Our first wholesale order!

It’s a lovely feeling when someone invests their belief into what you do and decides to throw some money your way! Café 1901 in Jesmond have commission Dissterkast to make 23 table planters and 8 larger planters for the toilet windows all with added colour and gold foil detailing. Cafe 1901 is situated in an old church in Jesmond, Newcastle and is a creative space that has the community at its heart. We welcome everyone to come and enjoy the space including canine friends!

This is my first bigger casting and with this comes the learning curve from rejects to faults and new issues which I hadn’t experience with singular castings as much, to sourcing decent plants at a decent price and learning a bit along the way about wholesale flower purchasing. To cast the larger pots I had to purchase 8 x 2-litre tetrapaks of fruit juice and have probably pushed myself to the verge of diabetes drinking them all! (I don’t usually buy my moulding containers but as this is a time-specific piece need be!)

To finish all the vessels gold foil is applied roughly which left the garage covered looking like someone had hosted an exuberant ambassador’s style party.

The planters look great in situ at Café 1901, amongst all the tables and add a natural/design element to the loo’s, if you get a chance to pop over let me know what you think!

PS. If you do think about working with cacti seriously watch your fingers as the finer cacti deliver a bit of a sting, which can quite easily get infected. #justsayin


Disasters & Development

Over the past week, I have enjoyed cement based triumphs and gravity related hiccups on a growing scale. From dropping my new black concrete bowls x 2, through to snapping casts due to not letting things dry correctly. So this week sees the introduction of drying racks and a proper system for drying, casting, costing and general production (it’s for the best!)

For the purpose of marketing and a few gifts for friends, we’ve bought some silicone alphabet moulds and had some real fun making letters but had great frustration put on us by the gods of the letters U, C, G and Q which have inherent weaknesses within their natural design, hence they crack… GRRRRRRRR!

And finally, we’ve pulled 3 rather nice round bowls (2 medium and 1 large) and spent ages gilding the inside of the aforementioned which are looking sublime and give of the most warming glow you’ll ever see!

We’ve found new materials for casting in the form of interesting types of aggregates & cement, touched upon using oxides for colouring and drying agents for a more productive studio. We’ve bought dust masks and overalls as well as rapidly learning the hard way not to wear your new spectacles while casting or walk straight back into the house when you’ve finished (clue: footprints) But most of all it’s been a bloody good week!…

Impatience is NOT a virtue

With concrete casting, it’s a constant developmental learning curve… This week I’m learning to stay well away from the concrete until it’s totally dry and develop a sense of patience or this happens (see image) and guess what it’s ultra infuriating but inevitably my fault.

In regards to moulds (molds if you’re from the US) I’m researching what would be the best release agent that doesn’t leave a residue on the concrete product once its released. I’ve heard all kinds of things

  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Silicone Spray
  • Cooking Spray

If you have any proven solutions, I REALLY would love to here from you!


Wabi Sabi: The acceptance of imperfection

More often than not people strive for perfection, while myself I try to enjoy imperfection in its many forms. When working with concrete and its unpredictable nature and the sometimes damaged moulds this is more present than you’d think, from dented bottle moulds to contaminants etc.

Disasterkast products replicate their previous lifeform which is more often than not a piece of found recyclable packaging.

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a worldview centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

According to Leonard Korenwabi-sabi can be defined as “the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty and it occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West. Whereas Andrew Juniper notes that “[i]f an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi. For Richard Powell, “[w]abi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.” (source: wikipedia)

When moulding Disasterkast products, the mould can only be used once before cut off and re-recycled, making each piece one-of-a-kind!