If you’ve got the vents for it, I’ve been known to do cuttlefish
casting for demo-days. Get some fiber soldering boards, and cut them
in half to use as the backside of the mold. Saves fussing with the
other side, and gives you twice as many squidbits ™. Works OK
with a torch, but really well with an electro-melt. Just dump a
bunch of bronze in there and pour as needed.
Big, flashy, and fast. (smelly too, but you can’t have everything.)
If you’ve got someone really interested, let them carve their own
design into a bone.
What about pouring some generic plaster molds? Not those fancy
carved things of yours, but just some basic ones? Or Tufa? The
antique casting techniques play into your historical interests,
which means you’ll give a better talk about it, since you know the
background. That’s my first thought.
Linda’s idea about fold forming is good too: big, flashy, easy,
fast. Most ‘normal’ people are stunned by moving metal at all,
nevermind how far you can push it with foldforming. Let them make
their own leaves. Get a Whitney punch, blow a hole in the end of it,
and string it on a thong as a quickie pendant. It’ll be great PR.
If you’re feeling generous and adventurous, get some 6-8Ga
half-round sterling wire, and show people how to make basic band
rings. I’ve been known to have them deliberately melt the scrap into
a ball, and then solder that on top of the joint as ‘decoration’.
(also hides the joint, which may appear… suboptimal, in a ring
made by someone with 30 minutes experience.)
Whatever you do, don’t be under the mistaken impression that what
you’re doing for the crowd should have any relation to what you do
for real every day. It won’t.
Go for big, flashy, easy to see things that result in little objects
they can take away with them.
Hydraulic pressed stuff is also big for this sort of thing: quick,
easy, and you can let them pump the jack, so they feel like they