Well, we didn’t meet out goal of opening for November 1st, but we’ve put a lot of effort into all the details that we think are well worth the delay. Any day now we should be receiving the glass for our displays and be up and running!
Now through July 31, enter the coupon code GRATEFUL1550 when you check out in our etsy shop and get 15% off your purchase of $50 or more!
This past weekend, the Two Birds had the best experience at #Ziontific Summer Solstice Music Festival in Stockbridge, VT on the beautiful grounds of Tweed River Tubing. It was our first time vending ever, and so glad it was there surrounded with so much positivity. The coordinators of this event put a massive amount of love and energy into it and it shows. Amazing music line-up, great family-friendly experience with an emphasis on art and wellness, and a huge honor to be a part of it all! We’re already counting down the days til #Z6 !
Keep up to date on the adventures of Two Birds Jewelers! Lots on new things on the horizon for us! We have an always growing collection of original designs, and are busy planning our New England tour taking place this summer and fall!
Find us on Twitter @twobirdsjewels
We flew the coop…
As some of you may know, we’ve decided to close our shop in Taos for a number of reasons. Last summer we had opened a shop in beautiful Northern New Mexico in search of health, freedom, and adventure. But after nearly 1 year open, it became apparent that this was not the path for us. Our health was dwindling (mostly mental health), we felt anything but free (more like caged birds), and there wasn’t much room for but a handful of exploration while having a brick and mortar store.
After meeting lots of folks in the jewelry and handcraft world and considering their success, we’ve taken the que to focus on sharing our work at shows and fairs as well as our online platform. This summer our focus will be traveling throughout New England and the East Coast. It was a hard and scary decision to make after investing all we had into opening the store in Taos, but ultimately, this lines up with our values and goals, and we’re super excited to be heading out on the road, (and being true to ourselves!)
Our decision has been met with a lot of questions, concerns, and doubt, as most bold decisions are. (Nothing new there!) On the other hand, we’ve received tons of encouragement and support from some of the kindest, most successful people we’re blessed to have in our lives. Thank you to the folks who have cheered us on and keep us inspired! We’re grateful to the doubters too, as it’s an important lesson in character, and cherishing our true selves. Life is too short to live how other people think you should live.
On that note, we’re wishing our readers strength, health, and happiness as you head out on your adventures!
There are a few ways we approach making jewelry here at Two Birds. Todays post is about Lost Wax Casting and preparing a wax model to be cast.
1. Pick the modeling wax based on approach and desired outcome
Modeling wax comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, strengths, melting points. The picture above is a purple wax brick that I can cut to size depending on the piece. I like the purple because its pretty versatile and easy to work with. The green tube can be cut down to make rings. Green is used for creating pieces with fine detail, and tends to be brittle.
A few of the tools I use with wax (from right to left) are wax saw, which has a spiral blade, wax files, wax ring sizer, mandrel, and fine-tipped wax carving tools. Clean working surfaces are important too. A casting will only be as good as its wax, so if the wax is contaminated, it can mean flaws in the final product.
Wax pens heat up, and have a variety of tips to accomplish certain effects by melting and manipulating wax.
Detail and Finishing
Hand tools and various bits are used to shape wax and pre-form voids in wax where stones will be set. Several grades of fine sand paper to smooth the wax, and nylons to get a high polish. Rather than an alcohol lamp, I use a little tea light to accomplish a super high polish and consistent surface. (The second image of the blue wax bird was taken before the final finishing stage).
Here’s a little Opal Pendant that will be cast into 14K Yellow Gold soon.
Once we have a good collection of finished waxes, we do send our models out to be cast. We don’t have the space or ventilation that would allow us to safely perform this part of the process in house. We use 2 different casters, one in NY, and one here in NM.
The wax models we make are sprued by the caster (which is adding 1 or several tubes to the model. These tubes will create voids or paths in the mold that the molten metal will be poured into.)
Once the wax model is sprued, it is carefully covered in what is essentially a plaster (called investment), cured in a kiln, and the original wax model is lost (it burns off, being lost, hence, Lost Wax Casting). The cured mold is ready for the molten metal.
*I have skipped over the details of the casting process right now, its really not that simple! When we have our casting up and running, I’ll post a more detailed blog.
Our castings still need a bit of finish work when they are returned. Castings are buffed and polished, marked with a purity stamp to denote whether it is Sterling (.925), Fine Silver (.999), 14K or 18K Gold, and our makers mark. Stones are set, and bales and chains are added. * I’ve over simplified the finishing process as well, but will cover that in the next post about fabricating…
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading a little about wax modeling and one approach to the Two Birds jewelry design.
Next up is direct metal fabricating!
Well, I’ve been procrastinating for long enough, its time to write our first post! I’ve really been overthinking the whole thing, trying to decide what our “grand entrance” should look like, and finally it all boils down to one thing:
For the first Two Birds post, we would just like to say ‘thank you’ to our amazing family and friends, both old and new. To our families, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for your encouragement and support. Its been in all shapes and sizes, and appreciated greatly. From the moment we first mentioned that we *might* want to move over 2,000 miles from everything and everyone we know, you all encouraged us to follow our hearts (even though it was breaking some of yours). Words can’t describe how much we miss you, we are working hard so that we can come home to visit soon, and so that we can create a place for you to come visit and explore this inspiring part of the country.
To our friends…your encouragement is loud and clear, even thousands of miles away…thank you for supporting us in all of your unique ways. Many of you have chosen to have us create special pieces for you, from pendants to engagement rings, and its always an honor. We never take for granted the opportunity to be part of something so personal. Thank you for keeping in touch, and all the love and encouragement.
And to our new friends: Taos, you are truly a special place. We are grateful everyday for our new neighbors and friends who have helped adjust to this new life and adventure…thank you for welcoming us with open arms into your homes, studios, and galleries. You inspire us daily!
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this. If you’ve come across this post, you are certainly included in the above list!
Aimee and Joe