Piers Watson Workshop

Luted Crucible Sculpture Casting: 3-Day Workshop




12th July – 14th July 2019

Price: $633 / 556€. To Register: Please go to Payment Page to use the PayPal link

Times: Day 1: 7:45 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Day 2 and 3: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Included: Lunch, materials Lunch is catered 12-13:15

Workshop Description:

Discover the ancient Luted Crucible method of lost-wax metal casting while creating your own bronze sculpture. During this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you learn how to combine pure beeswax, fine clay, silica sand, rice hulls, charcoal, pure copper and tin, and the heat from a below-ground-level charcoal fired furnace to turn beeswax into bronze. Working with natural materials is an integral part of what makes the Luted Crucible process unique. To create your bronze sculpture, you build a beeswax model, form a clay mold around the model, shape a clay crucible, measure quantities of tin and copper for your bronze alloy and then join the crucible to the mold, thereby creating a luted crucible. With a charcoal-fired, below-ground-level furnace, you heat your Luted Crucible to over two thousand two hundred degrees Fahrenheit, magically transforming your ephemeral wax model into a timeless bronze object. Warning, this process is highly addictive!


Workshop Detail:

We begin the workshop with a brief introduction and casting demonstration, after which we create small sculptures out of beeswax. Once these are completed, we add sprues, create the molds, attach our metal filled crucibles to the molds, and let the Luted Crucibles dry overnight. If some of these terms are unfamiliar now they won’t be by the end of the first day!

On the morning of the second day, we add a final layer of clay to the Luted Crucibles and we begin casting in afternoon. You are in charge of casting your own work. You will be guided through the steps needed to understand when your metal is molten and ready to cast, how to remove your Luted Crucible safely from the furnace, and how to invert it so that the metal flows down into your mold. Once the bronze has cooled, you will be shown the correct way to open a Luted Crucible. After you have completed your casting, you have the option to stay and watch the remaining work or take the rest of the afternoon off.

The morning of the final day will begin with a demonstration of how to remove the investment, how to correctly use a hacksaw and file to remove the sprues, and how to polish your piece. We will end with a demonstration on how to make and use two very basic patinas (brown and blue/green). After the demonstration we will work on finishing our pieces until it's time to exchange information and give everyone a chance to admire each other’s work.

To help put the process in context, on the evenings of Day 1 & Day 3, the instructor, Piers Watson, will give two presentations entitled "Bastar Metal Casters" and "Metal Casters of Burkina Faso and Ghana".


Wanting to democratize small scale metal casting, Piers Watson, practices, teaches, researches and writes about the Luted Crucible technique, a unique lost-wax casting process in which the mold is attached to the crucible creating a luted crucible. It is a preindustrial process, found in the archeological record at the 10th century, that is still in use in parts of India and West Africa, but is almost unknown in Europe and North

In 2008 and again in 2012 Watson apprenticed with hereditary indigenous metal casters in India to learn the process. Since 2013, through partnerships with museums, galleries, universities, and arts centers, Watson has presented workshops, demonstrations and lectures in six countries and in four languages (with the gracious help of translators) on the process. In 2015 Watson self-published “The Luted Crucible, a Pre-Industrial Method of Metal Casting” and in 2017 Watson continued his apprenticeship by traveling to Burkina Faso and Ghana as part of a collaborative research team formed by the University of Michigan and The Ghana National Museum in Accra.

Watson continues to explore the unique properties of the process through the creation of bronze objects and mixed metal jewelry. Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Watson received a BFA in Painting from Kansas City Art Institute and an MA in Design for Interactive Media from Middlesex University. in London, England.

The Luted Crucible technique is a preindustrial process known to have been in use for at least the last thousand years. It is still in use today in parts of India and West Africa, although it remains almost unknown in Europe and North America. The talk "Bastar Metal Casters" is about the community who practice this art form and how the casting process is completely integrated into their surrounding environment and the customs and practices of their society in a way that we, as artists, seldom experience. The talk "Metal Casters of Burkina Faso and Ghana" is about the way the artists in this part of West Africa have fused ancient and contemporary metal casting practices together, allowing them to survive as casters in a global economy.