Search Site

This search form uses an instant search feature. As you type, search results will appear automatically below the search field. When you've entered you desired search terms use tab to navigate through the available results and hit enter to open the selected page or document.
AAA Teachers Make Art with Fish Bones & Molten Metal!
AAA Teachers Make Art with Fish Bones & Molten Metal!
Aaron Jones
Friday, March 12, 2021

This week a group of AAA teachers participated in one of the most exciting and unusual Professional Developments ever offered at the Amazeum.  Teachers learned how to make original works of art from fish bones and molten metal… Yes, FISH BONES and MOLTEN METAL! 

Apparently, a specific bone from the cuttlefish, which is a member of the cephalopod family, can be used for a variety of purposes besides serving as the endoskeleton of the aquatic creature.  If you have over owned a parakeet or have been around individuals with exotic birds that oval, plaster looking objects in the cage hanging next to the mirror that the birds use to sharpen their beaks  is the sepia bone of a cuttlefish.  But that is not the purpose of the cuttlebone for this activity.

Artist Chase Young, maker in Residence at the Amazeum, uses the hard, brittle internal structure of the bone as a mold for creating small, metal sculptures. This mold-making process has been practiced for hundreds of years.  Similar to ancient mold-making and casting processes the cuttlefish bone serves as a perfect material for carving and is durable enough to serve as the mold to withstand the temperatures of melted metal.

First, the cuttlefish bone is cut in half and the interior sides are sanded to a flat surface.  Next, the design is sketched on the interior of one side of the bone. The artist then carves into the interior which will provide a cavity for the metal to be poured.  Once the design has been carved a cone shaped channel is created to allow the liquid metal access into the hollow cavity. 

The two halves are then assembled and secured with wire to prevent molten, metal spillage. The cuttlebone mold is then placed upright into a pan filled with sand; the sand stabilizes the mold as well as catches any overfill of the metal.  Molten pewter is then poured into the open channel filling the mold.  After 20 minutes the halves are opened and a hardened metal work of art emerges!

The channel excess is cut off, edges and sides are filed and the metal surface is buffed and polished resulting in a shiny, original 3D metal work of art.  Parents, be on the lookout for a cuttle-metal-work in the near future, I’m certain that the history, math, and visual art teachers will be integrating this technique into the curriculum very soon!

Thank you Chase Young and the Amazeum for this wonderful Professional Development opportunity for educators!

If you would like to know more about Chase Young and his artwork or educational programing offered at the Amazeum please visit