Introduction to pewter casting
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: Keeley Street
Course Code: VU114
Duration: 4 sessions (over 2 weeks)
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What is the course about?
Explore and experiment with new sculpture techniques by making a sculpture from wax to cast in pewter. Pewter is
a soft metal, so it is easy to cut and hammer. It can be cast in parts and easily welded together with a soldering
iron. It polishes well to a silvery mirror finish. Traditionally pewter was used for cups and plates, but it can also be
used to cast sculptures and is very good for making thin intricate work. Pewter has a low melting point (around 200
degrees) which means it can easily be melted on a gas cooking ring. You can cast your own work without having to
use or set up a big metal casting foundry.
What will we cover?
Day one - Make a series of wax models and select the best one or two to cast.
Day two - Prepare the wax models for casting by adding 'runners' and 'risers', which are essential for getting the
metal into the cast and releasing trapped gases from the cast. Make a plaster and grog investment mould around
the wax model.
Day three - After the wax has been melted out over night from the mould, prepare and cast the pewter, then chip out
from the mould.
Day four - Clean the mould up with chasing and rifling. Finish the artwork by experimenting with polishes and
chemical patination to alter the pewter surface.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Make a series of wax models.
- Prepare a wax model for casting.
- Cast pewter from your own mould.
- Finish the artwork by experimenting with polishes and chemical patination to alter the pewter surface.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Open to all levels, including beginners.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
You will be taught by demonstrations to the group, and individual advice given by the tutor.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Students will be using approximately 1 kg of pewter each which is enough to make an artwork which can fit inside
the dimensions of a coffee cup. This will be covered in the course fee.
Participants are encouraged to bring along ideas, reference materials and sketch books and pencils, so they can
have fun experimenting with the possibilities of wax modelling. A camera is also useful to photograph your work.
You must wear flat sturdy shoes with a closed toe. Please also wear old working clothes that you do not mind
getting messy or bring overalls.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
The City Lit sculpture department offers a wide range of exciting courses that will allow you to progress from
beginner to advanced and learn a range of techniques. After this course you may wish to join a course in a material
or process you have tried before to develop your skills further, or try something completely different. We offer
courses in prop making, metal, clay, wax, carving in stone and wood, mould making and casting in Jesmonite, and
much more! You may wish to progress onto the year-long City Lit Sculpture course VU841, which helps you to build your own individual sculpture practice and culminates with an exhibition.
We are constantly adding new courses. Please ask your tutor for advice or browse the City Lit website for
inspiration. It is also possible to contact our visual arts team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling (telephone temporarily unavailable) Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm.