Thursday, September 26, 2013

Commissioned work

I had the privilege this summer of designing and carving jeweler's wax models for a silver ring and crucifix for the rector (priest and pastor) of our church who was elected bishop of our diocese (regional group of churches.) It was good to do some wax carving, which I used to do a lot of before Borders went out of business.  (I carved tiny wax sculptures of  things like angels, birds, cats, fairies, etc., which were mass produced in metal and hung on the end of Book Thongs book marks. Borders was Book Thongs' way biggest customer.)

Below are a few pictures of the wax model of the ring in process. The ring has been cast in silver and the green wax no longer exists, because it melts away in the casting process, but I don't want to show the finished piece until the bishop's consecration, which is this weekend. We sadly did not get pictures of  the crucifix in process, but I'll show it in silver some time next week with the ring.

I started with a block of jewelers carving wax. I chose this green wax because although it is hard and brittle and can be more difficult to carve than some other jewelers wax it  makes a beautifully crisp, clean design. It's great for perfectionists!

Then I roughed out a basic signet ring shape. 

I don't know what I'd do without my flex shaft machine. It's kind of like a dentist's drill that I use to carve and file. And yes, I am kind of a perfectionist about what I make, but I am a messy worker, getting wax particles everywhere.

The blank signet area is just about ready to be carved.

The finished wax, pictured against my pencil drawings, is ready to go to the caster. 

Next week, I'll share pictures of the silver pieces and talk about their symbolism and my personal experience in making it.