The funny white shapes were lumps of cuttlefish bone, just the things you pop into a bird's cage for them to hone their beaks on. The lumps are sawn in half, revealing two almost smooth but subtly patterned surfaces, so easy to carve that you can press a fingernail or a ring into the bone. Carve the shape you want to make, pop in a channel for the metal and a couple of vents for escaping air, and then tape the two halves back together. Then the fun begins (though this is the bit for which I took a back seat! I did spend a happy day dressed in fetching green Sparrows overalls made for someone much larger than me, but the protective leather look is not for me - I'm clumsy enough as it is). This is green sand (no, really), which is sand mixed
with, er, oil, I think, making it clumpy. The taped-up cuttlefish bone is set into the sand which stops the liquid pewter running out.
Here's the website for the Scottish Sculpture Workshop - lots of great things going on there!
Fellowship with Demons is nearly 1/5 typed and edited, despite Christmas card making and writing, mincemeat brewing, watching Skyfall and The Hobbit (I know, not the book, but still wonderful), and doing the pantomime and Nativity play and bird-ordering and wrapping. This year I remembered to make double quantities of marzipan, thank goodness, but haven't iced the cake yet. Oh, well - days to go yet, aren't there? Aren't there??