Chasing and repousse´bowl to take new German red pitch for sterling silver ‘Lawrence cuff’

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Wato wato all

How the jolly well are you, I trust all is tickety boo with you and yours. If not, look on the bright side; this time next year you wont remember least alone care eh :/

It has been a while since I have tried to make something, back to regular work now, night shifts are such a bore. My own fault, should be better at this by now. The good news is that I now have some cash coming in to purchase things like the German red pitch you see here. Not a huge amount, I got it from Amazon U/K as postage from abroad to import it was shocking. I also wanted to see if it was any good before committing to buying larger quantities.

The cost of a new pitch bowl, combined with the postal charges – they are heavy cast iron after all – was, again prohibitive. The solution was to turn to my trusty supply of copper hot water tanks, sink a spherical bowl and use that. At approx 0.6mm thick, the copper was way too light on its own. Also the amount of pitch I ordered would not fill the 10cm bowl I made to accommodate it. A solution to kill two birds, as it were, was to 3\4 fill the bowl with some scrap lead I had given to me. The pictures show the block in mole grips, held over the bowl. Using a propane torch I dripped the molten lead into the bowl.

The bowl is now heavy enough to prevent it skidding about as I use it. I know the lead is not a great idea, health and safety and all that, so I decided to contain it with a disc of copper. To secure the disc I chose to use body filler as it will not get hot enough in use to cause an issue. The low melting point of the lead makes it, to my mind anyway, impossible to solder, so this was a solution. The beauty of the body filler is that it will fill the gaps, making a permanent barrier against the contamination of the pitch with lead.

As you see, Lawrence does want a silver version of the copper cuff of a previous post. I have ‘puffed out’ the ‘runes’ as far as I can on the plaster scene at this time. Next job is to fill the new bowl with the German red pitch and see how it goes.

Thank you again for joining me on the never ending journey. Until next time, don’t let the bounders grind you down.

All my very best wishes

Stu Art 🙂



7 thoughts on “Chasing and repousse´bowl to take new German red pitch for sterling silver ‘Lawrence cuff’

  1. there are often better solutions to the expensive bought ones – I dont know anyone who uses one of those expensive pickle baths they sell at cooksons, a slow cooker is bigger and works just as well, after all.

    your pitch bowl is too pretty to work for a living though (bit like me)

    • You are such fun, I wish I was too pretty to work for a living 🙂 Thank you for that, though I am still surrounded by work that I am not able to find outlets for. Its good for me to find a use for something I made, I am about to embark on a more sculptural path in the near future to see if I can make more connections this way rather than the jewellery alone. I use a slow cooker for heating pickle, also I found old fondu sets in charity shops for pennies, as long as they are ceramic of course, using these for smaller work rather than firing up the larger electric slow cooker, they use inexpensive tea lights. To the added bonus that some are scented, also they throw off great flickering light through the base. Hope all is well with you and yours, thank you for sticking around. Very best wishes. Stuart.

  2. I learned a trick from Davide Bigazzi from Menlo Park, California, who grew up in Italy and apprenticed with a master chaser. Davide casts a concrete bowl – he suggested using my mixing bowl – and makes sure the top of the concrete is flat. When it’s cured, melt pitch (I use green from Northwest Pitchworks from Washington state) and spread it on the top to an depth of 3/4″ or so. This makes a sturdy bowl that won’t run away from you. He placed it in a holder made of a rolled up leather belt that was glued together. Another cool tip he gave was to use a heat gun to warm the pitch AND anneal the metal. Have fun! Your copper bowl is beautiful!

    • DAVIDE BIGAZZI wow wow wow, for good measure wow again. Not really jealous 🙂 I wrote to Mr Bigazzi for him to partake in a questionnaire for my final year at college, he didn’t reply, I was too awe struck and embarrassed to follow up thinking the worst that he would have looked at my work and been disappointed enough not to want to be involved. He is surely one of the premiere practitioners of the art of chasing and repousse´, rarely also a master raiser of flat sheet into complex forms also, the two big influences for me, and you also as I see on your blog. If I lived in the same country I would disguise myself, make up a name and enrol on one of his courses in the blink of an eye, I bet you came away reeling and buzzing with inspiration and ideas for future projects. I feel certain that had I attended one of his classes I would be much much further along than I am at this time, you did the right thing by cutting out non productive fumbling and experimenting, like I have, and practicing perfect to start with, well done you.
      I also use Northwest Pitchworks, when I had a grant I had it imported from USA, everything you see here, on my website and Facebook page was made with the green pitch. I find now I want to try something with more support, harder if you will; I am led to understand that German red pitch is more supportive, enabling crisper lines, I will let you know how I get on with it very shortly as I will test it back to back. Also do you know how to perhaps make the green pitch less brittle? I have to keep mine warm otherwise it shatters. This also creates a problem with consistency as different amounts of heat makes for different levels of support. Someone told me to try plaster of paris to make it more stable when cold, just not brave enough to contaminate mine without hearing from someone who has tried it.
      The bowl idea sounds great, I would never have thought of it, thank you for sharing as it would be far less faff for someone who just wants a pitch bowl for jewellery, having no interest in larger scale hollow ware.
      I have always used a hot air gun for my pitch, however I have never heard about annealing with it, how exciting, I will give it a go, thank you again, smashing to have people to learn from in far flung places don’t you think. I will post a picture of my heat gun in the next post as it has a variable temperature stat, great for not burning the pitch.
      Thank you for your comments and kind words about my bowl, it really was just something I knocked up real quick for this purpose, very satisfying it was to.
      Hope all is well with you and yours where you are, thank you for continuing to look at this blog. Very best wishes. Stuart.

    • Thank you very much. Sometimes there is an upside to having less disposable income. When I was working full time I would not have hessitated to purchase from a jewellery supply company. As the saying goes neccessatity is the mother of invention. I get a lot of inspiration looking at old out of print craft books, amazing to see what was achieved without the ‘must have’ items we can all buy now. Thank you for writing, I look forward to spending some time looking at the blogs I follow, such as yours. Very best wishes. Stuart.

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