Tag Archives: bronze

Low Tech Casting

Student pouring metal!

Sometimes the old ways are the best. The first weekend in August silversmith and jeweler Juan Reyes will take students through several casting techniques that have been used for millennia in, Low-Tech Gravity Casting. Not only are they tried and true, these methods also use a minimal amount of equipment, and can be easily reproduced in a home studio, or even in your backyard.

Cuttlebone cast ring shank

Juan will guide students through various mold making processes and approaches. Whether it’s sand casting found objects, such as twigs or buttons, exploring the unique textures of cuttlebone, or carving your own molds in tufa stone that you can reproduce time after time, this two day casting class opens novice and experienced jewelers alike to this fun and rewarding sculpting method. It is also one of the best ways to use your scrap silver!

Low tech casting bits, samples, and experiments

With his expertise and enthusiasm Juan Reyes brings warmth and creativity to every class he teaches. He recently took the time to answer a few questions about his work.


What got you started in metal smithing and jewelry making?

My family has several jewelers in it. As a child, jewelry was something that I didn’t want to make when I was living with them.  When I came to Seattle, I realized that I was missing that part of my family.


What do you like best about casting pieces?

One of things I like about a casting a piece is that once you made the first piece,  you can make a mold and make as many as you want.


Do you have a favorite casting method?

Sand casting is my favorite method. It’s easy for me, because you just have to have something to print into the sand, then you close the mold and pour the metal. However, at the end of my class everybody has their own favorite method.


What are the biggest challenges new learners might have in this class?

The big challenge that I notice in my class all the time for my students, is learning to be comfortable with a big torch and pouring the metal into a mold once the metal is melted.


Do you have a favorite casting material?

Silver is my favorite metal to work with. Silver is very forgiving, you can melt and reuse it many times, that’s why I like it.

Melting metal!

Bronze Precious Metal Clay

Bronze clay pendant by Gail Lannun

Bronze clay pendant by Gail Lannun

Precious Metal Clay (PMC) is a versatile metal that behaves the same as clay but once fired is metal similar to cast objects. You can stamp it, mold it, shape it. Pretty much anything you can do to regular clay can be done with PMC.

Bronze Clay pendant by Judi Weers

Bronze Clay pendant by Judi Weers

When most people think of PMC they think of fine silver, which is the most popular, but that isn’t the only PMC metal. PMC bronze makes beautiful pieces when you want a warmer toned metal. Also it is much cheaper that PMC silver making it an excellent choice for beginners who are just learning. Or experienced jewelers can work out an idea in PMC bronze and then have it molded and cast in another metal. 

PMC Bronze Clay bracelet by Vickie Hallmark

PMC Bronze Clay bracelet by Vickie Hallmark

Another advantage to PMC bronze over PMC fine silver is that bronze is much stronger. So rings and bracelets are good projects for PMC bronze.

Ready to try playing with PMC? August 22-23 will be our Bronze Precious Metal Clay: Beginning and Intermediate class. Find out more at www.danacadesign.com