Caster pity party

(and a solution)

diggingout1.jpgAs I’m sitting here digging investment out of tiny little nooks and crannies in my latest glass casting, I’m suddenly struck by the immense number of glass casters whose work runs to sensuously smooth, unadorned imagery.

Do you suppose that’s because, unlike me, they’re smart enough to realize what happens when you put lots of @#$)*^#@%! tiny detail in a mold and then melt glass into it?

Do they have an innate understanding of the equation “lots of holes=lots of #@*#&$! plaster to clean out of said holes” and therefore craft huge, featureless expanses of solid glass that are easy to clean and polish?

Apparently I lack this ability.

Tell me: Has anyone out there invented an investment that NEVER gets stuck in carved detail? Would you please drop me a line and name your price?

Or come beat into my thick head the following mantra: Smoooooooooooooth and flaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

And to the investment stuck in my casting: You have exactly 30 minutes to LEAP out of my glass or I’m buying the biggest bottle of LimeAway you ever saw.


P.S. Years after I wrote this post, I discovered the most wonderful power tool on the face of the earth: The power washer. I am only partly exaggerating when I say that this tool literally changed my life. What used to take hours and hours of meticulous digging now happens in about five minutes with a power washer.





  1. Cynthia Morgan March 10, 2008 at 12:21 am - Reply

    Sylvia, welcome! (And one of these days I’m going to GET down under and visit everyone down there!)

    Thanks for the kind words. I hadn’t thought of trying cola for cleaning, but I think I might. Thanks for that, too!


  2. Sylvia March 9, 2008 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Cynthia heartfelt commiserations know what you are going thru as I am a detail person, and wished I could make myself do flat and smooth I had what I believe is devit on my new work and aside from the looooong polish I soaked it in some coca cola which will clean a car battery and with all the bubbles it seemed to help so I think it may help with the mold in difficult to get out places.
    Love reading your blogs,
    Regards form down under,

  3. Cynthia Morgan March 4, 2008 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    Well, I got it all out (finally). Whew. When I was a kid, I did a LOT of rockhounding. On a family vacation in Mexico City we came across a rockshop with the most gorgeous calcite and quartz crystals, fire opal in matrix, etc., er, dirt cheap, and I had a blast. When I got back to the hotel I needed to clean it, soap and water and shampoo wasn’t working. Then I found the minibar…turns out that a mixture of tequila and vodka from the minibar do a very good job of cleaning out rock gunk if you soak them overnight in the sink. Also turns out that emptying the minibar of all booze is not a great way to cement good parent-kid relationships. 😉

  4. gary brown March 4, 2008 at 7:18 am - Reply

    I was thinking of the waterpiks, too. My rockhound buddies use that to pop nasty gunk out between crystals. A soak in LimeAway ™ and a waterpik (tm?) should help. If you want to get nasty, maybe a soak in Oxalic Acid…though that stuff is not too good on your skin!

  5. Cynthia Morgan March 3, 2008 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    Charlie, now THAT’s an idea, and there’s a car wash not too far down the street. I’ll just strap the daggone thing to the roof of the car and…

    Actually, Linda Ethier introduced me to waterpiks as casting tools and I’ve gone through two of them since then. Absolutely adore the way they clean (and also the way they tend to, er, immerse me in my work on a hot summer day). There are some tiny stubborn bits that even a waterpik or compressed air can’t help, though, and there I am… 😉

    Well, even more actually, I should just put up and shut up. This is part of casting, even if it’s the part I don’t much like…

  6. charlie March 3, 2008 at 11:45 am - Reply

    would high pressure water work? perhaps a trip to the car wash with an experiment is in order.

  7. Cynthia Morgan March 3, 2008 at 8:32 am - Reply

    If Fred can help I’m in his debt forever. In this case it’s just plaster-silica with no additives. Actually, it’s not THAT hard to get out, just takes lots of patient and gentle scraping and I’ve got other things to do (like make a living). I’m fabulous on the creative side of glass, but the “it’s out of the mold so NOW what do you do with it” part is plain hard work, not all that creative, and drives me nuts. Unfortunately, my, er, ahhhhrtistic vision thing seems to run to tiny detail. If I’d been asked to cast a Libensky/Brychtova piece I’d probably wind up covering it with vines and little people and such…and 20 years later still be digging out the plaster. –sigh–

  8. gary brown March 3, 2008 at 7:20 am - Reply

    What’s the investment made of, for the most part? Plater of Paris? Lemmee know and I’ll ask Fred if he knows of any less-than-hazmat solvents that would work better than LimeAway ™. That chemistry degree of his should be worth something…


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