Chelsea Swank's Profile

About

Welcome to SwankMetalsmithing, I have been apprenticing my father and learning the metalsmithing trade for a little over 4 years now, we are based out of Portland, Oregon and have a studio downtown, on Broadway.

My Shop- http://www.etsy.com/shop/SwankMetalsmithing?ref=si_shop


Our Process- And why it’s so neat.

Jewelry is an ancient art form that has been passed down for centuries. The methods, materials and tools used for jewelry making are ever changing and expanding. So what is a CAD program and why is it unique? CAD stands for Computer Aided Design, the program that we use for our jewelry making is the same program used for designing buildings, cars, shoes, furniture, etc. Every piece is an element and designed individually. I start…

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  • Female
  • Born on November 9
  • Joined January 4, 2011

Shop

SwankMetalsmithing
Swank Fine Jewelry

About

Welcome to SwankMetalsmithing, I have been apprenticing my father and learning the metalsmithing trade for a little over 4 years now, we are based out of Portland, Oregon and have a studio downtown, on Broadway.

My Shop- http://www.etsy.com/shop/SwankMetalsmithing?ref=si_shop


Our Process- And why it’s so neat.

Jewelry is an ancient art form that has been passed down for centuries. The methods, materials and tools used for jewelry making are ever changing and expanding. So what is a CAD program and why is it unique? CAD stands for Computer Aided Design, the program that we use for our jewelry making is the same program used for designing buildings, cars, shoes, furniture, etc. Every piece is an element and designed individually. I start with a well thought out idea, usually accompanied be a sketch, I start with the basic lines of a design and slowly but surely build up the piece from its foundation.

While learning CAD there were quite a few hours of frustration and feeling like I just was not going to be able to grasp the concept of 3-D modeling. And then, a few months later, it was like the trees parted and the sun was shining, I started to make things that were neat, really neat even, and I realized CAD allows my art to be taken to a whole new level. I can turn my ideas into a 3-D drawing that is able to make it’s way into a tangible form thanks to a CNC machine that reads my designs and carves them in wax with a tiny, spinning razor smaller than a needle. It is so exciting to see this idea, this model, this computer file, turned into a real, hold it in your hands wax.

I then get the wax perfectly clean and sprue it up, spruing is when you attach round sticks of wax to the wax model being cast, this is how the molten metal will flow into the negative space in the plaster that is created during the burn out process. The wax model with its sprues is encased in plaster inside of a steel tube or flask. The sprues all come together to lead up and out of the plaster. The flask is filled with the plaster, which surrounds the wax, it is then placed in an oven and brought up to about 1300 degrees over 6 hours. At that heat all of the wax melts out and the plaster hardens and dries out, creating the negative space for the molten metal to fill. This process is called burn out or lost wax casting, the whole process of burning out takes about 12 hours. After the flask has been held at 1300 degrees for 3 straight hours the oven is turned down and over the next 3 hours the flask comes down to 1000 degrees, and then it is time to cast. The metal is heated up with a torch until it is molten, it is then poured into the flask, the flask is then dunked in a bucket of water, the plaster dissolves and you have your cast piece. Now its time to finish it.


We pride ourselves on making every effort to lessen our carbon footprint on the earth. We use recycled metals and we strictly deal in conflict free/fair trade stones.

Chelsea Swank - SwankMetalsmithing


My mother also has an Etsy shop-
http://www.etsy.com/shop/WoobieLove?ref=si_shop

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