New craft sessions - jewellery making!
Just because our groups can't meet at the moment, certainly hasn't stopped us planning for when we can! One of the workshops we will be offering is pewter casting. It's a lovely way of making jewellery, trinkets or game pieces, using a process that is really magical. We use special pewter that is lead-free and sold for crafting - don't try melting down old pewter items, as they will contain lead!
By using clay (real clay, not air-drying) rolled out to a thickness of about 1cm, you can either carve your own design, or press interesting objects into the clay to create a 'negative'.
Then a wall of clay is build around the imprint, and a small stick pushed into place if you want a hole for chain or cord.
The pewter shot has to be heated gently in a crucible. For this, we used a stainless steel soup ladle. You need to be wearing leather gloves, and to have a bucket of water nearby in case of burns. We practiced pouring water with the crucible, to get the idea of how to pour accurately and quickly into a small shape!
As you gently heat the pewter, it starts to melt, and you carefully move it around to ensure even heating. When it's all melted, carefully move it to your moulds and pour - you only get one go at each mould!
Remember, the crucible will stay very hot, so place it onto a heat proof surface, and leave your pieces to cool for 15 minutes or so.
Peel the clay off the casting, and wash off any clay residue - they're ready for you to use! If you have to get rid of any excess pewter, you will have to file it off with a fine file.
The two we liked best today were a sprig of rosemary, and a star anise seed pod.
Have a look at how we did it...