Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It wasn't a fish all along ;_;

One of the coolest things I've had the opportunity to do this semester is cast bronze pieces with cuttlefish bones.

That's right, the bones of those adorable squid-like molluscs that live in the sea.

The calcareous internal shell of these cute creatures is incredibly soft, and very difficult to carve small details into. I ended up carving two different pieces. The first one was a simple design of a stick figure with an "XD" head.

I ended up finishing that design so quickly that I found myself sitting around watching other people carve their cuttlefish, completely bored out of my mind. We had a lot of time left before we were able to pour molten bronze into the bone, so I decided to try a more complex design. I carved a girl sitting on a dock with a fishing line (there's a fish at the end).

After everyone was done carving, we sealed the bones with wire and putty to ensure that the cuttle fish wouldn't break open as the metal was poured inside them.

We then surrounded the cuttlefish with sand in a can and poured the melted bronze into the belly of the bone. I know it's going to sound weird, but watching bronze melt is actually really entertaining. It's incredibly bright (even with goggles on) and kind of looks like a star slumping from its own heat until it turns into metal soup.

After the bronze cooled down enough, we ran our cuttle fish to the sink to break them open and to rinse the metal off.

We then cut off all of the excess metal, sandblasted the pieces, buffed them, polished them, and some of us added patinas to them (I didn't patina the girl because I like how she turned out, but I plan on adding it to the "XD" dude to give it some color).

I'm finished with the detailed piece, but still have work to do on my simpler one. Here is what I have so far:

I'll try to post better pictures of them when "XD" dude is completely finished.

1 comment:

Jess Alford said...

You always have your gloves on.

I like how well you documented everything.

I bet your teacher would really like it.

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