Monday, July 6, 2009

Heavy Metal

I'm taking a metal smithing class each Wednesday morning this month with Elaine Weisman. Not only does she know practically everything about working with gold and silver (she has an MFA - Master of Fine Arts) but she has the patience of a saint. 

The classes are freewheeling. You decide what you what to learn and Elaine spends time with each of the five students on a specific task. At the first class on July 1, I learned how to work with sheet wax to make an object ready for casting in precious metal. Specifically, I made a cone model for use when I make my multi strand necklaces. The wax comes in different gauges (thicknesses) and you can bend it with your fingers and/or heat the "dentist" tools that you use to work with the wax in the flame of an alcohol lamp. With the heated tools, you can join pieces of wax, dribble liquid wax, make marks in it, etc. 

Sheet wax lends itself to very organic forms - the kind I love so much.

Here's are pics of the wax cones I made, one embellished with leaves and one with stars.  You'll have to make a very large leap of faith to see it in gold or silver :) (I also show the wax tools and a brass store bought cone on one of my necklaces so you can how they are used.)

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