After lots and lots and lots of whittling she was finally ready for the next step (at this point she became a she because every time I think of a pelican I think of our state flag and that sweet mama feeding her babies).
At this point I handed her over to Dawson. He took a silicon mold of her, once the mold hardened he was able to inject it with melted wax to recreate the original carved cuff. Imagine those little play dough mold presses that you put a lump of play dough in then press together and have a heart or whatever when you open the mold, loosely the same thing is going on here. The image above is one of the wax cuffs made from the mold of the original.
Next step is to make a plaster mold of each wax piece. We let the plaster mold harden for a day then "de-wax" it by a process where you melt out the wax piece from the mold so you are left with a void in the plaster where the wax piece was. Then the plaster mold goes into the kiln to harden and warm to ready it for the molten metal.
Now the fun part, you heat up the bronze or silver till it is liquid hot, then pour it into the plaster mold. Once the metal hardens you dunk the whole thing into water and the plaster mold dissolves.
When you pull the piece out of the water it is covered in black scale (I forgot to take a picture but it looks like the second picture above just black). You put the piece in a solution called pickle that dissolves the black scale. Once it looks like the picture above you're ready to grind, buff and tumble. To get the wax into the void in the plaster there has to be a sprue (the stick you see coming out of the inside of the cuff) the sprue is metal in the end as well so it must be sawed off and all of the points of connection ground down flush.
After all that sanding, buffing and tumbling you finally, finally have a finished piece in your hand.
It's a lot of work but to hold something in your hand that a few weeks ago only lived in your mind makes it completely worth it.