My first wax carving teacher, Spencer Moss in Albuquerque, had me
carve a square, a rectangle, a sphere, a tetrahedron, a pyramid, and
a dipyramid… all about 1/2 to 3/4 inch across. I carved in green,
blue, and purple hard carving wax. Not really a favorite exercise but
how I got started sculpting miniature waxes.
There was another wax, Karvex, that was incredible. It was somehow
more brittle and stronger than the regular green wax. Really held an
edge well. You could carve, and sand, and sculpt on a really detailed
piece all day and the edges you’d cut in the morning were never
rounded off by your handling. The company disappeared in the late
70’s. Maybe was absorbed by a larger mfg. Anybody know the formula
for that wax? It would be worth cooking up in the studio.
The Pythagorean solids were small but got me into symmetry and
precision in that small scale world. The idea was to get parallel
sides parallel, angles equal, corners square. It showed me how
quickly coarse to fine files work on small bits of wax. That was the
Then we started carving bird fetishes with inlay channels in them.
That got me into carving whatever people asked of me.