Gold will last forever
MUNCY – Two goldsmiths were guests of honor at the Muncy Women’s club on Wednesday night, November 28 when they met at the First United Methodist Church in Muncy.
Rick Mahonski started his career in teaching after graduating from art school. He taught art at East Lycoming School District for 35 years. He told the audience he was a wrestling champion at Williamsport High School. Besides stained glass and pottery, Mahonski said his favorite art was creating jewelry. Many know him from his studio in South Williamsport. He reflected back on his high school art classes from Shirley Dieffenbach. “I loved doing the jewelry,” he said as he recollected making his first piece. “It was a wonderful feeling when I held that first piece and created something I liked.”
With Mahonski that night was Tony Mack, another goldsmith who went to art school with his daughter and was also a student at Muncy High School. “He has a different process than I do with castings and wax,” Mahonski said.
During their 30 minute presentation, the goldsmiths mentioned some history of the precious metal. “There are 188 different verses in the Bible where gold is mentioned,” they said. “Man has always wanted gold. It lasts forever. It will be here another 2,000 years.”
A brief explanation was given on the jewelry making process as the two goldsmiths passed around some of their finished pieces with the wax castings.
Jewelry is created and designed first from sketches before casting a piece from wax. Sheet wax is used to create the model. “We have to make it in wax first,” Mahonski said as he demonstrated using wax and plaster of paris to make his model rings. The wax is melted for 8 hours in 1500 degrees. Gold is melted into a liquid and a finished gold piece is cut down before setting a stone.
Mack said he uses a sculpting technique for gemstone setting. “I usually get the general shape before carving away,” he added. His focus is with astrological designs and detailed lettering. “He amazes me,” Mahonski said. “He can make memories,” said his grandmother, Peach Barto. He made her a little gold bird when she retired six years ago, because she likes birds, she said.
The Muncy Women’s Club will be meeting again December 12 at 6 p.m. for their holiday dinner at the First United Methodist Church in Muncy.