Learning How to Carve Wax for Jewellery Design
What made you try lost wax casting?
Honestly, I have no idea. I don't remember finding out what it was at all. I had done a jewellery course in Dorset about a year before where I had learnt about soldering, setting stones and how to work the silver but there was no mention there about using wax as a material to make jewellery. I am sure I was pottering about on the internet or Instagram and came across some designers I liked, researched a little, found lessons and booked them.
Do you have a back ground in carving and sculpture?
No, I studied Textile design at Falmouth University and there was a brief unit on 3D design in the Art Foundation year but that was it. The first time I tried to carve something was in my lesson at The Bricks.
Where did you learn to carve wax for jewellery design?
I headed to London for a crash course in wax carving with the master Freddie Grove at his shop/studio; The Bricks on Brick Lane. He packed my brain with everything I would need to get started; advise, demonstrations and techniques. After a couple of hours sent me away with the very accurate observation "you either have it or you don't" and a shopping list.
The tips and advice were invaluable. The next step was practice and learning how to understand and work with the wax. I bought tools when I could afford them and started to experiment. Some pieces were a complete failure but I learnt from each one, from looking at textures and different ways to treat and work with the wax to achieve new textures when the designs were cast in silver.
When did you know you "had it"?
I started to feel like I was on the right track when I make the Big Cat Ring. The designing felt external in a way, as if the creature was in the wax and I just had to reveal it, which felt amazing and was so much fun!
It really clicked when I was up in London again and showed Freddie the Big Cat Ring and he was impressed. As it was only the third piece I was happy with and he seemed surprised and liked it.
I am still learning and experimenting every day. Some days I get a little frustrated that the collection isn't perfectly curated and planned out, that there isn't a story and the pieces don't look like a classic collection but when I am making them it doesn't seem so important. Texture seems to be my big interest and when it comes to animal jewellery making sure there is a strong character and emotion in the designs. For now I am going to keep exploring the designs and techniques, keep taking on new challenges, learning and improving every day.