Back when I first started casting and model-making years ago I got a
bit creative with modeling materials. I tried styrene plastics, bugs,
organic materials and various other alternatives to wax with success.
One day I had an inspiration: balsa wood!
I quickly carved out a basic pendant shape with bezel to be added
later, sprued it and invested it. Only after I poured and quenched
the silver did I remember that balsa is mostly air. That makes it
lightweight and functional for raft and model airplane construction
but a disaster for jewelry models. Vacuuming the investment pulled
the air out of the wood and left the final casting with more warts
than an adolescent toad.
Ah well, the creative path is not without certain dead ends.
Sometimes it reminds me of those garden mazes that can be
momentarily frustrating while providing great exhilaration and
excitement along the way.