Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Making of a Special Lost Wax Cast Pendant

What's the plan Stan?  I need money to be able to offer Daisy the help she needs...we don't have it.  But I'm able and some what talented so I'm going to do what I do best - create.  I've also decided to do something I've never done before - ask for help.   I'm doing both.  The Etsy site will bulk up, I will put unused/ slightly used lampworking tools in the garage sale of LE and in some other forums, I will open a Go Fund Me account for anyone interested in donating their coffee money, and I've created a special something people might be interesting in purchasing besides my beads.  If I have to finance her surgery I will find a way and deal with it.  I did go to the breeder and insisted she return my money - she did.  We are now $500. to the good side and $5000. left to go.

When I decided to write this series of blog posts concerning why I decided to make this special pendant (and explain what's gone on here on the home front) it occurred to me that I've shown you the sculpted wax pieces for my lost wax castings but not the entire process.  Occasionally I have even shown the finished pieces, when I remember.  But really, I don't think I've ever totally taken the whole ride in one post. And this post might not get us all the way there either (I haven't shown the melting/pouring the metal stuff) but I have taken some photos this time.   It was important to me to show you that, as always, I am the artist on these pieces and I've explained why this one is so important to me. 

Maybe this one incident, in a plethora of unfortunate circumstances is thee thing where I can do the most to determine a positive outcome.  

I know I appreciate purchasing something that I know a little of the back story about.  I would always prefer to know the artist or the story as to why they created the piece.  It means more to me when I feel a connection to the work.  Then, if someone compliments me on it and I share the information and it's like we have this secret, or a history.   Most of us like to do this as we engage with other women over a compliment, don't we?

This is the technique and my half decade history of posts are the documentation behind the creation of the "Daisy Pendant".  I feel the wearing of this spring and flowering symbol and the telling of it's story will fill it's owner with a great sense of the personal power and the peace that comes with having impacted the life of living being.  And boy oh boy do we need a village to pull this one off for Daisy.  I'm a big supporter of RAOK (random acts of kindness) but in this case I'm asking people to pitch in with money and to perpetuate this request for some help.   I not good at telling our story and I've never been good at asking for help from anyone but the almighty.  Are any "only" children good at that?  

Please feel free to repost this story - rewrite it - mention it on your blogs, Facebook pages, shout it from roof tops and your comments and so on.   She's a worthy puppy, a joy who didn't ask for this.  And her furbaby parents would really like to help and so we're putting our story and hers out there.

This is how I made Daisy her pendant -
I start with red wax - it is an injection wax, bagged sold in dollops.  I melt it into a tin for my convenience.  My tools are heated over an alcohol lamp or I use a wax pen. 
The Daisy drawings are sitting under a heat proof rubber counter saver used for hot glue guns.  It has enough tooth to hold the wax in position as I build up the design.  You can see through it too so it's easy to slip a design under it to give you some guidance.  I built a daisy and popped it loose from the backing and went about making a wax circle to attach under the dimensional daisy. 
After that the really tough work began.  I had to sculpt the pattern to make sure it showed up.  Lines in the petals and an indication of the center of the flower.  It's very time consuming as you clean up these areas - heat - polish - dig a little more.  Back and forth and back and forth, off and on for several days.   Think of picking wax on a candle - it rolls up - sticks to stuff - grrrrrrr.  When I finally arose at what I thought was the final design I let it sit a day and then went back to it to make sure. 
At that point I decided it would need a nice jump ring solidly attached so it would hang right on a bail for a necklace or keychain.  A bail on the back would have limited it's use but a bail on the top would extend it - decision made.   I used a blue wax wire for this - it bends easily so it's good for this step.  Bend it in a circle - wax the split and attach.  Sounds simple?  Not so simple, but necessary.
Following a final inspection I decided that I wanted everyone to know I hadn't just ordered this pendant somewhere on-line.  That it was a true original and once my goal is accomplished they will never be remade again.  I signed the back with my studio name and added a paw print in honor of Daisy.  The next step is to put wax sprues on the final piece - You will see them in the first photo where the piece is all in metal.
After it's sprued, it's invested with a plaster.  The plaster dries and the wax is burned out of the flask (the metal pipe that surrounds the plaster).  It now contains the voided image (it's why it's called lost wax casting).  In the void is where the molten metal is poured.  I use a vacuum caster.  Once that is complete and you have the object in the metal you begin all of the sawing, grinding, and polishing.  Voila' - a finished piece of work. 
This is a simplified version of the process but I think with the photos you get the idea and there are much better explanations for lost wax casting on U-tube or other places on-line. 
In honor of our Daisy - this is her pendant.  All proceeds from the sale of this pendant (on Etsy) and from her GoFundMe site will go for her surgery.  We have 4-5 months to raise enough to schedule her surgery. 
Please help if you can -
Lampwork, etc. (check in Garage Sale)
(it will take me a few days to get these photographed and posted but they'll be there by Wednesday)
Thanks for listening to my story and letting me express it all.  I had really thought this was all past and I had leapt over the chasm of emotions from that period of our lives.  At least I did - until Daisy's medical issue hit and I finally figured out I hadn't grieved for all those life altering events.  What was I thinking? All those years of counseling for a living and my big shot self thought I could skip a few steps.  Lesson learned!  Leave it to a loving animal to bring you full circle and cause an emotional healing - now I just have to heal her too.   
: - )  Sharon 



Jean Wells said...

Contact me. I want at least one. I'm so sorry about Daisy. I'm so glad you demanded your money back WITHOUT giving the pup back. This is a successful surgery most of the time. It will get better.


Lela said...

Well we learn something every day, or so they say! I had no idea you did lost wax casting. That's so cool & just another thing I'd like to add to my jewelry making experience. I love the pendants!

And we're all *cheering* for sweet Daisy & her surgery/recovery!


Susanm said...

As a dog lover, I am happy to have the opportunity to help Daisy, even a little bit. Thank you to you for resolving the dilemma of what to get a couple of my closest friends for their birthdays.