I walked in the door at the Cottonwood shop just as Dan Hall and Ron List completed the final step in a lost wax project. The timing was right to put together an article on lost wax. The fired mold, which is formed around a wax figure is baked in the oven until it reaches 2,000 degrees. After all the wax is melted and burned out, the open mold is placed in the centrifuge. The metal to be cast is then heated to melt point usually 1700 degrees and the centrifuge is released spinning and forcing the liquid metal into the mold. It then cools overnight after which it is broken open revealing rough cast project that is then polished to desired level. Almost any form can be cast and there are hundreds to choose from in the shop inventory if you do not want to create your own.
SLRG offers classes in lost wax, lapidary figures of all kind, wire wrapping of polished stones to make fine jewelry, stained glass, fused glass, gourd art, knife handles, silver, precious metal clay, stone identification, opal polishing, stone faceting, and more advanced classes in some of the arts mentioned.
Sun Lakes offers three shops for members to utilize; Cottonwood, Oakwood and Sun Lakes Country Club insure there are plenty of spaces and up to date machines to fashion their favorite pieces. Members must choose a phase of art, then go through classes to learn proper techniques and machine use. Once certified they may attend open shops to work on their favorite project. There are no better gifts for friends and relatives than hand crafted items, as good as or better than what can be purchased. Often after completing a good piece it is extremely difficult to give it up. You grow attached to your pieces and the living room shelves become filled to capacity.
Others find local markets to sell their pieces or sell them at the local craft fairs.
Monthly meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at the Navajo Room of Sun Lakes Country Club. Here you can view many of the artists’ work and sign up for classes. Refreshments and home baked cookies are served and a silent auction is held for anyone to buy used tools, stones and anything else related to the world of rocks, gems, silver and other semi-precious metals. The meeting is open to the public. Come see what is offered by one of the finest rock, gem and silver clubs in the entire area.
Opportunities exist to go on field trips and find semi-precious stones that you can turn into your favorite piece of work. There are many sources around the valley where you can purchase rough stones. In the winter, Quartzite is literally booming with rock sales.