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Free Casting Aluminum

I developed this technique a few years ago as a thought experiment regarding how I could create more detailed sculptures larger than what was achievable with sand casting.  I had prior experience working with refractory plaster which is designed to withstand temperatures upwards of 2,400 degrees without shattering.  Perfecting this method again entailed numerous failures while learning how best to coax the thermal advantage of a refractory material designed to withstand high but slow temperature increases.  There were many lessons learned developing my technique that would allow pouring molten aluminum into a cold refractory mold.  Because I am only able to melt and manage around a quart of metal at a time, a large piece such as Woman with Rose required ten or more individual melts and pours which all had to lock together as one cohesive final result.  Molten aluminum will not actually bond and fuse to solid and as it cools it warps unpredictably, so this method requires continually manipulating the mold to ensure the aluminum will flow where intended, lock together in a jig saw pattern, and end up with an acceptable result.  The final form is unpredictable and almost always chaotic.  I believe those factors impart my sculptures with their unique and one-of-a-kind quality.

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