Saturday, March 9, 2013


In the late 1980s, around Hallowe'en, I often wore black plastic spiders in my hair.   Ivaan pretended he didn't like them, but I know he secretly did.  One day in 1989 he offered to make me a gold spider if I'd stop wearing plastic ones.  It was an offer I couldn't refuse.  "Speyadera", as he called it, was yellow gold with an emerald in its back, and ruby eyes.

Over the years, my spider has come in very useful.  I've worn it as a brooch, as a hat ornament, and I've simply kept it around so I could admire it.  I've had someone refuse to get into an elevator with me, claiming to suffer from arachnophobia.  Many people admire it, but I suspect few would wear it because it's a flamboyant, rather gothic piece.  A few months ago, a friend who is also a fan of Ivaan's work asked if I'd be willing to make another.                                                                    
He named it "spEYAdera", after me.
How would you like to have a spider named after you?
Anatomy of a spider: inside the mould
In 1989, Ivaan had made a mould of my spider, so in theory it was possible to make another. But, compared to Ivaan's 40 years of experience and native genius, my few years of reproduction work counts for little.  I decided to attempt a perfect wax model of the spider.

Different coloured waxes have different properties, so selecting the best wax for the spider was a matter of trial and error.   Exhibit A, the "Lance Armstrong", looked like a winner, but he was rather thin in the tail section. Probably the result of performance enhancing drugs. 
A little too thin in the caboose!

 I love the deeper blue waxes - they capture fine detail beautifully, but they're very unforgiving.  Just see Exhibit B.  I named him "Oscar Pistorius".
The Paralympian.  He's lost his left foot

Raw gold.

Exhibit C was perfect.  Best of all, I had a fabulous emerald that seemed tailor made for the hole in his back.  I gathered up my courage and headed for the caster.  Newly cast metal doesn't look like anything you'd want to wear.  It's not shiny, it has metal sprues protruding from  unlikely places,  but it's so full of promise and potential, it's hard not to rush home and start finishing it right away.  After all the finishing is done, you get to visit the stone setter, then have a gold clasp installed on the reverse side and eventually you give it a final, terrifying buff: terrifying because in those final minutes, many things can go wrong, and you might have to scrap your project entirely and start all over again.  However, when the fates smile on you, and all your stars can absolutely feel Ivaan in the room with you.

1 comment:

  1. well done! I love a piece of jewellery with the potential to make an elevator ride less cramped and awkward!