28 June 2011
Pewter, Caerhays beach, Cornwall, Uk
My largest pewter casting to date! I returned to my favourite beach at Caerhays on the south coast of Cornwall to produce a solid pewter desk using the same primitive form of sand-casting I experimented with whilst studying at the RCA. The date of the casting was scheduled for the 28th June as high tide coincided with sunrise and I knew I needed at least 6 hours to carve the mould and cast the pewter before the water table began to rise again. At 4:30am I began carving the negative of the desk into the sand using no more than a kitchen knife and a metal rod and by 10:30 the mould was ready for casting. We melted 180kg of pewter (92% tin, 2% copper, 6% antimony) in 30 stainless steel saucepans on 30 gas camping stoves. Myself and five assistants (including my dad), wearing leather welding gauntlets and safety goggles, began pouring the molten pewter into the sand mould one saucepan at a time in quick succession until the liquid pewter reached the brim of the mould. The pewter took over an hour to cool and solidify before I could begin to dig away the sand and excavate the the pewter desk, and between five of us we easily managed to lift the finished desk out from the sand. The natural texture of the sand appears on the legs and underside whilst the smooth seemingly molten surface of the pewter remains on the top surface of the desk.
With thanks to Richard Lamb, Gemma Holt, Laurence Symonds, Patrick Gottelier, Peter Doubleday and 10 students from Falmouth University 3D Design department. Photography Max Lamb, Gemma Holt and Peter Doubleday.