Friday, March 16, 2012

Glass Casting Experiment

"Secret Garden" at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2006
Flowers are ephemeral, fragile things - I built a sculpture called Secret Garden - I think it was 2006. And as I left the flower show where it was exhibited I slipped on some wet matting and broke one of the irises.

So the sculpture came home and moved house with me and more flowers broke over the course of the years.

So now that there are no more of the original irises it's time to cast some new ones and to experiment with techniques. I decided to try lost wax - foolish perhaps - but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

wax iris
So here is the wax with the copper "stem" threaded to attach it to the sculpture.

I experimented with a sort of shell casting for the investment - a mixture of patching plaster and silica for the registration layer, then building up in layers of refractory mixture and fibreglass then refractory mixture and grog until a mould was made. Then the hours of steaming - not long enough there was wax burning out in the kiln. I used some old glass - reservoir remainders from previous castings for this experiment.

Just out of the mould and still covered in plaster
I should have allowed longer at top temperature too - the glass flowed but didn't fill the petals - but amazingly against the odds it seems to have worked - a rough casting and tricky to clean.... but the spirit of the thing has survived. Time to build three flowers and get the sculpture back together.

Almost clean and ready to cut off the sprues