Imagine using an artistic process essentially unchanged for over 5000 years. Such a technique, the lost wax method of bronze casting, has been a means of creating originals from artists’ original work since 3200 BC.
As an artist, I have been working in clay since 1995. Since that time, my pieces have become increasingly more detailed, with carved sculptural elements implemented into clay vessels.
Visiting art museums when I can, I marvel at bronze works. In fact I remember the day I viewed a lost wax exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Patrons were able to see detailed cut-outs of the step-by-step process to better understand the intricacies of this labor intensive art form.
Bronze casts leave a weighty and awe-inspiring impression upon those who have the opportunity to handle them in person. After a random visit to a northern Minnesota bed and breakfast, I was able to handle such a bronze cast, and it was then that I added bronze casting to my wish list.
Now I am acting on that wish, and I myself am in awe, having great respect for people who complete the bronze casting process. They are driven by their passion for creating. Let me share the steps with you, and you will forever look at bronzes differently.
|It all starts with a clay or wax carved
piece of original work.
|A ‘mother mold’ is created replicating all details on the
original piece, using silicone and plaster.
|The parts are secured and
hot wax is poured into the mold.
|The wax model is removed from
the “mother mold”.
|The wax model hardens and is
mounted on the rack for coating.
|The wax model is sprayed many times to create a
thick ceramic shell and is left to dry.
|The ceramic coated wax models are placed in a
1600 degree oven to remove the wax.
Thus the given name of ‘lost wax method’.
|Hot molten bronze is poured
into the now empty shells.
|The ceramic shell is removed and
the bronze original is revealed.
|Staining, hand burnishing and
clear coating are all done by hand.