Why I work in wax…
Some of you may have already seen me sitting behind the desk typing away in the LJS office. I’m the Deputy Manager at the LJS studios and I also make my own jewellery, under the name of ‘Anvil and Ivy’. Juggling a jewellery business and a job can be tricky, but I wouldn’t change a thing!
Before I discovered wax carving as a technique, a lot of my work was very heavily inspired by geometry and architectural structures. I would make three or four component parts and then create a collection using various combinations of them. I love constructing pieces using sheet and wire but have always felt that there are certain restrictions when it comes to design.
Pieces from Sophie’s hand fabricated geometric collection by Anvil and Ivy.
I was bought a wax carving class a couple of years ago for a birthday treat. From the first session I knew I had found my ‘thing’. The freedom of being able to create literally anything really excited me and before the end of the three day course…I was hooked.
As a result of this new medium, my work has become a lot more organic and sculptural. Wax carving is essentially the removal of waste material in order to leave behind the desired shape. I must admit, it was tough for me to get my head around the whole process at first. I spent a lot of time at the start carving away too much material and cutting off bits that weren’t meant to be cut off…oops! Like everything, it got easier with practise and an awful lot of experimentation.
Sophie creating some new wax carved pieces for her collection.
Wax as a material is really fabulous to work with. Sawing is a breeze, filing is easy on the hands (it’s also a lot of quicker to remove material than in metal, which is really rewarding) and the fact that you can melt, shape and carve a small block of wax into something totally wearable still amazes me every time I get my castings back. Obviously the castings still need to be finished and polished, so traditional metalwork techniques come into play in order to achieve the desired finish.
A selection of Sophie’s pieces ready for casting.
As a whole I generally enjoy the process of jewellery making so much more now that I use wax to create my designs. I’m an advocate of wax carving and will always encourage LJS students to give it a go!