From Idea to Adornment
Phoebe Minona, Tawapa's founder and designer, draws imagery from the nature, geometry and nuance of the world around her. Once an idea is conceived, it is brought into existence through a hands-on approach that is guided by intuition. Through a combination of drawing, 3d modeling, 3d printing and hand carving in wax, a vision transforms from thought to wax. The surface, final shape, and physical presence of the jewelry comes from the transformation it undergoes throughout the casting process and hands on fabrication of each piece.
Lost wax casting is an ancient craft and Tawapa’s preferred method of turning a mere idea into pure metal. The process begins with the original wax piece, which is transformed into metal using the same casting process that will be implemented for all of it’s future replications. The metal “master” is cleaned and polished and used to create a rubber mold. The master is removed from the mold, leaving a perfect impression of the original shape inside.
The treasures collected from the metal tree still require a lot of work before they become finished pieces of jewelry. First they are either tumbled in a tumbler, or hand buffed on a polishing wheel. Light sanding and polishing are done to create smooth surfaces and clean shapes.
Any soldering or re-working of the metal is done at this point. For example, for our hoop earrings, we cast the shape of the hoops themselves, but the clasp and its components are hand made and soldered onto the cast body. Our gold ends require stainless steel pins or threads to be welded to the gold. If a piece requires stone setting, the precious gems are added at this point.
Some of our pieces are actually made entirely by hand and forgo the casting process all together. These pieces require cutting, shaping, sanding, soldering, polishing and sometimes hammering.
Once each piece is complete, it is given a final polish, adding lustre and illuminating the natural beauty of the metal of choice. It is this magical process of thought to matter and the alchemic shift of liquid metal into solid precious objects that sparked our fascination with jewelry and that keeps us inspired every single day.