Lost Wax is really just me and my family....making things.
It started with a boat
I was cleaning my parents garage the other day, and stuck way back in the rafters I found a wooden boat. A boat I made as a child. Seeing it again brought back the feeling I had back then. Pride. Pride that I had created something from nothing with my own hands. It wasn’t a beautiful boat, and it wasn’t quite what I had pictured in my mind when I started chipping away with my chisel, but it was all me.
Through the years I have had that feeling again and again, and it is still so good.
There is nothing like the feeling of creating. Making something beautiful. Something inspiring. That’s what I want to share.
I actually started Lost Wax after being let go from my job as a jeweller. I had been making jewellery for the past 15 years, but it didn't excite me anymore, as I was always making other people's designs and not my own. Not having a job kinda gave me the kick in the butt I needed to start my own jewellery business, making pieces that I designed and loved. I started creating in the less "noble" metals such as copper, silver and brass, because I could get beautiful contrasting colours. My designs were very mechanically motivated, which led me to the steampunk aesthetic. I had never had a word for the style of jewellery that I made, but there really was no more perfect term than steampunk.
Most of my ideas come to me either while lying in bed or in the bathtub.
One day while lying in bed, half asleep, wishing I didn’t have to get up quite yet, I imagined a top hat made from sheets of copper, all riveted together. It was an amazing image, but I knew it would be completely impractical to actually wear.
So, I made one out of cardboard, glue, and Rub N Buff. It looked amazing, and I used it as a display prop when I sold my jewellery at some local markets. In fact I often had more interest in the hat than in my jewellery. A theatre company wanted to buy it from me, but they were having an outdoor performance, and were worried that the cardboard would get wrecked if it rained. I started looking for other materials that would be more comfortable and resistant to the weather than cardboard. And I found something that would change my life forever. An old blue camping mat.
Old Camping Mat sold for $100
I really didn't have high hopes when I tried my first foam top hat. I thought it would be too weak, hard to paint and hard to glue. It really surprised me when I got it all together and it looked pretty good. Then I painted it, and it looked AMAZING.
I was selling my jewellery at a shop that some friends had set up as a creative collective, and I threw one of my foam top hats in there for sale with a $100 price tag on it. It sold, and I realised that it wasn't just me who thought it looked cool. There were other people in the world as well. That's when I decided to make a tutorial and post it on YouTube. I also realised that there were no high quality patterns out there for a top hat, and since I had already spent way too much time on this top hat project I figured I should spend some more. Make a pattern with sizes for everyone, so it would be easy for anyone to make a top hat that fit them well and looked good. Oh, and I bought a new camera so I could get decent quality video.
At this point my wife started looking at me like I was a bit crazy
I had spent the better part of a month on this silly top hat, and then a bunch of money on camera gear. Now I was going to spend more time filming a video and editing it. It really didn't seem to make sense for someone trying to start up a small jewellery business to be playing with bits of coloured foam. So, to justify all the time and effort, I decided I would sell the pattern. For $3. I honestly didn't think I would sell even one. I launched the video on Aug 28 2013, and on Sept 5th I made my first sale. I just made $3 for two months work!
A big fat punch in the gut
I was so excited about the thought that some stranger valued my work enough to pay real money for it. I was on top of the world. For a day. Little did I know that the next day my world as I knew it would come crashing down. On Sept 7, my 6 year old son was diagnosed with leukaemia. Whack. Within a day, we were all up at the children's hospital in a city 2 hours away from our home. It would be a month before we came back home, and then 3 more years of treatment. If you would like to read more about our journey through leukaemia, Our story is here.
Obviously, it is hard to make jewellery when you are driving back and forth to the hospital all the time, so I was extremely thankful for the bit of income I was making from selling my top hat pattern, so I decided to make more. And more. That's kind of how I got to where I am now. I want to say a giant thank you to anyone who has bought my patterns, watched, or commented on my videos, because you have helped us through some difficult times. Last year we decided to move back to Canada from Australia when my father was also diagnosed with leukaemia, and those pattern sales were our only source of income. We didn't think it would be enough. But it was. We are so thankful.