Dr. Sarah Morgan - Jewelry Artist
"My training in lost wax casting came from my father-in-law, who was a dentist for 40 years in East Lake (Dr Jesse Ellis “Sam” Snead). Dentists make crowns by the process of lost wax casting. When I was newly married, he gave me a pendant he had made and I expressed an interest in learning how to do lost wax casting. Before I knew it, burnout ovens, centrifuges and other equipment appeared in my basement. My father-in-law provided me my earliest training and for a while I made things using old dental gold. I have taken jewelry classes at Rio Grande in Albuquerque, NM, at the Birmingham Museum of Art and also from Esther Lee (The Studios of Esther Lee) in Roebuck, Alabama. The manufacturing jewelers at Agnew Jewelers in Trussville, Alabama, also continue to help me.
"I am an Internal Medicine physician, Professor of Medicine and Nutrition Sciences, and I work at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Division of Clinical Immunology/Rheumatology. I am the Director of the UAB Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Clinic and Bone Densitometry Unit. My research interests are in the area of folic acid and methotrexate metabolism in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and bone densitometry.
"But along with my professional life, I have a philosophy that to successfully age it is necessary to cultivate new interests. I have consciously tried to develop a more creative side and hope that this will be beneficial as I get older. My vision for my jewelry or ornaments is generally to make everyday items that I see around me, but in silver or gold.
"Lost wax casting is a method which uses a wax likeness of the object to be made. The object is placed on a wax rod which is called a sprue. The sprue is attached to a rubber base and a metal flask is placed around the sprued object.
"Plaster investment is mixed and vibrated to remove air bubbles and is poured over the object and the sprue. The plaster is allowed to harden and the rubber base is taken off of the cylinder. The flask is placed in a burnout oven and the wax is melted out through the sprue channel, leaving an exact negative of the object to be formed.
"Metal is measured out based on the weight of the pattern and the specific gravity of the metal to be cast. The metal is melted in a crucible on a centrifuge, and when melted, the hot flask is placed on the centrifuge and the molten metal is spun into the cavity.
"The metal cools and the sprue is cut off and the object is finished by hand polishing methods. I often place my pendants on bracelets and necklaces which I make using the Viking weaving method."
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