Part 2 – Sculpting in Wax

The most common question people ask when seeing a HEXAPODA item for the first time is … ‘Are they made from real insects?’ – If you’re wondering the same – The short answer is – No, they’re not!

Instead, all HEXAPODA pieces are made by an ancient process, first used almost 6000 years ago, called ‘Lost Wax Casting’. The process, now more commonly known as ‘Investment Casting’ is still used today because it offers the opportunity to create metal objects with very intricate detail.

The first part of the lost wax process requires a wax model of the final piece to be created.  

Historically, Beeswax would have been used for this purpose but I prefer to use formulated wax sheets like those shown above – for their improved strength and stability. To form the wax, I use a small set of sculpting tools and an alcohol lamp. The flame from the lamp heats the sculpting tool so it can melt, mold and blend the wax into the shapes I want.

Sculpture is often thought of as a process where material is progressively removed to form the desired shape. For a complex piece like the Magicicada and the characteristics of working with wax, I prefer to sculpt by adding material and blending it into the form I want.

Little by little, the insect will start to form and once the basic shape is created, more detail and texture can be added as the piece progresses.

For the Magicicada, I began by sculpting its body and head. This was followed by its legs and wings, which were sculpted separately and then added to the main body.

It’s also during the modeling stage that I’ll look to lessen weight in the final piece. I do this by reducing the thickness of wall sections and sculpting out recesses within the insect’s body. As a general rule, the lighter the final piece, the more comfortable it will be to wear.

As is often the case, it takes some time to get the shape, texture and detail of the model just right. Once it’s complete, it will look like an oddly-colored, fragile, version of what it is destined to become – much like the Magicicada itself, after the nymphs have molted into winged adults! 

As fragile and delicate as the wax sculpture may be at the end of this stage, it will not be spared a tough metamorphosis …

>> Part 3 – Casting in Metal

Would you like a Magicicada smilar to the one
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