Technology and Design

Dear Suzanne,

My immediate thought on reading your post is not a glamorous one but
a very true one; the technology available allows me to mess up or
change my mind on a design. I tend to design by the seat of the
pants. I don’t draw my concepts very well, and so I usually work
with an idea and see where it takes me. I am not promoting this
technique, and it is not an option for those doing commissioned
works, but it is often the way I do things. As I don’t have a firm
idea thought out from start to finish, I have to problem solve along
the way, and sometimes I find I have gotten ahead of myself and need
to solder something after I have set a stone or made access to the
area difficult. Several years ago I would have to spend a lot of
time “backing up”, and some projects would be a loss from the
practical standpoint. Now I can send my design to a laser welder and
the problem is solved quickly and efficiently. While I don’t rely on
a laser for the bulk of my work, I don’t mind tapping that resource
when it makes life easier.

Nesheim Fuller Design
Mason City, Iowa

    Umm, I may be wrong on this but I kind of thought the process
of casting has been around for about 4000 years.  If you're talking
about the process of making rubber molds, that's another story but
I'd be hard pressed to say that the Etruscan's jewelry making
skills plummeted after the Egyptians tried some casting. 

Daniel, I totally agree with your reasoning, and your history is not
bad, but I’d just like to add the following: the process of
lost-wax casting has been around for almost 6000 years and may have
originated in Turkey or somewhere in the Levant. (It pains me to
admit that it didn’t originate in Sumer, where so many of the
world’s “firsts” have been found, but one must go with the
evidence!) The great hoard of copper tools, weapons, and ritual
artifacts from Nahal Mishmar in Israel dates to almost 3700 BC.
Simpler mold casting in the form of a copper macehead comes from
Can Hasan in Turkey, dating to about 5000 BC. So far, the earlier
jewelry and small tools are made from hammered native copper, the
earliest dating to about 7000 BC, from Cayonu Tepesi, also in
Turkey. (The oval pendant from the Shanidar Cave in Iraqi
Kurdistan, dating to almost 9000 BC and often cited as the earliest
example of the use of copper, is much more likely originally to have
been carved from malachite.) All the best, Judy Bjorkman

How about Sand Casting as an earlier method of casting precious
items? Has anyone heard of the Excalibre Sword, now someone please
correct me on the finer details. …Arabic word for casting is
Caleib (sp) see the familiar root word, I think it meant casting or
??? and the preceding letters “Ex” from a casting or it was changed
from excalibe to now …“Excaliber”…You can still today buy a “sand
casting, kit” along with the cuttle-fish bone ready to use…Gerry!

Judy, I bow to your far more extensive knowledge of historical times.
My point was simply that casting had been done for a really long
time, but then it was also a little tongue in cheek.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140