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Cyfarthfa artists cast minds back to Merthyr Tydfil’s ironmaking heyday

  • Categories : Press Release
  • 18 Aug 2020
ARRT casting

Cyfarthfa Castle’s artists in residence are creating some exciting additions to the museum’s already impressive collection after building their own bronze foundry.

Allison Richards and Rob Taylor (ARRTDUO) are producing a series of bronze castings linked to the heritage of the castle. After discovering the cost of purchasing a bronze foundry was at least £20,000, they decided to construct their own by recycling materials they had lying around.

“The burn-out kiln is made from an oil drum, the crucible kiln is made from a 40-year-old electric kiln we ripped the inners out and converted to gas and our ceramic dusting boxes are made from old kitchen cabinets,” said Rob.

“We even made our own bronze lifting equipment from strip steel, plus we repurposed a whole lot of our glass and ceramic studio kit, built a store for the casting tools and created a casting pit from another old oil drum. The total cost was around £1,000.”

The first two pieces created are ‘The Lady’ and ‘The Puddler’ and ARRTDUO have also made a series of videos showing the entire process and results.

“It's still a work in progress, but we want to try to link it with Cyfarthfa, creating a union between the casting heritage of the past with an art heritage that speaks to the future,” said Alison.

“This, along with our exhibition Merthyr Tydfil - a Gateway to the World, is all about promoting an art perspective for Cyfarthfa - building on its already inspiring collection of contemporary art and making a dynamic art stream based on ‘making’, a significant strand of its future re-invention.”

The artists had been due to open their Gateway to the World exhibition when Covid-19 struck, resulting in it being postponed for the forseeable future. Instead, they have created a virtual version of it through the medium of video

“Over the centuries, Merthyr Tydfil has been a cultural melting pot,” said Alison. “The Industrial Revolution saw a mass influx of people from all over the world: China, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Portugal - a great mixing of culture floating here and being uncorked.”

You can view Allison and Rob’s videos on their Facebook page:

Contact Allison and Rob on

Website Twitter @arrtduo

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