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a trip to the fascinating p. e. guerin brass foundry

Our class had the good fortune of being able to visit a rare and magical place—the P. E. Guerin brass foundry. 

The mystique of this ancient, cluttered factory—one of the few left in the Lower East Side of Manhattan—cannot be overstated. from the moment I entered through the innocuous store front, I knew I was in a kind of holy place, and could feel its age in the dust that lay thickly over everything able to rest in place for a day or two.

in storage

Our first stop on the tour was the storage room.

The room assaults the entrant with texture, detail, and golden light, with hundreds of brass objects hanging from the ceiling, and perhaps a thousand small compartment boxes lining the walls.

I've found it impossible to describe the room without using the phrase "Olivander's Wand Shop."

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in the foundry

Though often overlooked in our thoughts as designers, the workers here were incredibly dedicated masters of their individual crafts.

It was incredible to watch them work and manipulate the brass as if it were clay.

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the casting process

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The molds to be cast are lined up in a row for easier pouring, and weighted down with ingots that the factory has stacked in piles by the furnace.

Then, a fast but intensely laborious process of pouring molten brass into the molds begins, the workers moving deftly to avoid waste or injury.

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