Small Metals

This was the first workshop induction in the three week cycle of workshop inductions. It involved learning various techniques for manipulating of wire and the possibilities that surround the use of wire. We also got the opportunity to experiment with casting pewter. I found this workshop quite interesting, and helpful, but I felt it was a little bit basic and dragged on a bit. I thought that what we did in the three days (one workshop every week) could have been achieved in one. Having also come from foundation there were various bits that I had already done such as using a spot welder, so I found it a bit frustrating at times and wanted the pace to pick up, to be working on the more complex techniques for wire manipulation, that we then did in the last workshop session.

This aside I did enjoy making some of the complex forms by linking many rings together in a certain pattern, creating different structures. I saw a lot of what we were doing as jewellery, and couldn’t help but see the forms as a wearable item such as bracelet, or necklace. This is my practical nature kicking in; I like things to have a functional purpose, even if their form comes before function, in this case as piece of jewellry due to the intricate and delicate nature of the material we were working with.

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We also got round to a bit of pewter casting. We were a bit limited in the complexity of the shape we were casting, as we have not let done an introduction to creating a more complex silicon or plaster cast, to then act as a mould to pour the pewter into. I found this a little frustrating because I prefer to create objects that are fully 3D, using a two part mould rather that a single half. I decided to carve the shape of a shell, specifically a spiralling ammonite form, because that only bulges at the top and wouldn’t need two halves of a mould to make it look like the real thing. The spiralling forms in nature is something I am fascinated by and inspires a lot of my work. The mould worked out well after a fair amount of graft to carve a good shape in the plaster. The pouring of the pewter didn’t go as well. I found it quite tricky to accurately pour it into the hole I had made at the top. I though the pewter would be more liquid like but there is a lot of surface tension so it is hard to pour and runs off surfaced very fast. The piece acually came out alright but I thought the mould looked better than the pewter cast itself. I was surprised that the pewter didn’t provide a bit more detailing. It didn’t seem to pick up the textures very well. I thing this would be different if the piece was cast on a larger scale. I do like the precious metal effect that pewter gives and I can imagine it looking rather beautiful when polished up to a gleam. It might be nice when combined with another material like wood. Maybe if it was embedded to give it even more of a precious feel. I also began making the body of an owl which you can see in some of the pictures below but I have yet to finish it.

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