It turns out the word 'wax' is actually an archaic word that means "to grow". So it seems this mound of wax shavings covering my desk lately holds more meaning than meets the eye. I've been researching and reading and watching and learning everything I can get my hands on about lost wax casting for years but it wasn't until Dawson (quit his day job) and joined me that we were able to make this waxy dream a reality.
Until now I've used a method where I start with a medium that consists of very small particles of metal (bronze) mixed in with an organic binder and water. The process originated in Japan about 25 years ago. You can manipulate it the way you would soft clay. Once completely dried it is kiln fired. The binder burns away and all that remains is pure sintered bronze. This method has treated me well but it had its limitations, mostly size and shape.
Lost wax casting is a method where you carve out your design from a block of wax (imagine a sculptor with a block of marble). You take a plaster mold(investment) of that wax piece, once the plaster is dry melt the wax out and you're left with a void which you later fill with molten hot metal. It cools and you're left with an exact replica of your wax carving in solid metal!! The biggest benefit to me is you can go big... The method is as old as the hills, literally, by some estimations it's been around for at least 5000 years. So there has been some time to perfect technique but the basic process is all the same.
I've been dreaming of this pelican cuff for years but with the limitations of size I couldn't make it a reality, until Dawson came along. Once he joined mimosa we decided to take the leap, make the investment (pun intended) and finally get into wax casting. We've been practicing cast on small things but for our first big piece I decided to make the pelican cuff a reality.
From here you can see my process of whittling it down to the final wax piece.
Somewhere around day 2 of carving I received the news that a friend died tragically. I came to my desk and started carving through the tears. I thought and cried and carved and for some reason right then it was maybe the best possible thing for me to be doing. It was calming, it was something I could control in that moment. I always joke that I remember each piece of jewelry by what audiobook I was listening to when I made it or what album I was playing on repeat, but this cuff will be a mourning piece for me. This work, this art, is therapeutic, it's quiet time to think, it's a place for me to slow down and heal and for that I am so thankful.
What you can't see is the hours it took to carve this guy. Layer by layer I was like digging out something I knew was inside.
The OCD side of me kicked in somewhere around here and I made the tiniest adjustments over and over and over till I got it just the way I wanted it.