I am getting ready for a show this weekend (the Bead Bonanza in Southfield, YAY!) so I have been very busy working on a few new things. New carvings are some of the items I have been doing, I am excited to say! I have 4 new carvings, all large round pendants, which I am looking forward to showing you this week. I haven't wanted to show them too early, because it takes a long time between the point where I finish carving, to the point where I have a finished object to sell. After the carving is done, I have to fire it, and then make a clay mold of it, and fire it, and then press the actual item, fire it, glaze it, and fire it again! So that can take me up to a month, depending on how much I am driven to get the firings done. Ceramics is certainly not an instant gratification sort of process, at least not the way I do it.
Anyway, I have recently discovered, with the help of my metalsmith friend, that the ceramic molds that I make for my porcelain beads also work really well for casting pewter in. Oh, this will get me in much trouble, I think. *grinning craftily* We had cast some very basic tests, to see how the molds hold up, and they work really well. So after testing in some old molds I had, I designed a gear specifically for casting in pewter (well, I will use it for clay too, but I made it with pewter in mind) It is a pretty crude and rustic casting style so far, just melting the pewter and pouring it into the one part ceramic mold. The result is a flat backed stone, which can be drilled, although I enjoyed simply setting it into a brass setting, just like I would a porcelain stone.
We cast the piece above in my studio, with a propane torch, and minimal equipment. I am looking forward to heading to the metalsmithing supply store soon to get more pewter and things to cast on my own.