Tender’s ‘caligulae’ elephants boots are lost wax cast in England in two asymmetrical pieces, from solid brass. They are fitted onto a brass-plated steel keyring.
The elephant illustration woven into Tender’s clothes labels is taken from a 19th Century American advertisement encouraging prospectors to hurry to Nevada where they would find unparalleled wealth. This gold rush coincided with, and possibly caused, the development of jeans. The elephant wears a smart set of boots, and these castings are modelled on them. The Plautus face logo is impressed into the sole of the right boot, and they are complete with hobnails and tassels.
To produce the boots, first Tender’s jeweler made a pair of master patterns with hand tools, using hard jeweller’s resin. These masters are then used to make a rubber mould, into which casting wax is poured. The waxes of each section are packed in plaster, and molten brass is run in, melting away the wax and hardening inside the plaster. The plaster is then broken away and the pieces are filed and cleaned up. The boots are polished in a vibrating tub of marble chips, but are not varnished or lacquered, so will patinate and develop even more character over time.