yellow 002Our month of palo verde blooms is waning.  First the blue palo verdes blossomed, followed by the foothills palo verdes.  Now the Mexican palo verdes (which grown fast and have the long leaves, shown on the right) are flourishing.  Finally the Desert Museum palo verdes, which are in front of my house and next to the living room, flower.
yellow 003yellow 004

These photos from my deck, kitchen window, and living room.yellow 005

Wax on, wax off…

For my final project in my Lost Wax art class I’ve done a few items.

In bronze, two sea shells (one of which didn’t come out, I think because the toothpick I was using for a vent came loose) and a tiny barrel cactus. (I took a lot of time clipping off all of the needles, as they would have hindered molding.)

The three items I first cast in alginate, as the eggs had been done. Then took out the cactus (which I neglected to plant right away and as I had washed all of the dirt from its roots, it died when I finally got it in the ground) and the shells.

Poured wax into the mold. After it had partially hardened I poured some of it out of the cactus mold so that the final bronze would be hollow.

Next took the hardened wax out of the alginate mold, and did the nine-step silicone shell. (See previous blog for details1.)

After a full day of drying, the bottom of the cup has to be scored so that the portion of the ceramic shell at the bottom will fall out when the shell is put in the kiln, so that the wax may melt out at 1600°F.

Finally, the burn out of the wax and in the next class, two days later, the pouring of the bronze. After an hour of cooling, the shells can be dripped in water to further cool. the chipping off of the shell. This went a lot faster than it had with the egg crate.

Grinding off the base of the gate took the longest.

bronze 002bronze 008Then did a green patina on the cactus. (Actually the instructor did it for me, heating the bronze with an acetylene air torch, spraying it with cupric nitrate, wearing a leather apron and a very serious chemical filter face mask, as the gas is rather bad.)

Considered a hazardous substance according to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1200.
Contact with combustible material may cause fire.
Harmful if swallowed.
Causes burns.
Risk of serious damage to eyes.
Toxic to aquatic organisms.

lost wax 005Buffed up the remaining shell, rather hard to do as it’s only 1¼” long.

In aluminum I cast Olivia, famous in children’s books by Ian Falconer, a pig with an attitude. (See my comment on the book in a previous blog.2) In one section of Olivia and the Fairy Princesses she dons a tube of material and replicates Martha Graham’s famous solo, Lamentation.3

Created her first in wax, then the ceramic shell, the burn out and the pouring in of aluminum (made from melted engine blocks which had been donated).

Poor Olivia had an unexplained hole in one arm and one in her butt, which the instructor welded a few drops of aluminum onto. (My welding skills had deteriorated significantly since I had a welding class almost 50 years ago).  So I had to file down these drops, and I also tried to improve her rough complexion (neither the wax that we use nor the metals are pure, and tiny holes and bumps will show up everywhere).

lost wax 010I started with a grinder on a pneumatic, pedal-driven tool (can’t forget to first use the tool oil – which I end up getting on my jeans), then a hand-held grinder with solid carbide burrs.  Finally a grinding stone, an attachment on my Dremel (shown here).

olivia 2


Note: my son-in-law had gotten a Dremel kit from his grandfather and re-gifted it to me back when I was doing wood projects. Have gotten a lot of use out of it in this class.

Friday I spray-painted her.  Typed this as I waited for each coat to dry. Impatient!  We have to present our finished projects in Monday’s class and I preferred not to go Saturday for another open lab. (To use their spray paints and spraying booth.)  Finished painting at home.


May Day

may day 001may day 004A friend from South Carolina commented on the May Day party that I had had there.  Still carrying on the tradition.  This year two artist friends made their own vases!  The one on the left by Moira:
The one on the right by Shirley:


Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: