A project that my Mistress, the Countess Ro Honig von Sommerfeldt, challenged me to use my knowledge to create an award for the realm. She observed that the Consort’s Order of Courtesy traditional regalia of a white embroidered glove was not always apt to a persona that did not wear a belt. She invited me to examine the obstacle and fashion an alternative to the traditional. What I have created is a photo essay of the processes used to create the alternative. I hope that you enjoy the process journey. Please feel free to post any any questions or feedback.
We start the journey at the end with the finished examples.
To begin at the beginning with the first wax carving. I used an outline of the award design to create a template to start the carving, adding depth and detail to the wax models. When I reach a certain point i determine to “save my progress”, by creating a mold of the carved wax. Knowing that I will want multiples but not desire to carve each one in wax the mold will be used to duplicate the progress.
Next we start to work on the roses that will be inset. They are to be copper that is acid etched to be able to champleve and enamel. Fist step is to use PNP blue to resist the design on the copper discs. This is analogous to a wax or resin resist that would be painted on, but I lack the talent for painting tiny designs and use technology as my apprentice, or collaborating artist to help me achieve the desired result of the step. They are then soaked in ferric chloride acid to etch the copper.
Time to reproduce the wax hand models using the silicone mould we mentioned earlier. The copper etched roses are placed for scale confirmation.
Here we begin the enameling process of the roses. Because I wanted several different colors I chose to torch fire each color individually, starting with the blue petals, the tiniest of green leaves, then the gold petals, and followed ny a transparent seal to create a level finish.
With the enamel completed, each rose must be cut and filed from the disc. As each is individual, they are numbered for identification and orientation.
The identification is matched up to the corresponding wax hands. Each individual rose is then traced an a recess is created for the rose to fit in.
Preparing for casting, sprues are attached and the hands are connected to the tree. The trees are placed into the flasks and investment plaster is added to completely envelope the wax. I use a vacuum chamber to help eliminate any air bubbles that could translate into inclusions on the final metal version.
Once the plaster is cured the wax is burned out, first in lower temp (~500 deg F) toaster oven, and then later the hotter(~1400 deg F) furnace. The fine silver is prepared for melting and dual furnaces are employed; one to melt the fine silver, the other to maintain the plaster moulds at temp, until the fill pour is ready.
The sprue trees come out of the plaster and are cut away from the hands. The scrap ready to be cleaned and re-melted for the next project.
Some serious clean up is required. We have some severe pitting inclusions on a few of the hands and will take some extra work to correct with files and varied grits of sandpaper including the final stage of wet, high grit sandpaper to get a polished finish.
Once properly cleaned and prepared, the hands and roses can recombined. Then we begin to add the pin backs made from copper strips and steel rod sharpened to create a primitive pin enclosure.
And here are are at the end where we began. I hope you enjoyed the journey!