Sterling Merman
lost wax casting from long ago

By the late 1980s it had become obvious that if wanted to get into top quality art fairs, I was going to have to add metalworking to my repertoire. To this end I signed up to take metals at wayne state university, which at that time was taught by Phillip Fike. He was a good teacher, encouraging us to work in any medium, even paper, so long as we were making good pieces.

Merman pendant. 60mm (2-3/8”), about 30 g. Lost wax cast, sterling silver, 1989.

As I recall I made three cast pieces for the class (a fourth, of a bead, I think I made at my second batch of metalworking classes, at Henry Ford Community College.) One was a little cast rejiquar, which I gave to the wizard, and was subsequently stolen from its place of honor as a monitor guardian where he worked. (Mebbe I should've cast it copper or brass, instead of silver...) A second was a crudely made auto, which I intended to incorporate into a piece about all the wrecked cars which abounded in our neighborhood. (This has subsequently been incorporated into yet another unfinished piece from my third round of metals classes—if I ever get the hinges done, I'll post this piece...)

The third is the one featured here, the merman.

Back, showing signature and date. Yay for dating stuff, which alas is much harder to do with beads.

I loved the bronze dragon pendant I put into my very first kumi necklace and it was the basis for a similar design, this time of a merman. However, as you can see comparing the two, the merman is much coarser than the dragon; this may have been one reason I was willing to give it away[1] to my friend Page, who no doubt extravagantly admired it. (Or I may have made it for her: I don't remember. I'm just profoundly grateful she's held on to it all these years, and asked me to photograph it.)

stub created 30sep08, post 1oct08.

[1]In any event I never truly realized my ambitions towards textural metal. I really enjoyed lost wax casting, but didn't see how I could ever afford the kiln to do the burnout. (Now, of course I have a kiln that will, in fact, reach those temperatures. But have I taken up casting? No. PMC was another way to easily incorporate glorious texture in metal, but it was so expensive even before silver skyrocketed. Perhaps the new bronze clay will finally get me working metal on a regular basis. We'll see.