Resolution - New Year 2019
Year of the pig
Hard for me to believe, another year has ticked off the calendar and it is 2019AD. I am making silver jewelry, but not at the rate I previously did. Mostly because I have been experimenting with 3D printing to make the casting master models.
I have the printing working very well after much experimentation. I have a repeatable printing process on which I can now depend. The problem was finding the correct resin material used for printing the model that would burn out of the investment without damaging the mold. That too has been resolved.
I can now produce 3D print models I can cast without issues.
I have not abandoned wax for model making. The fine detail achievable in carving wax with CNC micro machining cannot be equaled with 3D printing. Printing does produce models that cannot be machined in 3 or 4 axis CNC machining. The two methods compliment each other.
Both processes required the model to be designed in 3D CAD drawing software. I have three options in my studio for the CAD drawings.
It’s looking good that 2019 will be a great year for new designs in my silver work. I have design and production tools on which I can rely. It’s just up to me to be creative! That’s my New Year's Resolution…
I am constantly refining my process of using three-dimensional printing to create jewelry objects. The road is difficult as I explained in a previous post. I only offer high quality silver work and the three-dimensional printing has not come up to my standards in its ability to withstand the casting process. The dimensional printed silver castings come through the investment process looking terrible.
It is a process all big silver (and gold) cast jewelry makers are using, so it is a viable process with the right technique and investment in equipment. One jeweler in Bellingham, Washington, Jim Binnion (https://mokume-gane.com/about/jim-binnion/) Has a solution using vacuum curing of the resin master.
Jim and I have a very similar background (Navy duty, electronics) and even look the similar in appearance. But Jim is a true professional and teacher of the art and far advance from anything I will ever produce in jewelry. Follow the link (above) and look at the man and his mokume-gane work. I don’t place myself in the same league (or price range) as Jim, but it is clear to me we have the same inquisitive mind about the “why” of the things we do and make.
Jim and I have only briefly communicated. We don’t know each other beyond that. I think he deserves a mention here in KautzCraft Studio.
I am adapting his resin cure process and will be (hopefully) displaying my improved three-dimensional printing results here in KautzCraft Studio. There are Companion Links posted in the left column that will lead to my workshop activities – Dimensional Print and Dimensional Art, Studios.
KautzCraft is now involved in some very nice woodworking projects. My vision of my work is not limited by defined material restraints. I enjoy working with a great variety of base materials. Currently I am working on some carved wood boxes or chests. Chest is a fancy name for a box with a lid. Ha!
Jewelry and silverwork is still one of my hot areas of interest. That will continue for a long time.
However, I can do some very nice woodworking when I put my mind and skills to work. It’s another craft to which many people dedicate their lives. I was fortunate to have had a grandfather that fits that description. I know that he is the reason for my interest and skills.
Woodworking is different than basic construction carpentry. I can do either. I love the skills in construction carpentry as much as fine woodworking. One builds the space where the other one is kept. Occasionally they get joined together in the same project. It’s called finish carpentry. That’s another art form that’s all about the presentation.
I suppose I could have gone in that direction as a career, but I was born a boomer at the end of the industrial era. Shop work was a requirement when I was in junior high school, but was thrown out of the high schools when I arrived and moved into their own isolated cast system of separate facilities. All I can say is, “What were they thinking?” Like it or not, trades were soon called the “dummy schools” and the kids that chose or were directed there by so called “Career Councilors” were shunned by their academia peers. It was and still is a cultural disaster. It has taken 50 years to put pride back into making things.
I pursued the “Scientific” curriculum as I found it the most interesting, but I also really wanted to be making tangible things in a work shop.
Educators of the time must have thought it would be in the best interest of both worlds, but in my opinion it was a horrible separation of manual skills and academia. I can’t change the errors made in the past, but I can enjoy working in my own industrial workshop/art studio with the mindset of an scientific techno nerd. Ha!
Back On Track
Education systems eventually realized the error as they discovered Science and Technology advancement wasn’t a purely academic exercise. Some ONE has to make or create the hardware and systems that stem from the ideas and theories of science. In fact, STEM and STEAM are new acronyms for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEAM ads Art and Design to the list.
Today, working with your hands and your mind is the most well rounded career path and “making” is the new catch word to spur innovation and a prosperous future for our next generation.
Crafting jewelry with glass enameling is a slow and a bit tedious process but produces wonderful results. It is a beautiful way to add color variation to my silver cast items. Of course glass enameling can be applied to many other metals. I hope I can live long enough to try them all.
That’s not a fatalist statement. I am not on my way out any time soon as far as I know. I am just hinting at all the possibilities with glass enameling. Surely a full lifetime of opportunity exists.
I think what fascinates me as much as the results is the technique. It is a fusing process requiring high enough heat to melt glass. It is a very hot process requiring temperatures (in the process I am using now) of between 1400 to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) .
When I purchased my kiln, I had the idea if working with melting glass, so I picked one that can create temperatures over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) if required. I have had it up and over that temperature once. All my needs so far have been around 1300-1450 F. The kiln glows a fuzzy red on the inside at those temperatures. It is a bright yellow-white color above 2000 F.
Both silver casting and glass enameling are high heat process that I love to do. It is creation from heat that makes it something special to experience. At least for me.
I am sure the pottery and glass makers share the same experience of creating with high temperature. It is the wonder and fascination of working with a high heat process and how it differs from the normal temperatures we experience in our daily lives. Maybe bakers and cooks and weldors understand too.
It is the results of a high temperature process that are enjoyed by most people but understanding (and performing) the process is a form of appreciation and enjoyment for me. It fits well with my moto, “Doing what I love for those who love what I do.”