Midland Lead has provided me with some materials for my degree show and yesterday my order arrived, two short rolls of sandcast lead. A material that is literally cast in sand, a traditional method used hundreds of years ago to make lead for church roofs, and is still made by craftsmen for the same purpose today when the steward’s have a keen passion for tradition and the church in question is notable. Otherwise a similar (yet cheaper) method involving large modern rolling machines is employed to squash the lead into the desired uniform thickness.
The sandcast method provides a unique product with two distinct surfaces, the one in contact with the sand is bumpy and pitted, yet appears soft and remains tactile. The surface open to the air is something else, it shows the molten lead’s cooling process, which causes the surface to refract and reflect the light in a dappled manner. The face is smooth yet slightly marked with erupted bubbles, it can easily take on erroneous marks and additional matter such as the casting sand.
These images were taken on a D-SLR with a macro lens.
My design for the lead (bumpy side in):-
Health & Safety warning: like a TV chef handling raw chicken, you should always wash your hands if you’ve touched lead, as it’s toxic if ingested; better still wear gloves. You should also wear an appropriate mask if you’re working with molten lead as you can breathe in airborne particles.