I have created several Celtic theme silver Lost Wax Castings because they may look a bit complex, they are still rather easy to carve. I have also kept the pieces fairly large as that keeps it easy for me to hold in my hands.
This is the second carving of this design. The first one I did in green wax but it was lost in an incomplete cast. I made this duplicate in a couple of day and used Wolf's gold colored wax. It's a bit harder wax but that was not important in this second try.
You can see the wax and how it was sprued for investment. The next picture shows it after the cast and disinvestment. The last is with the jump ring installed and all polished up. The second picture where it looks all white is after it comes out of the acid pickle. It is totally clean and the white is how silver looks before it is polished.
I am proud of myself today. I made the decision to move my creative wax design work out of the hostile summer environment of my garage workshop and into the air conditioned comfort inside my home. The reason is that I am now working wax with 90 to 100 degree ambient work conditions which are not quite suitable to the medium.
In my new location I will not have to be working in the swirling air currents of the powerful shop fans that do nothing to reduce temperature. The fans disturb the gentle flame of the alcohol lamp when I am trying to work with hot wax.
All of the grunt work will still be done in the garage workshop. That includes all the metalwork itself. It’s only the master model (in wax) that will be babied while being designed and developed. I will feel and actually be, a lot cleaner with the wax design and creation being separate from the main shop. I can work on it quietly at midnight if I choose to do so and not feel that I am isolated on another planet.
I also do not want to stop what I am designing in wax and have to reset my low bench in the shop for filing and finishing silver and other metal work. At the Craft Guild the two kinds of work were kept totally separate to avoid contamination. I have to do the same.
I ordered a small jewelers bench (shown) like I used for wax work at the Craft Guild of Dallas. It will only be used for wax work so it doesn't need to be massive, but it will keep me and the wax filings organized.
I have to arrange my office for the new purpose. I have a LOT of obsolete items and books cluttering up that space that will be a pleasure to either dispose or put into permanent storage. Hmm… I think that is one and the same. The space will be better apportioned for what I am doing today and not what I did decades ago.
Here is the latest addition to my art studio. It's a mobile cart where I will do (but haven't yet) high temperature heating and melting of metals and where I can do lost wax castings using the vacuum assist method. Centrifugal casting could be an alternative but not if this process works good.
Details of the cart build can be found HERE.
I have several wax carvings ready for investing and casting. I also have a whole lot of wax projects ideas I want to start carving. I feel that I have to have the system ready for "loosing" the wax I have been carving. This is a big step to that end. I have the kiln ready and some flasks and investment material on order. Also a lots of other "bits and pieces".
I find there is a lot of preparation and tooling required when getting fully involved in lost wax casting process from start to finished item. But I love every bit of it!
This is the third lost wax silver casting I have made. I obtained a drawing of the Celtic Eternity Knot and transferred the lines to the wax. From there it was a lot of removal of what didn't look like the knot. That's what carving is all about.
It is imperative that the wax be as smooth and finished as possible. Every little flaw in the wax will become part of the silver casting.
The actual casting was done on the last night of the class my daughter and I were taking on wax carving and lost wax casting (in silver). That meant I would have to do all the silver finishing work on my own.
No problem as I enjoy doing everything there is about this process. The finished knot is a gift for my spouse, Gloria.
Let me first say I love doing this creative wax work. OK, so call it a lust. I absolutely satisfy my need for a concentrated work environment where I can work in total immersion of what I am making. It also involves a relatively complex selection of tools and processes to complete a project with just the right difficulty that I enjoy.
I wouldn’t have set still long enough as a younger man but at my age and health, it is a wonderful way to spend time. (I had other lusts then.) Each item I make truly contains a part of me through my total effort. It is far different than building a kit or from plans where I am simply duplicating someone else’s design.
In lost wax casting, I am duplicating a process other people have done for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. But the item’s existence will be totally from my effort, even if it is a Celtic Knot that has been a known design for centuries.
At this writing I am not yet great at this work but I am getting more competent. My goal is not to make an item that looks factory made. I want the look and function to be very good but not lose the sense that there is individual human effort in the creation. That will never be an excuse for lack of quality workmanship.
There is so much cheap factory made art; it’s one of my considerations when I decide to make something. I ask myself how will what I make stand apart from a cheap import or other mass production effort. What I’m thinking is, “How do I display the artist effort in the design”?
Perhaps I need to develop a personal style. I don’t know if that can be planned but I hope it develops to a recognizable degree. I think style is always subject to change as my interests do. Style could be something of how I finish or choice of subject. I’ll just let it roll.
I think this standard blog format is a good presentation media. I am not doing the detailed step by step “how-to” documentation here in Dimensional Art Org that I do with my machine shop websites.
I’ll post different stages of a development, if only for my own record and to show some of the effort required making a piece. A finished wax before spruing and casting is an example.
Expensive or complex projects would benefit from production photographs to prove the province of the piece. A series of development photos in a blog can be proof of authenticity.
If I get the urge to explain a project construction in detail, I post a link to one of my “Studio” sites where I will have all the messy details.