Cesar and I met in a Chinese restaurant. I had been working in China for a few years when I came back to Virginia to visit. I went to see my old restaurant family, people I had worked with during college, and I walked in to see this cutie speaking Mandarin to my old boss. What was this? And his Chinese is better than mine?
When I finally moved back to Richmond years later our first dates consisted of beers in the park, bike rides, and Asian food. Then we took a class at the Visual Arts Center and learned the ancient art of lost wax casting together. After several more metal-smithing classes, our hobby grew into a business.
We have kept this ship sailing for four years now. I think we would both agree that working with your partner can be challenging, but when we get it right, it's a lot of fun.
We work out of our garage studio doing all the design, casting, and finishing of the pieces ourselves. We use three methods to create our pieces: some are carved in wax and then molded, some are drawings that we give depth to on the computer, and 3D print in wax, while some are cast directly from bits of plants. We generally work in sterling silver, but also in gold and occasionally bronze.
While I initiate most of the designs, Cesar pretty much does everything else. He was trained as a pharmaceutical chemist, which makes him comfortable with the equipment and technical aspects of casting- the fire and the acetylene torch, the beakers, and temperature gauges and seemingly endless small specific tools. Check out this post to see the basics of lost wax casting.
I'm Sara, a certified tree steward for our city, Richmond Virginia. I learn what I can from pulling up invasive species and planting native ones, pruning the street trees, and helping to restore green spaces. I learned gardening from my mother, and she would say that I started in the plant business when I was eleven years old and would walk door-to-door in our neighborhood selling cactus plants in paper cups for a dollar.
We welcome input and feedback, and we love doing custom work. If you are interested in a special project, just send us an email or give us a call. You can also read reviews from people that have commissioned us for custom work on Facebook. Or here is a link to our Etsy reviews.
The research that goes into choosing, designing, and packing our pieces is also an important aspect of what we do. Each piece comes with a card that details something about that species- like its ingenious biological adaptations, its use in industry, or its role in a culture's folklore.
Plants are everywhere, and they are the basis of so much that we have in our world- food, medicine, life... But as humanity moves increasingly into cities, our familiarity with plants may come more from what we see at a Lowe's garden center than from our environments.
The natural world is beautiful, but it is also complex and delicate, dirty, unfair, breath-taking and random. While we can't capture all of that in our jewelry, our customers receive a piece of art and a little story, and hopefully become a little more connected to the green world around them.