talking with people one of the most asked questions is "How
do you sculpt in bronze?" The short answer is I don't.
The process that I use is called "lost wax casting".
I have described below the steps involved in going from an
idea to a bronze sculpture. It is a process that I hope you
will find as fun and fascinating as I do.
first step in creating any artwork is usually the hardest
step coming up with an idea. Once that is done the
rest of the process usually flows pretty easily.
the concept has been formulated, the next step is to sketch
out my idea, or to take photos of someone modeling the pose.
I do the actual sculpting in clay, the next step is to build
an armature to support the clay. This is built from a variety
of materials, depending on what the sculpture will entail
in shape and size.
the armature is built, it is time to start applying the clay.
the clay has been applied and shaped to look as much like
the original idea as possible, it is time to make a mold of
it so that it can be cast in bronze.
a silicon rubber is painted onto the piece in layers until
it is about ¼" thick.
a plaster or fiberglass "mother mold" is made to
help the rubber mold hold it's shape.
silicon mold is cut off of the clay. The clay is then discarded
or recycled for use in another sculpture.
is then poured into the mold, creating a copy of the original
wax is then inspected and touched up before it is approved
by the artist and is ready to be cast.
"approved" wax copy is then dipped into a ceramic
mud until it is covered in a shell.
ceramic encased wax is then put into a kiln, heated to around
2000 degrees and the wax is melted out as the ceramic hardens,
leaving a hollow shell.
this point the bronze is heated to around 2100 degrees and
poured into the cavity of the shell left hollow by the wax.
bronze is cooled and the ceramic shell is broken off to reveal
the rough bronze positive of the sculpture.
flaws in the cast of the rough bronze are then sanded, welded
and sandblasted until it looks like the original sculpture.
approved by the artist, the sculpture is now ready for the
patina process begins by heating the sculpture until the moisture
from the air is evaporated from the bronze. Once heated, chemicals
that stain the surface of the bronze are sprayed, or brushed
on. As the chemicals touch the heated bronze the water in
the chemicals evaporates, leaving only the chemical to stain
the surface of the bronze.
the patina meets the artist's approval a coat of wax is applied
to seal the surface and protect the finish of the sculpture.
the wax is applied, the sculpture is mounted and ready for