This past fall semester, as mentioned in earlier posts, I had taken Marywood’s metal jewelry class as an art studio elective. I loved this class because of the three dimensional work and the medium that you get to experiment with, and I loved what I was able to make last semester. However, there was one project I hadn’t shared that I am finally able to share with you this week. Why couldn’t I share it? Well this project was actually a set of surprise gifts for my housemates. I had cast each of us a ring with a door on it. Why did I specifically decide to make this project? This semester is my last semester at Marywood and my last semester living with some of my favorite people SO why not show a little sappiness to celebrate our last year of Marywood with some friendship rings.
This, like every project in jewelry making, was quite the process. A process times seven in fact, for each of my housemates. To start, I sculpted a wax model of how I wanted my ring to look without the door so I can make doors to attach later. Once I made one wax model, I needed six more of the identical model. So I had a rubber solution made and let dry encompassing my wax ring to make a rubber mold. Having a rubber molds meant that I can use a machine to shoot hot wax into the mold to replicate the same rings as many times as I wanted, seven times plus a few extra to be safe.
I then attached spruces to the wax rings and then onto button pieces attaching to a plaster mold for eventual melted metal to flow into during the casting process. Attaching the whole unit to a button that would soon be filled with plaster and then put into a kiln to fire in order for the wax to melt away, leaving a negative to create the positive. Once put through the casting machine where the silver metal was melted and shot into the mold, the piece was clenched, washed off and each ring was sawed off. After many touch ups the rings then went through a series of polishing with different functioning brushes on a polishing machine to get a decent shine.
After the rings were polished, the last pieces—the doors—were drawn out on copper metal with a scribe and then individually cut and sanded. I used copper metal to allude to a pink door because we make it known to everyone that our house is the house with the pink door, so much so that all of our social media posts may have a hashtag of #ItsTheHouseWithThePinkDoor. Like all doors, I made sure to have little nubs on each end to fit into the extremely small drilled holes of the door frame. This way the door would actually be able to open and close on the ring! Also with #ItsTheHouseWithThePinkDoor there are seven words and there happen to be seven residents of the house with the pink door so it was too perfect for me not engrave one word on the inside of each ring to customize the pieces even more.
I then wrapped them up with some cute letters to give to my housemates at the beginning of this semester. I though it would be appropriate to start off our last semester together with a little gift we could take with us wherever we go even, if we can’t take our whole house (the door will just have to do). It was a good way to celebrate the start of our last semester living behind the same door.