Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wax Sculpture Consultation Bronze Foundry

Sunrise in Tuscany, Italy
Dear Art Lover,
     I returned to the foundry in Pietrasanta recently, but it meant an early rise for me!  Hhaha… still, it was a beautiful sunrise and the light was pretty to see the dawn while the lights of the faraway village were still on.

Sunrise in Tuscany, Italy worth waking up for! 






Wax Room Bronze Foundry No Smoking!
Another reason to NOT smoke!


    When I entered the wax room, the first thing I saw was the bottom section of my sculpture "Rock Towers and Frogs."  It was floating upside down in a tub of water with wax parts from other sculptures.   




      You may see it here reinforced on the underside with bamboo.  I always think that water is a brilliant storage method for the waxes.  It helps normalize the temperature, so less risk of the wax melting or becoming too brittle. Water is soft enough to never damage the wax or mix with it.  And it can accommodate a sculpture of any shape or size, supporting all parts equally.

      The choice to use bamboo as reinforcement is important because the next step is to dip each sprued sculpture part into at least six layers of a ceramic shell slurry.  This takes several days since each coat must be dry before being dipped into the next.  Once the dipping done and the layers thoroughly dry, the ensemble will be cooked in a furnace, firing the ceramic mold while melting out all of the contents.  That is why this is called the “Lost Wax Process” and why any material MUST be destroyed by fire, leaving very little inside.  Bamboo is rigid and strong, but burns away!  Bamboo, newspaper, wooden toothpicks, wooden skewer sticks (for shish-kabob), etc. are some of the materials used to support the wax when needed.  Not  all sculptures require this, but it helps creativity to know what is available or what are feasible options around potential complications, no?
Wax Room Bronze Foundry Storing Sculpture in Water
My future bronze sculpture in wax - upside down in water!

Wax Room Bronze Foundry Sculpture right side up on table
And now, right side up on a table-ready for proofing!
     Here Raymondo has removed my sculpture bottom part for my lookover and approval.  He has already chased (cleaned up) the wax and the piece is ready to be sprued.  That means it wlll be connected to a wax funnel and connecting and venting (wax) lines whose placement is determined by the inevitable flow of molten bronze.

     Each foundry works in a different way and you might imagine there is never only one way to cast a composition into bronze.  I used to be a production manager for the neg/pos department of a commercial photo lab, until I moved into image preservation.  I learned from my study of mathematics and enhanced in the lab the idea that if you can understand the process and plan for it, you may avoid many hurdles along the way.  I also learned to trust people to do what they do best.  

     So, this last image I share with you shows Raymondo and Fabio studying the photo of my original composition in clay, wax, and foam.  Fabio works in the bronze part of the production.  I deferred to their judgment, which was to cast the remaining ten stones separately.  Earlier we had thought to mold them separately, but weld them together in wax, since working in wax is MUCH easier than working in metal.  But they decided the safer thing would be to receive good parts in bronze and then we will arrange the stones into the towers that were in my original composition.  And then weld and possibly drill a hole for a future fountain.

     Remember, I am offering a pre-casting discount on the price of this piece if you place your order before 1 November 2016.  This copy in the edition has been sold, but I will send you progress pictures of your sculpture being made, just as I am here.  In the case of a “future” artwork, we work out a payment plan that works for you and the casting process, meaning that after the initial payment, you pay installations based on the progress of the work, paying in full before the sculpture is shipped to you. I have sold many bronze sculptures in this way and am grateful to those who can envision the finished bronze when all they have seen is clay or wax!  

    Thank you for your interest.


Consulting on Bronze Casting Process for New Sculpture
Consulting on the Best way to Cast THIS bronze sculpture

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fiesole Still Life Painting

Dear Art Lover,
Detail of high textured watercolor paper - pastel painting Tuscany Fiesole Still life     It is October, the month of orange, no?  A few years ago, I saw this hearth-like scene at a friend’s house during their holiday party.  Orange always seems like a happy color to me and I wondered if I had it in me to tackle it in art to create a similar emotion. 
     This pastel on heavy Fabiano Artists Watercolor Traditional White paper - 140 wt depicts a Tuscan vase with a couple of metal kettles.  The dried plant stems make me think of a bad hair day, but they lend a wonderful element of contrast to all the other shapes and tones.  They all sat upon a shelf made from an old log and other wood parts.  

