Windswept beach sterling silver ring (cuttlefish cast) © Katrina Newman
‘Windswept beach’ sterling silver ring (cuttlefish cast) © Katrina Newman

It’s on again this weekend my studio is open to the public.

As part of this special event the “Peninsula Studio Trail Open Weekend‘ I will also be demonstrating the technique of cuttlefish casting on Sunday 2nd March 2014.

Expect to fill your senses with the touch of cuttlefish, the smell of gas, the heat, and the noise of the torch.  After a simple cast I can be soaking in perspiration despite wearing protective clothing including leather gloves and a leather apron made for me by a friend who witnessed the casting and immediately came to the rescue with the protective apron.

it really is very simple technique… I start by cutting the cuttlefish in half, then I carve out a basic design, join the two cuttlefish halves together with binding wire, before heating the silver in a crucible and pouring it gently into the cast.

It’s adrenalin pumping the process of filing your cuttlefish mould.  There’s the noise of the gas torch that is almost like a jet engine, the sweat that pours from my body, as it can take quite awhile to melt the silver or gold, and the moment when your nervously holding the crucible of molten metal and pouring it carefully into your cuttlefish.  I admit there have been a few misses, and with an audience on Sunday my hands are more likely to tremble than ever before.”

The result is a very rough cast.  At this stage I take the piece  to my studio bench and spend many hours cutting back the very rough finish.  I start with files and then move on to various grades of emery paper. The last stage is polishing with a tripoli and then a rouge compound to produce the final stunning quality works of art, that you see for sale in my Etsy shop and in my studio on the weekend.

My rings and pendants demonstrate a very modern approach to an ancient technique, representing both a primitive and personal response to the environment. It is no coincidence that these pieces are representative of the sea and its sands and objects that can be found on its shores.

The Peninsula Studio Trail of which I a member and recently elected President was established in 2009 as an artist’s initiative. It is a diverse and gifted group of 25 artists specializing in a range of mediums including ceramics, painting and printmaking, photography, gold and silversmithing and glass art.  Many of the artists are happy to show the techniques they use that make their art so special over the weekend. Artist’s studios are open from 10am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday 1st & 2nd March. See http://www.peninsulastudiotrail.org for more information on the artists that are participating this weekend.

My studio is located at 69 Cinerama Crescent McCrae and will be open from 10 – 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Posted by:Katrina Newman

Contemporary jeweller/ artist/ gold and silversmith

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