Workshop Report – Casting for beginners Glenbuchat Group March 2016
Laura Selway invited me to do a casting workshop at the Aberdeenshire Group that meets regularly in Glenbuchat. Do get in touch with Laura if you want to go along. I was pleased to have been invited because casting is ‘my thing’, because I’m impressed by the activities of this group and to try out the casting workshop that I’ll be offering in the Algarve this November http://www.endlesssummersurfretreat.com/events-groups/julia-cowei/
Fig 1: Cuttlefish mould ready to pour
In the morning we tried out cuttle fish casting, a slightly hit and miss affair, but lovely when it works. Cuttlefish are available from www.cooksongold.comor your local pet shop. If you collect them from a beach do make sure that they are dry before you pour in molten metal.
Fig 2: Cuttlefish mould poured with silver (hence the burning)
We used pewter as this melts readily and pours well. Unfortunately it can’t be enameled because it melts at a lower temperature than the enamel. (If you Google you can find ways to paint it to look enameled, which I haven’t tried.) It is a really good practice metal for silver casting, as the technique is the same.
Fig3a and 3b: Finished cuttlefish casting
Pewter now is lead free and can be used for any silver-coloured project. Pewter can be bought from www.britishtinandpewtermills.com and melts with a standard d-i-y gas torch.
Fig 4a and 4b: pewter castings
In the afternoon we did oil sand casting, which gives finer detail and is more reliable as a method. It has less character if you like more organic pieces, but is good if you want accuracy.
Fig 5: Oil sand mould just after metal pour
A kit is available from Cookson Gold or a search on eBay will give you more economic options. I also got the handled crucible from eBay. It is really good for pewter pours.
Fig 6: Opening the two-part sand mould
In my work I use a local beach sand and local clay mix that I make up. The sand is re-useable, unlike the cuttlefish moulds, which tend to burn.
Fig 7: Pewter bowl cast in beach sand mix
Fig 8: Silver bowl cast in beach sand.
Last minute opportunity to join the Denmark Experience
Unfortunately, one of the participants for this wonderful workshop has had to drop out, leaving us with a space available for anyone able to drop everything and join us. Cost is £250, which covers accommodation in Denmark from Monday 4th July to Saturday 9th July, giving 4 full days of enamelling, plus evenings. We will be organising a visit to a museum which has a Faberge exhibition on while we are there.
Jill Leventon is a designer-maker, with over 25 years experience. She is a trained teacher who loves to share her excitement about metal and enamel with others.
Come to Mid Wales Arts for a two-day workshop in small-scale enamel sculpture. Suitable for all abilities - whether you're a complete beginner or have some experience, participants will have the opportunity to enamel sculpture from their own design - suitable for indoors, or outside use. You'll make forms and use coloured glazes to bring your ideas to a 3D form.
Cost: £140 for the two days, covering all basic materials and Jill's expert guidance. A healthy, buffet-style is available for £7.50 with organic and homemade food.
Accommodation is available at the centre. Course runs 10am - 4pm both days.
My thanks to all of you who responded to my request for post conference feedback. It was probably the last thing you needed to find time for after unpacking and deciding where to go next with any new skills developed in the workshops! I will not attempt to summarise here all the points made, but assure you they will all be reported either to the venue or the Exec committee, as appropriate. Your comments are valued in our aim to continue to improve the conference weekend.
The many compliments about the speakers, masterclass and tutors are much appreciated. The main consensus was that Reaseheath is worth returning to at some future date, despite the spread out nature of the site proving problematic for some (shame we cannnot guarantee dry weather). If we do return we will try to ensure: the heating is working effectively, formal meal service is quicker, we have some sort of weekend IT support to supplement the initial testing and run through that they did provide.
For future conferences I will be: looking at better supplier signage to supplement the supplier info in the packs, more detailed advice of what is and isn't provided in the accommodation, larger name badge font, providing accommodation block plans, checking Wi-fi limitations.
I hope to see many of you again next year at Newton Rigg.
The 2016 workshop programme may be of interest to members. It's a super place, with big kilns and they make their own enamels.
The studio website (English version) is at :http://enamel-art.hu/index.php?a=welcome&lang=eng