Normally metal needs cutting grinding and polishing, and days of finishing to achieve its final shape. Metal in its very making is a work of imagination. It arrives as molten so needs a mould to form a shape as it cools. Visiting the local foundry in Hayle Cornwall to see white hot metal poured into your hollowed mould, the success of the idea hangs entirely on your conception. Perhaps here the creative process is most directly expressive, whatever is in your mind is visible, in the eye of the beholder.
Further west at Geevor is a well laid out history of tin and copper production in Cornwall, from earliest times till 1990, some two thousand years. Initially from alluvial deposits the heavier metal particles could be manually panned out, later as exposed lodes were exhausted, mining went underground.
Useful in itself tin could be mixed with copper to form bronze, hard enough for tools.
Imagine the very first discovery of copper, as last night’s fire cooled,
Melted, pooled from a fire
Not for sword or tool
Polished to his heart’s desire
A mirror to show his love
Being first love’s fool
In the wrong ways of history we’re told bronze was first seized upon for weapons, but in the unpopulated early world strangers were wanderers not enemies. The trade of tin from Cornwall was Europe wide, a seeming cooperation rather than competition, as much for expressing beauty as tools.
In London my Dad took me to see the shot tower before it was demolished. Standing 50m high, molten lead dropped through a sieve from the top would form perfect spheres, to cool and harden as they fell, into water below.