To anyone who wants to learn about furthering their skills in wax
carving, yes, Kate Wolf’s class is the absolute best I have seen or
taken in the last eight years in which I have been actively pursuing
the craft, and since starting sporadically in 1978.
Some folks cannot make it to Kate’s class for a number of reasons,
however that should not stop you from attempting to work on those
skills. If you want access to Kate’s knowledge, check out her
websites because there are tutorials there. Also you can purchase a
set of her tools which includes the book she uses in her class. Or
just buy the book separately. (That’s it for my unsolicited
Now if you are serious about carving, or any work in jewelry, you
can also go to the library and check out numerous books on, well,
just about anything to do with making jewelry. That is what I did.
It is free, other than the gas to get to the library. Most libraries
have online catalogs now and have reciprocity with other libraries.
If your local library doesn’t have the book you want, they can borrow
it from another. I do it all of the time, and you can too.
If you are really serious about it, you can take a course at your
local arts center. There is most likely one within an hour’s drive.
Yes it might mean an hour’s drive to and from a class once a week,
but the class is probably worth the $8 in gas. I was fortunate to
take wax carving and stone setting at the Torpedo Factory in
Alexandria, VA when we lived there. We live in the Tampa area now
and there are similar classes at The Arts Center in St. Pete (where
I learned to cast), as well as the Dunedin Fine Arts Center in
Dunedin. My point is that these classes are available all over the
country, one just has to look for them, they are usually about 6
weeks long and cost between $100 - 150.
I found when I started in this, that taking classes gave me the
opportunity to have equipment at my disposal, an instructor to teach
me the ropes, and it fast-tracked the process so that I had a
finished casting in my hands in a few weeks.
Most people don’t an unlimited budget, but one must understand that
having a wax is one thing, making it into a casting is another thing
and will require an investment (pardon the pun). There are costs to
setting up one’s studio so that one can make moulds, cast, and finish
the piece. One can also send the wax model(s) to a caster and have
them do the moulds, casting and finishing, or any configuration of
the whole procedure, and that might be the most cost effective. But
it will cost something, that is a fact, get over it or learn to do
There are several casters that advertise on the Orchid forum, who
support Ganoksin, and come highly recommended. Send them an email and
start the conversation about what it will cost you and what you need
to do/send to them by way of models. Or you can go to a local
jeweler or dental lab and see if you can get some casting done there.
It will still cost you something.
And take the seriously given by the Orchid members, who
are not only veterans of the forum but veterans jewelers. They are
giving you the straight poop, for free. Don’t try to reinvent the
wheel until you know how to make one already. The practical
I have learned here has saved me countless hours of
frustration in the studio. (Some of the more esoteric conversations
I gloss over unless I have a lot of time to kill. Sorry gang.) Read
a lot of the archives. You will soon figure out who knows their
stuff. Go to their websites and read their benchtips. Read, read,
read. “Then carve a pound of wax.” - Kate Wolf Once you do a few,
the other will start to make sense, but sometimes you
have to apply the knowledge before the rest will follow.
Okay, I got away from wax carving, but not really. It is all part of
th= e…whole ball of wax. (Couldn’t resist that one.)
Nel Bringsjord, A.J.P.
GIA Diamonds Graduate