Oil Sand Moulds
On Saturday the 29th March Shape attended a 'Pour Performance' in the commissioning bay in Spike Island where this year's Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary Winner demonstrated two casting processes in ceramic shell and open oil sand moulds. Bronze pouring, unlike many crafts, is not a solitary activity. Aaron had enlisted the help of Jo and David, whose Bristol based travelling foundry 'Ore and Ignot' is a contemporary take on the pre-nineteenth century tradition of the peripatetic founders who travelled from church to church to make bells on site.

Bronze pouring is a craft that lends itself well to performance; the dramatic blast of the furnace, swathes of tan hide leathers, heavy metal tools of the trade and suspense…This is by no means a quick process, the key is in preparation and patience. Whilst waiting for the metal, an alloy of 80% copper and 20% tin, to reach the required 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the trio silently rehearse their movement from furnace to mould.  They must be perfectly choreographed to ensure the smooth flow of molten bronze into the casts below.

Thermostats are checked and conditions are correct. As the furnace is shut off a silence descends over the audience, broken only by a small child who, almost ceremonisly bashes at an example Kyi zis (Burmese gong) which is lying on the table in front.

Open oil sand moulds have been prepared earlier in the week by children from room 13, a studio based at Spike Island run by and for students of Hareclive Primary School. Some of the children attend the event and watch in awe as golden liquid oozes into their handiwork.

Clive Allport, Former Master of the Worshipful Company of Founders has also attended and presents Aaron with a cheque following the pour..

The now golden glowing trays are buried under sand and are allowed to cool and harden, a process which usually happens overnight but in this instance the eager audience are allowed to see the results after a few hours. Gongs, which feature logos from the computer games 'Assassin 3' and 'Minecraft' are captured on smart phones and shared with family and friends - bringing this ancient and traditional process well and truly into the twenty-first century.