I am an avid outdoors woman who loves hiking, rock climbing, skiing, exploring and adventuring. During my adventures I always keep an eye to the ground in search of potential gems. Like a squirrel I have my favourite trees all over the province of B.C. that I re-visit year after year as they produce the quality that is required for successful castings. Most of the collection is gathered on the Pacific Northwest Coast; some of the designs originate in other parts of the province which I collect when I am out exploring!
During this stage the organic items are attached onto a wax “tree”. This prepares them for the casting process which is similar to a traditional casting method called “lost wax casting”. I like to call this process “lost tree casting” wherein the organic materials are burnt away, leaving a void that will be filled with metal.
During this stage the “wax tree” gets placed into a cylindrical flask, which then gets filled with a cement like mixture called investment, encasing the “tree” inside. The flask is then placed into a kiln and heated to temperatures upwards of 1300 degrees for around 8-12 hours. While in the kiln the “tree” burns away leaving a space into which molten metal is poured, thus creating a cast of the original organic item.
At this point I take the cast items and transform them into beautiful little gems, using classic silversmithing techniques including tons of polishing. Each piece will be polished in a tumbler full of varying media for approximately 32 hours, and then followed up with additional hand polishing. After a little cleaning with a toothbrush and soapy water, the gems are finally ready for sale!