Feature course – Bronze age casting

Our first featured course will run in conjunction with SSW’s continuing research project Turf to Tools led by artist and SSW technician Eden Jolly.

Turf to Tools is an on-going project looking at issues surrounding land access and environmental change and the effect this has on our contemporary ability to recreate ancient technology. Lead by Archaeologist Dr. Gordon Noble, recent archaeological digs within a Pictish fort in nearby Rhynie have unearthed evidence of the working of various metals including a decorative iron pin, clay moulds, bronze residues and crucible remnants showing possible traces of silver oxides. Reacting to these artefacts, information, conjecture and speculation and in conjunction with Canadian artist blacksmith Darrell Markewitz the project is continuing to explore the methods and practices used in Pictish technology including the production of workable iron smelted from raw locally sourced iron ore.

This weekend course will draw on these remarkable archaeological finds and share knowledge of the bronze casting methods used by those Pictish metalworkers. By using simple natural materials such as beeswax, clay, sand and horse manure participants will be able the cast small objects, such as a piece of jewellery. “Green moulds” will be made around the wax object which will be placed in a charcoal fired furnace to dry before bronze is melted and poured into them, and once cooled the mould is broken away to reveal your unique bronze piece.

Day 1

Introduction to process
Make the wax positive from beeswax
Start the process of charcoal making
Make up the refractory from raw materials and invest the wax positives.

Start the drying process for the moulds,
Finish the charcoal making process.

Day  2

Introduction to process including H&S induction.
Melt out the wax and fire the moulds
Remove the moulds and start the bronze melt.
Pour moulds and allow to cool
Break open the moulds and inspect.
Chasing and finishing.

The course costs cover tuition, materials, consumables and full foundry personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided.

Featured Course – bronze age casting techniques

Course Leader​: Eden Jolly, Artist and Senior SSW Technician
Places:​ 6 (Beginners+)
Cost:​ £205 or £225 including 1 night’s accommodation
28 – 29th July

Time​ 10am – 5pm

Booking: Call 01464 861372 or email admin@ssw.org.uk

Additional Information:

Some people can be sensitive to some of the materials used in the various processes, full PPE will be provided however if you have had any reactions to substances such as silica, oil based compounds, plaster of Paris etc. then please advise us beforehand. If you have any questions or concerns in this area please contact us at admin@ssw.org.uk .

Warm work clothes must be worn. Overalls, steel toecap boots and personal protection equipment will be provided and must be worn as directed, at all times. (Please bring your own steel toecap boots, overalls or fine particle masks if owned)

*Self – catering accommodation so remember to bring food, basic provisions can be bought at the village garage.


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