Trust The Process
Trust the Process
When I look back on my beginning days of alchemy and jewelry making, experimenting with low temp metals like pewter and casting them with gemstones embedded in them using very low-fi processed, I think of how I come such a long way. My capabilities have increased and I am experimenting more and more. The Stone-in-Place technique is not new to me but I've been itching to creating more objects with this method and I plan to continue.
I believe that humans, experiences and the overall journey of life is filled with lessons. Everything is a lesson to be learned from. Theres is always the opportunity to grasp the seed of knowing yourself, thus knowing the universe and absolutely nothing at all.
Every ex, every bumble date, every slip-up, blessing, stranger met on the street in which you shared a once-in-a-lifetime moment, is in fact a lesson.
My lessons these days have been to Trust the Process. Hell, this must be my life's lesson because this is the one that keeps coming back to me. Right when I feel like I am in a groove, with my mental health in check like a stone enveloped in the earth's precious metal, when I am cooking for my self, creating and doing all the adulting that one could possibly achieve it's like this lessons shock me again.
In these times when I am "living my best life", drinking a coffee that I brewed myself with the patio door open, the breeze caressing my cheekbones and something comes up that chin checks me. Like mercury retrograde, time stops, nothing seems to be progressing, only backwards movement. Sometimes I become numb, like "damn, I was just beginning to be able to breathe freely". But when I sit with it and keep going with AUM in breath, that's when I am Trusting the Process. That's when I am the embodiment of Trusting the Process and it's not just a saying that the cute bruja's and vodouisant's say. It's a real conversation with my anxieties, the universe and the world we are living in. It's easy for me to get bogged down for not having all the answers and not having a map of where to go. This work is very personal for me and I take it very seriously. There's much that comes with being such a layered black woman that's not perfect but struggle with wanting to achieve my ideal of perfection. I feel the weight of setting goals and the reality of when meeting them doesn't quite meet my expectation. This is a complex thought and even now my anxiety is setting in for the fear that I am not properly articulating this thought. But what the hell... trust the process.
The AUM ring is the embodiment of what I can not articulate in words, such as every piece as seen on this portal into the world of XENOPHORA.
The AUM ring is the very real thought that you are complete, no matter what people say about you. And you are held together by the forces of nature and the universe.
Casting - The J2R is my baby monster casting machine of choice. Its a dream to cast with and the quality outcome is stunning. The inert nitrogen gas system contains the molten metal, so there is no exposure to oxygen. The crucible is inside of the machine and I pour the sterling silver grain into it once its been heated up (see image below). There is also a thermocouple inside of the machine's sealing rod that senses the temperature of the metal (super convenient). It's displayed on the temperature control panel. At 943 degrees (Celsius) the molten metal is ready to be casted. Once the temp has been met, and its looking like the earths core with molten silver resembling lava, I squeeze the lever. And viola! the molten metal descends in the mold with the diamonds in place.
The Reveal - The typical process after casting the metal by using vacuum force is to quench the flask. Quenching the flask is much simpler than it sounds. It's when you remove the flask with the freshly poured metal while its still hot and dunk it in a bucket of room temperature water. This process removes the investment/mold material from the casted objects by using thermal shock. The investment boils away and what's left is the cast piece.
Except for stone in place casting, you can't quench the flask. The thermal shock may cause the stones to be popped right place, ruining the whole thing. So I let the flask cool enough to touch and beat the hell out of it. Really, I do! I hammer the flask until all the investment is removed from the casted objects.
The Finishing - All XENOPHORA objects are hand finished, one at a time. You can't beat the quality derivative from the human touch. A series of filing, sanding, polishing and burnishing techniques are used in pair with way more hand tools than I can begin to list off.
My top favorite tools are brass brushes, silicone polishing wheels and emery sticks. I also love being at the buffing wheel. Overall, this entire process is so meditative.
When you are trusting the process, you are moving with flow of the universe.