As promised, at last weeks Open Studio I demonstrated the art of cuttlefish casting. One visitor came to both demonstrations and others travelled from as far as Seddon and Hawthorn, spurred on by my interview with Hilary Harper on her breakfast program 774 ABC Local Radio. Thanks Hilary!
Ronni who has provided some of the photos you see in the slide show said “I am in awe of your talent to use cuttlefish as a template for your craft. I am just amazed!!! I think it is quite beautiful.” Thanks to you too Ronni!
Click on any image above for a large picture slide show that shows each stage of the casting process from carving the cuttlefish to pouring the molten silver. I’m dressed in a white duffel coat with leather gloves and a leather apron, the plastic head shield protects my face from the heat. By the end of the casting I could be heard saying “excuse me, I’m just going to strip off” and removed most of what you can see in the picture so I could quickly cool down.
The molten silver glistens brightly in the crucible as I move carefully not to spill any, though in my second cast there were a few droplets that tumbled into the pumice below. You can also see the crucible holder is glowing bright red from the heat. The pumice that holds the cuttlefish in place, has also been collected from beaches, on my many trips to the beautiful coastal regions of southern NSW.
I look forward to cleaning the casts and adding a step by step guide so that you can have a better understanding of the effort involved in making my beautiful works of art.
I found a quiet moment this afternoon to prepare these cuttlefish bones for casting tomorrow. Tonight I topped up with extra gas and we’re right to go.
Each cuttlefish you see has been cut in half and then delicately carved. Tomorrow I’ll bind them together for casting.
See you tomorrow for Day 2 of Peninsula Studio Trails Open Studio weekend . My cuttlefish casting demonstrations will occur at approximately 11:30am and 2pm. Nb. Demonstrations are hot, fiery and noisy, they will take about 15 to 30 minutes. My studio is at 69 Cinerama Crescent McCrae.
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.
I visited Melbourne last night to experience the could be spectacular ‘White Night’.
The crowds were overwhelming, as far as the eye could see there was a sea of people.
It just proves that we’re more interested in Art than the footy!
Just a thought, maybe the organizer’s could run it over a fortnight or a month or if either are impossible, what about a weekend. One night surrounded by a million people just doesn’t do it for me, nor does it give justice to the fabulous art or respect to the artist’s that made the event possible.
On the 1st & 2nd March 2014 I’ll be hosting my first Open Studio for the year with Peninsula Studio Trail. My studio will be open to the public from 10am to 5pm on both days.
The earrings above were made using a several different colours of hot glass, the process is called lamp working. In my studio you’ll be able to see the different colours that make up these beautiful beads and learn about the time and work that goes into making the very stylish jewellery I produce.
I’ll be performing several special technique demonstrations over the weekend including some cuttlefish casting. If you don’t want to miss out on the action drop me a line for further details or call me on 0413 304 013.
I received this wonderful feedback from a customer recently that I wanted to share with you.
I just wanted to let you know how much I love the glass bead earrings I purchased from you. Everytime I wear them, which is pretty often, I get great comments about how beautiful and unique they are. I’ve told everyone who comments about your Etsy online store and delightful studio.
It was a superb day at Point Nepean Quarantine Station today and Portsea Markets. The market was very popular with many travelling from Melbourne and even Bunyip I heard, to come to this very successful event.
It’s possibly the most scenic of all the Craft Markets Australia markets, just position perfect. If you missed out look out for the next one in November, meanwhile there’s always Red Hill Market, and from April I hope you will come and join me there.
Despite the heat wave that is blasting Melbourne, rest assured a glorious market day of 25 degrees can be had this weekend at the Portsea Market, Point Nepean National Park. You will find me at site 52 with a beautiful sea view (just like my studio).
Today I’ve been busy etching and cleaning beads to arrange into a few more earrings and pendants to tempt you on Sunday.
I am also pleased to announce that I can offer PayPal payments and Credit card processing to make sure you don’t miss out, though I always prefer cash.
It’s almost Christmas, and you still haven’t found that special gift for your friend or loved one, you’re not alone. No need to panic, I have a selection of beautiful handmade glass bead earrings, pendants and necklaces combined with gold or silver findings for you to choose from.
My studio gallery will be open this Sunday 22 December from 11am – 4pm. Please feel welcome to come and browse at your leisure.
You’ll find my studio gallery at 69 Cinerama Crescent McCrae VIC 3938, on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. Please phone 0413 304 013 or 5981 2131 if you are unavailable on Sunday and would like to make an appointment.