Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Central Casting Returns (more or less)

Jan Wunsch's chain making class was cancelled, so we get to use the space at our usual time. We are scheduled a little later than before, The room is being used for summer art camp. Kids make jewelry-like things with glass beads and glitter. During class, Masha dropped a tiny peridot cabochon and a prefabricated bezel (actually it was my fault.) I spent about fifteen minutes sweeping and sifting through a dustpan full of grey filth and small worthless shiny things. Eventually I spotted the peridot on the floor after all the other junk was cleared away. I also found an oval cabochon of chrysophase, another pale green stone.

Gloria was there sprueing up a pair of her signature hibiscus rings. She was on a deadline for both of them, so she asked me to mix the investment. She put the flasks in the kiln at some time after seven, and she was done by nine thirty. I think the flasks were still red when she put them in the centifugal armature. The silver came out with with a golden hue because of the hot investment.

I guess working in a commercial kitchen has its benefits; I can mix the necessary amount of investment by feel. It saves time and there is little waste. Usually people spend time measuring the volume of water required for the flask they are using and they weighing the investment needed for that volume of water. This always results in wasted investment because it fails to compensate for the mass of the wax model. I guess that there should be a conversion ration for converting the wax weight to volume, and then subtracting that from the water volume. The investment to water ratio should remain the same. Another problem is that every one seems to throw some extra powder in to make it harden faster. This results in wasted investment and a grainy texture on the metal.

W. was there to cast despite the fact that he now has a full set-up for casting at home. He bought all the equipment new from Rio Grande. His work is difficult to describe. He uses organic materials, (leaves flowers figs and the occasional mummified gecko,) to construct winged bell like forms which are cast in 24k gold and set with topaz, rubies,amethyst and pearls.
Martin is the one person about whom I worry the most.
He had considerable difficulty getting too his car last night. Sam, the Courtesy Guard had to help him. I missed what happened, but it seems that he nearly fell, and had difficulty moving his left leg. The guy is pretty stubborn. He is a retired engineer who used to work at a cosmic radiation lab in Patchogue NY. It's been thirty years since I was anywhere near the place but it still feels like it's a small world.

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