Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cuttle Fish Bone Casting

Summer is coming to an end and Im back at school. I have just started my Masters in Fine Art at NSCAD (Nova Scotia College for Art and Design). I am undertaking an interdisciplinary approach and will be working across ceramics, textiles and jewellery. 

As well as undertaking MFA courses, I am also polishing up on my jewellery skills. Recently I have been learning how to cast shapes in silver using cuttlefish bone as the mould. Cuttlefish bone is reasonably soft and it can be easily carved, or have objects pressed into it. 

Cuttlefish bone with a fork shape pressed into it.

I experimented with a few different shapes: fork, a piece of lego fence, and a twig. I discovered simple shapes work the best (because they highlight the striations of the cuttlefish bone that occurs naturally), and so I discarded the fence and twig idea and perfected the fork shape.

Cast silver fork shapes from the cuttlefish cast

 Generally the mould has only one pour (the heat of the metal burns away the cuttlefish bone and gives off a smell similar to burnt hair). The above image shows the first pour into the mould - notice I only achieved 2 of the 4 prongs (left).  On the right shows what happens if you use the same mould again. Much of the detail has been lost. Although this time I did get the four prongs.

Lego fence cast in silver and a twig

The above lego fence and twig were earlier shapes that I experimented with. Although the fence shape was relatively successful, I found that it the lovely cuttlefish bone striations were lost and so I discarded this idea.

My finished piece, another fork, was handed in last week for marking. It was finished with Black Jax to highlight the cuttlefish ridge striations. I totally forgot to take a picture but will post one as soon as I get it back.

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