Casting a paper wasp nest

Written by: Daniel Postellon

Primary Source: Postellon

Paper wasps build nests using fibers to form a paper like substance.
wasp nest
Inside, they look like this:
wasp nest pragments
wasp nest fragments
I made some foam and paper sprues
and attached them to the nest fragments with masking tape:
sprues taped to wasp nest fragments
These were packed in loose sand (shake gently while doing this).
wasp nests set in dry sand
Them moltnm aluminum was poured in the sprues.
poured wasp nest mold
This is the resulting rough casting:
paper wasp nest cast

This is the back, with the sprue still attached>
back of cast, with sprue

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Daniel Postellon
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a child, I played on old coal mine dumps in my neighborhood, which were the remains of mines that fed the J&L iron and steel works. Although I had uncles who worked there, I did not pour iron myself until I managed to get to Herman. Minnesota, for their last pour. Wayne Potratz helped me accomplish my first large scale iron casting,which weighed 50 lbs. It was somewhat difficult to find a place to cast iron, until I took a summer program at Ox-bow, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, under Norwood Viviano and Dan Matheson. I later went to the Indianapolis Art Center for a multiple-furnace iron pour, and did a few “rolly molds” under Kelly Ludeking’s instruction. I have built a small aluminum foundry in my backyard, where I can produce maquettes and other small-scale castings.
Daniel Postellon

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