A Story of Making
Each Waxing Poetic design begins and ends, quite literally, by hand.
By Hand? Really? Yes.
All our designs start by hand. As in drawn, sketched, outlined, doodled, painted (really, it has happened more than once) or even described with words, written out or otherwise rendered by hand, on the drawing board. Or notebook. Or sometimes sketchbook. Or even possibly a napkin. Or tablet. Or iPad. Whatever it is, we draw it out first. Once we like where a concept is going, we refine the design and send it to our dear friends and artisans in Bali.
In addition to being one of the most overwhelmingly beautiful places in all the world, Bali is a jewelry designer’s dreamland, home to a tradition of metalsmithing that can be traced back centuries, if not a millenium. Silversmithing is a revered practice and valued trade, and most artisans come from families who have been part of the practice for generations. There is an implicit poetry to the work — from carving detailed designs into wax to casting pieces to painstaking attention to detail in finishing a design that was apparent to us from our very first collaboration. We are honored to have our designs felt, understood, and translated into being by such beautiful spirits. Balinese silversmiths, or “pandai parak” in Indonesian, are incredibly skilled and internationally regarded as some of the most dextrous, gifted silver artisans in the world. The term “pandai” itself reflects this truth — it translates as both a noun (metalsmith) and a host of adjectives (clever, skillful, gifted, proficient, resourceful, ingenious and versed, to name a few), and their work itself is proof.
Speaking of proof, ‘proof’ is another word for a prototype or sample design. The proof-process feels pretty magical on our end. We send concepts and drawings digitally across the globe and a few weeks later, wonderful little packages containing realized jewelry dreams arrive. What happens in between though is even more magical — designs literally become jewelry with the help of many sets of hands and hearts.
There’s an old saying that wax, as a material, always tells the truth. It makes sense — wax impressions catch uncanny details, early sound recording technology relied on wax, and wax document seals were the standard of trust for centuries. Waxing Poetic isn’t just our name, in a way, it describes the very process by which our designs become.
Once a Waxing Poetic design arrives in Bali, it soon makes its way to artisan wax carvers, who interpret the 2D rendering into wax with precision tools , translating and our lines and shapes into physical reality. Next, casting artisans take over, a cast gets made, molten Silver poured, cooled, and then the piece is almost ready. Another team of wondrous people refine the next phase of work, adding proprietary treatments which give Waxing Poetic jewelry its particular and recognizable finish, and then, with great care, each new piece is gently wrapped and sent back to California for inspection and approval. Sometimes a proof sample is everything we hoped for in one go, other times we open a package and realize an idea needs to evolve before it makes its entrance as a finished piece of Waxing Poetic jewelry.
We trust our artisans implicity, and work together in joyous community to realize our creations. It literally takes a village (if not more accurately a few) to make our jewelry, and we hope the hearts and hands who help make it possible resonate with every piece.