Lost and Found in Wax

Today I finally laid eyes on two of my newest jewelry pieces—an anatomical cameo and a heart ring—in silver form. Well, they are still works in progress, rough diamonds requiring some hours of careful but industrious work with an assortment of delicate files and abrasive papers. But how good to see them, metamorphosized from gaudy pink wax to durable, if rough, metal. Particularly the cameo, which in its wax form came to grief one evening, possibly due to the cat or the kids though no one's talkin.... All that remained of 3 day's solid work was a brain and bit of nose, not much more than is featured in one of the cufflinks designs. The words of my meticulous and exacting University (of Georgia) scientific illustration professor came ringing back to me, "Do it over, you'll do it better the second time...". So I did. And it was. Thank you Lloyd Logan.

When I first began to explore the possibilities of using anatomy as inspiration for precious metal jewelry, I learned all the steps in the process. From sketch to wax model, to encasing the wax in plaster then burning the wax out, finally filling the cavity with molten silver and releasing the rough but final form from the plaster. All the jewelry pieces on this website begin the same way although now I work with a skillful goldsmith, Phillip Totton, and stick mainly to sculpting the wax and finishing the metal with files to refine details when needed. So handing over the delicate and friable wax and receiving in return the same shape in silver it gives me a thrill akin to lifting the lid of my bread pot straight from the oven and seeing the pale ball of dough transformed into golden brown, crusty beauty. Christmas morning!

I'm afraid there's not much to add to the art gallery this week as paintings and jewelry all are in unphotogenic middle stages. The delicate and brittle wax of the Circle of Willis broke before it could be cast. The paintings are at a stage of tending to critical minutiae. And the silver will photograph much better next week, when they've progressed to being mounted on their stone settings. Until next week, fingers crossed for no more mishaps though if there are, I'll try to keep in mind I'm better off for it.

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