Frustratingly my lithium tetraborate had not arrived in time for the next scheduled pour, but I had been recommended several other options. Like true alchemists, we tried a wide array of fluxes. We mixed soldering flux, brazing flux, wrought iron, bronze de-gasses tablets, baking powder, and aluminium de-gassing tablets. Basically, if it had some sort of chemical fabric then we thought it might help us. The results were variable. Taking notes in my sketchbook, I look back over grubby scribbles of percentages and timings with circles and underlined ticks and crosses. I think it’s all progressive. I certainly know more than when I started but it feels slightly hopeless that I don’t have a sculpture yet. But then it’s important to remember:
“…this art holds the mind of the artificer in suspense and fear regarding its outcome and keeps the spirit disturbed and almost continuously anxious. For this reason they are called fanatics and are despised as fools. But, with all this, it is a profitable and skilful art and in large part delightful.”
– Biringuccios De la Pyrotechnia, Venice, 1559 – (talking about foundry work.)
Combining those words of wisdom with geology – one of the slowest art forms and what I have chosen to investigate – I shouldn’t be surprised that this project will naturally take a while.