Over a weekend at home, I collected some pieces of bark from the New Forest. The best bits were ones that I got from logs which had been slightly dampened by the British weather. This is because, when the log is damp, the bark lifts away from the log in large chunks, and it does not crumble away.
For this process, I sprue the pieces of bark up, directly to a wax tree, without creating a wax version of the bark. This is because I burn out the bark in a kiln overnight, and when properly dry, I have found that the ash does not interfere with the plaster mould too much.
It also allows me to get the best results in terms of textures, and each piece becomes a unique cast.
At university, we have an American made casting machine with a vacuum, which allows slightly more complex forms to be cast with a bit more ease than traditional pouring cast methods.
It also means I do not need to add any return sprues to my wax tree.
Here’s the results! These have been cleaned with a water-jet blaster and a grit blaster.
With the bigger pieces, I began to arrange them into a tube shape, similar to my initial experiments.I really loved the more natural shaping this had. I can visualize this as an element of a bigger piece, maybe fitted as a kind of collar to another form.
With the smaller pieces, I used the D.C welder to assemble them together, overlapping them and keeping the welds small, and on the back.
This is what it looked like from the front! I think this method is really effective and I would definitely like to continue working in this way with the pieces from my next casting.
Here are a couple of examples of how I imagine these bronze pieces to be incorporated with another form. I think it works well against the dark colour of the steel, but it also looks really effective when contrasted with a machined, high finished form.
I think I am likely to continue with this concept of assembling my work together, as I have really enjoyed the creativeness of the process.
I’ll be sharing some finished pieces with you soon!