Thursday, December 22, 2011
Jully and Courtney melting metal.
We've always been like this – seems like we really function at our best when we have
a million things on our plate. So, during this crazy holiday season and only a few hours
after our 2nd Anniversary Donation Drive Concert, Jully drove down to Austin for a jewelry
I was lucky enough to escape for a couple of days to head down to Austin for a weekend
jewelry workshop! Every trip to Austin has its expected routines: kolaches at the Czech
Stop and catching a Counting Crows song while flipping through passing radio stations
(I swear it happens every time). But every trip to Austin always uncovers new surprises
and experiences too.
Ever since I was little, I've been interested in making jewelry. From the beaded necklace
I made for mom for her birthday, friendship bracelets for my friends, to baked ceramic
and glass pieces here and there. Nowadays, I really love picking the special pieces for
the shop, and all of the great designers we work with had inspired me to go check out
firsthand what it's like to make a piece of metal jewelry from scratch. The workshop
I attended at Creative Side Jewelry Academy focused on lost wax carving and casting.
We spent the first day learning about the different waxes, the carving tools, sketching
and transferring our design to the wax, and carving our model. At the end of the day,
the wax pendant designs were placed in plaster and heated in a kiln to make the mold
for casting the next day. We weighed and melted the metal in a crucible attached to a
centrifugal casting machine, a contraption that slings the molten metal into the plaster
mold to make the cast. After finishing and polishing the piece, the second day ended
and I had a shiny silver eggs in a basket pendant! Our instructor, Courtney, was super
nice and knowledgable, with skills in metalsmitthing, glass, ceramics, welding, and is
always creating custom jewelry. When the madness of the holidays is over, I can't wait
to take to the wax again. This visit to Austin is definitely one I could do again..and soon!
Jully's original sketch. Fried Egg and Toast!
Handiwork station and fresh from the fire.
wax model, wax carving tools, and finished pendant.
Jully's cozy home away from home in Austin.
is an atypical bunch of eco-friendly 1930's guesthouses tucked behind the
South Congress boutiques and eateries. It was a real treat to stay at such a convenient,
cozy, and unique place that was perfectly condusive to learning a new skill and resting
after a long day's creativity. The cottages are clustered together, like a Smurf village,
along a quiet neighborhood street. Small handmade gardens sit next to patio furniture
made from recycled metal signs. And the bikes are available to ride down the
hill to grab some Amy's ice cream or Jo's coffee! Next time, the stay will be longer,
and I'll be sure to bring some buddies to enjoy the time together.
Public Bikes at Verde.