The blue wax angel continues to take shape, but rests aside for a moment to allow time for other commissioned pieces to progress. Everything takes shape almost at a microscopic level. Perfect design is an elusive goal, yet a goal nonetheless; the one goal worth pursuing.
It is this attention to detail that gives each piece, even the simplest one, its own vibrant, dynamic personality. How can something essentially static be dynamic also? This is an art the jeweler masters over and over, with every new piece.
Since the angel has its place on the daily to-do list, at this time, lets consider what it represents. What first comes to mind is patience. “Lost wax casting is not a process you can rush,” points out Silvio. “For this angel, for example, I am working off an image the client provided. I have to keep this image in mind, but the image has two dimensions and this has three. I have to bring out movement.”
The resulting piece will be worn as a pendant, so it must have weight, yet it must be light as well, both for comfort and because this lightness is visible, somehow. It gives the piece its right presence. “At this point, what I have left to do is carve out the shape, fine tune the details and carve out the back, for lightness,” explains Silvio. “I will also add a design in the back to finish the piece off, so it is not plain-looking. I will have a good two weeks in the wax carving process alone before the piece is cast.”
While it is possible to add wax, as Silvio has done in this case where you see red beads, this adds difficulty to the process. “The wax is a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil. The blue wax and red wax have different density, but still, you have to melt wax in order to add it to a model, and this changes its texture. It tends to revert to the consistency of beeswax. It becomes sticky. This adds a challenge to the process.”
Many factors affect how commissioned pieces evolve and receive due attention. The workbench is the backdrop to an ongoing choreography of time and supplies management. One project takes off as Silvio awaits metals or gems he has had to order for another, or while a client decides on the course to take with a design they have discussed. Another project may be set aside for an afternoon, when the creative mind demands a pause before returning with the best idea to come ever closer to the envisioned, completed and “perfect” jewel.
More about Lost Wax Casting –
Curious about the Sabian logo on Silvio’s bench?