This week we visited the Collier Webb Foundry. We went by train to East Sussex, admiring the blistering storms out the window, over cups of warm coffee. We were greeted by Geoff Collier and his daughter Dannielle, who guided us around the hustle and bustle of the foundry.
Collier Webb is a family business that has been manufacturing bronze, silver, brass and aluminium castings for over 35 years. They combine traditional craftsmanship and modern technology to create an extensive range of furniture, lighting and decorative hardware, as well as casting bespoke one-off designs. We spoke to them about ideas for a sculptural lighting piece for a stairwell in the new Warren Street Hotel in New York.
After perfecting the design, the next step is the mould making. We were taught about the different mould making methods and their reasoning. Sand casting is the quickest and most economical method, but is only advised for larger, simple items with little detailing. Lost wax is used to create high quality metal castings and is the best process for casting intricate designs with fine details.
Molten metal is poured into a hard mould that has been created from a wax model. The heat of the metal causes the wax to melt away and fill the negative space, leaving a perfect reproduction of the model’s shape within the mould.
We were finally taken to the finishing and colouring department, where we were shown the different processes used to create a variety of metal finishes.
It was fascinating to see each step of the process from start to finish. The attention to detail and scientific knowledge required makes you appreciate the finished product even more.
Find out more about Collier Webb HERE.