During my first small metals workshop i was able to learn the basics of pewter casting. We were shown a few methods:
- Wood layering mould
- Plaster mould
- Bangor mould
- Silicone mould
- Joining pewter and copper
I decided to try plaster moulds first. This is a process where you use a dried out blocks of plaster, and carve your design into it. I used sharp dentist like tools to dig and carve out the plaster creating depth and texture. Just as an experiment i used my theme of autumn (usable and beautiful) and created a pendant of leaves, an acorn a shell. Things that i find beautiful in autumn.
Once the block had been carved i had to cut channels from each point to let the air bubble escape, and a funnel where the pewter would be poured. Once that was done i then put the carving against a piece of wood and clamped it. This is to make sure when the pewter is poured into the mould it sits with in the mould keeping excess to a minimum, which I would have to cut off.
The pewter is heated to about 280 degree C, it is a reusable material that you can melt down over again. My first casting went very well. The pewter managed to replicate all the fine lines creating lovely delicate deatil. I decided to make it to a necklace and now never take it off.
My next experiment was to push how small and delicate i could make something. One of my passions is star gazing so i wanted to re create on of my favourite constellations. The patterns are made up of straight lines and dots so carving out of plaster was tricky. The sign is Sagittarius.
I attempted the design 12 times before i eventually gave up for the day. I found that the lines were either too small for the pewter to travel through. Or the channels for the air bubbles were not allowing the air out. So in the end i never accomplished a finished constellation, however i will be re-trying this design till its perfected.