Jen, Sophomore


“When I was younger I was super obsessed with making things out of metal. You get to turn an idea, or something that you have in your head, into something real that you can hold, use.  I saw a bunch of videos and I was like ‘oh that’s amazing’ and then I got a foundry and I was like ‘oh yeah now I can do this.’ So I just took a bunch of processes that they did and mixed them all into one pretty whack design process. First, I get a sheet of polystyrene or styrofoam and cut out the shape I want. Then I get a home depot bucket, pack it with sand and put that polystyrene in the sand. Then I melt it, which is different for every metal obviously. The highest melting point I can go to is a little higher than the melting point of copper. I pour it in and it basically melts the polystyrene and creates a metal version of that. Then I wash it, cool it down, shine it, polish it and put a handle on it. If I wanted to actually use it for practical purposes, I would probably work-harden it or anneal it to make it harder, but for now I don’t use them for any practical purposes so I just leave them as is. All I’ve done is make smaller knives and things that you wouldn’t be able to buy because it’s not practical. For example, the first thing I made was for a school project actually.  I thought, ‘why not make a copper knife that looks cool?’ You’re not going to find a copper knife anywhere because it’s soft and you can get copper poisoning. It’s less dangerous than lead but it’s still a heavy metal. I was able to make it into something I could hold.”