The Foundry: an introduction

The Foundry: an introduction

Molten metal transmuted into robust utilitarian forms.

Our association with the foundry where our metal products are cast, Camcast, has developed organically and strengthened with time. It arose 2008 from my working with a pattern-maker who predicted a compatible fit; and indeed, they were the first manufacturing partners to take my ideas seriously. 

Their leader had the foresight to see the ways in which the Australian design and manufacturing landscape was changing, and the uncommon generosity to accommodate a young designer who was not making substantial orders. He taught foundry classes at a TAFE, and had maintained an excitement for the craft at a time when sand-casting had been relegated mainly to the industrial arena. I shared that excitement from my first visit to the foundry – the elemental nature of the process, and the controlled aggression required to release forms from molten metal, struck me as a kind of industrial ballet that culminated in intensely satisfying revelations. 

The process demands that designs held in mind and on the computer screen be given over to black, oily sand, intense fire, then grinding and polishing. A measure of unpredictability, some might say alchemy, means that no finished piece is precisely the same as another – the metal pours differently with every casting, and variation can be controlled only to a limited extent. It doesn’t lend itself to nuance, so it takes confidence and assertion with form. This is a challenge when finesse is an impulse and when you aim to imbue each object with a particular character; but nuance is best found elsewhere. Whilst it has involved a substantial learning curve, I favour sand-casting precisely because of how it informs the language of design – its controlled heft is a pleasing barrier to push up against. 

By way of closer acquaintance, we hope you will enjoy this short film by Dina Grinberg.