No, broom casting isn’t some witching technique. It actually relates to metal work and recycling our scraps. This top photo is just one of the results from my lesson with Lexi on how to broom cast. This one sort of reminds me of a person draped in a robe and they are waving or raising their hand because they have something important to say. Who knows, maybe it’s even a ghost. There goes my imagination again!
I’ve wanted to learn this technique ever since I saw the first piece of it in one of Lexi’s art jewelry works. The day finally arrived this past week and it was time to melt silver scraps!!! Whoo whooo, what fun to turn scraps into something new to use in our jewelry designs.
The process involves cutting up a straw broom (no synthetic broom bristles here). As you can see from this photo of the broom, it’s a little worse for the wear. I’ll continue to cut up the remaining section for future castings.
These are the bristles cut from the broom. They have to soak in water for about an hour or so in order to prevent them from catching on fire when you pour the molten silver over them. These had some particularly nice waves & ripples to them which created some really cool shapes during the casting process.
You have to weigh your sterling silver & silver scraps so you don’t have too much in the pour. It also helps you to determine if you’ve retrieved all of the pieces from the straw after the cast. There’s a little loss, but not much.
Now we get to ‘play with fire’. Understand I take this very seriously, we are using the torch to heat silver up to its melting point. That’s HOT, really HOT and you have to respect it. The silver scrap is placed in the crucible where it is melted for the pour. The crucible is treated with borax to prevent the metal from sticking to it. I relate it to treating my glass molds with kiln wash so the glass doesn’t stick to it when slumping. I took these photos while Lexi was showing me how to heat up the crucible, the silver scraps, and do the pour.
The molten metal is ready to be poured into the wet straw. The straw is being held in place inside of one tin can, that is inside of another tin can filled with water. There is a fire extinguisher nearby …. just in case. The pour happens very fast and the results are these delightful little silver pieces that I can use in new jewelry designs. Recycling!!!
These sort of remind me of some of the rock formations I’ve seen here in Colorado and also over in Utah.
The pictures don’t do these justice. I just wanted to photograph a few of these to show everyone. The great photos of them will come when Dan takes pictures of some of my finished jewelry pieces where I have used them. They have a good deal of depth, ridges, just really interesting shapes.
I’m sure by now you all know what a great fan I am of Lexi as a teacher. She offers workshops and even private lessons in her home studio. If you ever get a chance, take one of Lexi’s classes. She has a list of just a few of the things she teaches on her website. I hope you will check it out and get in touch with her. I promise you, you will learn more than you could ever hope for and have a great time too. Plus you will meet one of the nicest people I know. I am happy to call her my friend.
Hope you enjoyed this mini view into the world of broom casting. I plan on doing more.
Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.