CAST: Art and Objects Created Using Humanity’s Most Transformational Process


Creation can be both practical and artistic, utilitarian and exciting. A skilled laborer can paint a house or an artist can paint a canvas. This duality is one of the miracles of casting. The process of using a mold to give material form has revolutionized art, metalwork, ceramics, glasswork, jewelry and countless other materials throughout history and into today.


CAST: Art and Objects Created Using Humanity’s Most Transformational Process [June 23, Schiffer Publishing] by Jen Townsend and Renée Zettle-Sterling, brings together the writing of seven different experts and over 800 images to create the first-ever, in-depth resource on the 6,000-year-old technique.

“Since the industrial revolution, casting’s reputation has been in decline and unfortunately, it’s now associated with cheap, mass-produced knock-offs. We understand why people think this way, but it’s an over-simplification. Casting is a process just like any other - it can be done well or poorly and be the right or wrong choice in the creation of any given object, casting can be used to mass-produce plastic toys or in the creation of a one-of-a-kind Renaissance bronze. Casting has given us everything from statuary to toilets and bricks to wedding rings - its influence on our world is hard to overstate.” says Townsend, a jeweler and metalsmith.

“All you have to do is flip through CAST to see how incredibly useful, diverse, and endlessly interesting casting can be.” adds Zettle-Sterling, a professor of Three Dimensional Design, Jewelry, Metalsmithing, and Sculpture at Grand Valley State University.


The beautiful photos, in compelling juxtapositions, let readers discover everyday objects and artistic masterpieces all created using casting, accompanied by writings from Suzanne Ramljak, Ezra Shales PhD, Susie Silbert, Joseph Antenucci Becherer PhD, Elaine King and the authors. The book brings to light:

 The history of casting and its current applications in the creation of art and objects
· The process’s impact on human existence
· The common thread between craftspeople, skilled laborers, manufacturers, and artists
· The omnipresence of casting in our lives
· That you’re a caster if you’ve made ice cubes, Jello, or muffins


Jen Townsend and Renée Zettle-Sterling are metalsmiths, authors, and teachers with an
insatiable passion for casting of all varieties.

TOWNSEND has been making jewelry since she was 13 years old. She earned an MFA in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she studied under Richard Mawdsley. For fifteen years, she has run a successful jewelry studio, focusing on bespoke pieces for clients. She has taught throughout the United States, including Millersville University, the metal studio at Dartmouth College, the Penland School of Crafts, and the Mendocino Art Center, among others. In addition, Jen's work can be seen in Metalsmith Magazine, Showcase: 500 Art Necklaces, and in Art Jewelry Today 2.

Photo by: Smith

Photo by: Smith

Her work has been shown at The Orkney Museum in Scotland, Shanghai Design Week, and her work is in the permanent collection of the Imperial War Museum in London.

ZETTLE-STERLING always knew she wanted to be an artist. She was introduced to casting in high school at the prestigious Governor’s School for the Arts and Carnegie Mellon’s Pre-College Summer Art Program. She studied fibers and papermaking at Indiana University, where she cast using paper pulp, but her real passion for casting was ignited in graduate school. She earned an MFA in sculpture/installation and an MA and jewelry/metalsmithing at the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. In her studio practice, she casts and fabricates in a wide range of materials. She has exhibited and curated both nationally and internationally, including exhibitions in Tokyo, New York, and Art Prize in her local community of Grand Rapids. In service to her field, Renée served as President of the Society of North American Goldsmiths. She is also a tenured professor at Grand Valley State University where she has taught for seventeen years.


Find more on the book at Follow the project at CASTthebook or

Connect with Townsend at and Zettle-Sterling at www.zettlesterling.
com CAST is available at independent bookstores, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and at Schiffer