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.
This is my first attempt at wax carving and lost wax casting. These were cast together in one investment. As you see it went rather well. The material is Sterling Silver. There is about a Troy ounce of silver here, about 31.1 grams.
I really enjoy the creative process and plan on doing a lot more of this. It wont make me rich but I can always aim for fame.
There is an art and craft guild located here in the Dallas Texas area. They are called the “Craft Guild of Dallas” and have been around since October, 1948. That makes me not quite two years older than the Guild. The history goes back a bit farther (pre WWII) but under a different name.
Today my daughter Shel and I joined the Craft Guild and we will be taking a wax carving and lost wax casting class starting in September (2013). The class runs 3 hours once a week for two months.
Shel took a glass bead making class over a year ago at the guild and has since install a studio in her home for glass work.
We won’t become experts but I like to think we will be starting off in the right direction. If I like what I can do, I’ll get more serious about tools and equipment. This has been something I have studied and have spent many years reading books on the process. I am sure I will take a serious liking.
Training like this is good for exploring interest. What is nice (I think) is that it is not just an isolated class but an actual group of professional and semi-professional experts. It has the right “stuff” for anyone who wants take their personal art skills more seriously. There are also no age barriers.