I have recently returned from a week at Dartmoor Arts Project where I was lucky enough to gain a bursary to study Natural Bronze Casting. This is an ancient technique of casting metal using a wood-fired pit furnace and naturally found materials and is still practised today in parts of India and West Africa.
Using the luted crucible method, participants created a solid and hollow cast bronze piece using beeswax for the initial model and clay, sand, dung and rice husks for the moulds. Over 5 days, we developed the models and moulds, dug a fire pit and cast our pieces, sharing ideas over Chai tea. I found this natural manufacturing process fascinating and it has led me to research other ways of creating sculptural works in simpler ways and at home from DIY gas-fired furnaces made from old oil barrels, to smoke firing ceramics in sawdust.