Sometimes I forget that it is easy to take for granted how easy or difficult something is to create when we see a finished product. Especially today in a world where so many things are machined to perfection and pumped out by the thousands we can forget that someone had to bring every thing that exists into their mind, convey it to the world somehow, and make it 3-D to share. There is a story behind every object. Every single one. It is easy to forget that.
In the process of de-cluttering my life and my home, I was told about a Japanese theory behind how to choose what to keep and what to throw away. If you hold an object in your hand and it brings you joy, then you should keep it. If it does not, you should give it away. I hope that the jewelry we make brings you joy. I hope that us sharing a little bit about how it is made makes that joy even deeper.
I am going to start this story with a collection we worked on called the "Seaside Diaries." They are little book pendants, with inspiring quotes on the insides and sea-inspired images on the outsides. Christy and I spent several afternoons looking for just the right quotes and images. Once we had chosen them, we started sketching.
The next step was to work with our amazing wax carvers who patiently carved these sketches into wax by hand. Ketut and Agus have been with us for 6 years and they are true artists and always have smiles on their faces. Both are from Bali.
After the waxes were finished and we did a few spell checks the waxes were ready to go to our master maker (Indonesian sounds exactly the way it is spelled but English...not so much. Sometimes Ketut and Agus read the words, then carve them from memory and we get some wonderfully creative spellings).
The process of taking a wax to finished piece looks a bit like this:
Waxes go into a plaster-like material that hardens, then the wax is melted out. Molten silver is shot into the plaster negative and a silver master is created exactly like the wax. After that we get the silver master to polish down and check and to see if anything got left out during the process. Sometimes letters disappear, and if, as often happens in Bali, a power outage happened at the exact time the plaster was setting, well, we have to start all over. It happens. We laugh about it. We move on. It takes time. Living in Bali teaches western-trained minds a lot of patience.
When we get a good silver master we polish it and then send it back to our mold-makers who pour a rubber mold around our master. The rubber mold is then used to shoot waxes into. You can shoot hundreds of waxes into the same rubber mold until it wears out. The waxes are stacked together to make a wax-tree. Plaster is poured around it and it goes into the oven where the wax is melted out, and again liquid silver is shot into the negative spaces. After a long process, a sterling silver tree of little pendants is formed, and the plaster is removed. The pendants are cut off the tree and they get sent over to our workshop.
We polish the pendants one by one, oxidize the words with liver of sulfur, and clean up the silver for final finishing. We slide in some chain, assemble the lock, and voila.
Our wonderful team in our office Dewi, Lina, Abi, and Udi quality control check for us before Christy and I take a final look and then they help us package and tag each necklace. Christy and I like to get each piece into our hands and give them some special loving energy before they go out into the world. Sometimes that happens in Bali and other times it happens in Tofino or St. Louis where we are also based. We have to travel a lot to make our business work and spread the word, but our Bali-based team of angels is always there to support us. Here they are below. We love them a lot and we couldn't do this without them.