Silvio’s Workbench – Sculpting Clay-Like Wax

Thursday, 3:30 pm

Silvio uses a different wax today. It looks like he is molding clay, turning it into a creature almost. “Sculptors use clay or wax to cast a sculpture. This is similar, but It is not the same wax I use when I make rings,” he explains. “This wax is worked like clay. You sculpt it. It works best when you manipulate it and shape it with your fingers so it is warm. Otherwise it is stiff.”


“I am building this bracelet up by adding small pieces of wax, little by little, onto the initial shape. It’s a layering process. Then, I mold it with my fingers. It is going to have a very organic feel, a natural texture, almost wood-like, but smooth.”

We are used to seeing Silvio carve intricate rings in blue wax. And remember the two-headed snake bracelet? Those heads were first carved into that blue wax. Each wax offers a different density. The wax Silvio uses presently for this bracelet, while it appears much like clay, is surprisingly light. In fact, it seems even lighter than the blue wax he uses for carving rings. Though in this instance sculpting the wax is the method, this is still called lost wax casting, because the wax is used to make a mold into which silver (or another metal) can be poured to obtain the desired shape and details.

“This will be a silver bracelet,” continues Silvio, “with a beautiful Tiger’s Eye stone set in a 22 karat gold bezel.”

silvio - blog - 0207

The Tiger’s  Eye is in the quartz family. The one a client has brought Silvio for this bracelet is from the province of Quebec, but Tiger’s Eye is found in Vermont as well. It is considered a chatoyant gem, which is a term that refers to its unique lustre. We talked about chatoyance a while ago.

To be continued…

More on Lost Wax Casting

More on Chatoyance

See all entries to date for Silvio’s Workbench

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Smugglers’ Notch Arts & Crafts Workshops

About PS MacMurray

Paschal'Simon MacMurray, the scribe, specializes in providing a no nonsense Facebook and Blog presence for small business owners who want quality without breaking the bank. PS MacMurray, the artisan, creates art on a whim using fabric, paper, beads, twine and wire. View all posts by PS MacMurray

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