance but being worn on the body..a new kind of symbol in a new space and time.
A donation from a jeweller who made these sterling silver bracelets decades ago..
I utilise some of the bracelets, cutting them up and preparing to melt them down
Bracelet portion now becomes a plate that I will put through the roller mill to turn into strip to use for things like backings on brooches or fastenings.
An example of a donation of some very old British cutlery . RB= Makers Mark Richard Britton (Registered 1812) Sideways Lion= Silver Standard mark (Icon stamped indicates purity of silver) Sterling 925. Leopard face crest= City Mark London, England (used from 1300- Present) h= Date mark 1823 Sovereign head= Duty mark (used during the period from 1784-1890 to indicate if tax on an item had been paid to the crown) 1822-1833 King George IV *Information according to findings at http://www.925-1000.com/
Where the magic happens! Using the oxyacetylene torch to melt down the sterling silver..
Once the metal has flowed into the flask using the force from the centrifugal unit; The VERY HOT flask is removed and quenched in a bucket of cold water to dissolve the plaster surrounding the now metal objects in place.
Post cast/ birth- The cast is a success..All parts have come out formed and intact. Now the clean up process can begin; getting rid of excess plaster and pickling to remove flux in acid to prep the piece for cutting off its sprew’s and doing any soldering if required for it to have attachments.
After the casting has had the excess plaster cleaned off and been in the pickle (acid bath), it is now clean and ready for the next steps.