"Fiesole Still Life"

21.5" x 29"
Pastel on Fabiano watercolor paper 140 wt.
© 2010
Kelly Borsheim
"Fiesole Still Life" - 22" x 29" framed in black

      Fiesole is a quant small town up in the hills above Florence, Italy. Tuscany is famous for its orange warm colors and I liked the coziness of this scene.
       The pastel is framed in a simple, but angled black frame with Museum Glass and includes a black spacer so that the art does not touch the glass. No mat so you may focus on the warmth of the art and it looks more like a painting. [Museum Glass is a trademarked product that SERIOUSLY reduces glare. It is wonderful.]
This would look great in any room in which you want to feel cozy and comfortable, perhaps a reading room or social room.

Detail of high textured watercolor paper - pastel painting Tuscany
 I chose to create this pastel painting on a highly textured watercolor paper. It is a thick paper and I was able to use the texture to beautiful effect. I like it that the closer one gets, the more texture one sees. I am also fascinated with the layering of colors and the play of cool and warm pigments together. Note that in the grey vase on the right, I added purples and yellows into the greys. I hope that you enjoy this composition in pastel.

     Now, if you have read this far, I want to share that starting with this cheerful and warm piece, I will be offering selected artworks at an enticing price over the next several months.  “Fiesole Still Life” is priced at $1600, framed.  If you mention this savings project, you may acquire this original artwork for only $1200, plus free shipping.  AND, if you already own an original Borsheim artwork (painting, drawing, or sculpture), you will receive an ADDITIONAL 10 % off!

Contact me.

P.S.  Welcome into the world, Noah!  My brother’s second grandchild.

Fiesole Still Life pastel painting framed in Exhibition Austin Texas
Framed in simple angled black frame on the left

Detail of still Life - Metal Tuscan kettle pastel painting framed

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wax Sculpting Foundry Pietrasanta Italy

Dear Art Lover,
     Yesterday I went to Pietrasanta, Italy, to work with the waxes for my new bronze sculpture in progress, "Rock Towers and Frogs" / Torri di sassi e Rane [in Italian].  I am grateful to my many neighbors who help me get to the nearest train station.  I can take the buses, but the hours are not always convenient for the train schedules.  Besides in Pescia, the bus station and the train station are about a 20-25 minute walk away from each other:  Not exactly convenient.  
Artist Kelly Borsheim chases her own sculpture waxes, Italy
Here I am chasing my own sculpture waxes, Italy. Foto Da Raymondo
Raymondo chases a wax sculpture part in bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy
Raymondo chases a wax sculpture part in bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy
     I am also grateful that I can walk to the foundry in about 10 minutes from the train station in Pietrasanta.
Once there, I was introduced to Raymondo in the wax-working department.  He is really kind and even spoke with me later about my knee injury, the “interesting” situation with doctors (and a professor) about healing [Raymondo was an avid rock climber and hiker until a recent injury], and other fun stuff.   

     He got me set up at my own little work space and explained to me how this foundry does a few things.  Each foundry works in different ways and I am always delighted to see how.  He knows his work and he also gave me advice on how to transport my molds when I move them from Texas next year.  He also took this shot of me working on the elephant ears of my new composition.

     It was fun to have the wax in my hands again, with the torch’s constant flame nearby. The guys had the radio playing.  I am always astonished at how often American or English-language music is played in Italia.  But a smile widened on my face as I heard the cute Italian man working two stations away from me lower his voice to sing along with Johnny Cash.  What other song could it have been but “Burning Ring of Fire.”  So cute to hear the voice get lower and lower to sing in an Italian accent, “down, down, down…”  Man, you cannot make this stuff up!  Later, the other men chimed in when the radio play Frank Sinatra’s version of “New York.” Of course, you know that crooner is well-known in Italia!

     Raymondo also allowed me to stay working through lunch, while all the men left for an hour break.  So, I snapped these shots of my surroundings as I snacked on apples I had plucked from my landlord’s trees the morning before.  I was grateful for the extra time since I had to leave early to be able to catch a ride home last evening.  
bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy wax sculptures,plasters and molds
bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy wax sculptures,plasters and molds

bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy wax sculptures,plasters and molds
     After lunch, I got called over to watch Simone create the wax sprues for the leaves I had finished prepping.  One neat little trick they do there:  Each leaf had a number written into the wax to help the foundrymen know exactly how to reassemble my sculpture once it is in bronze.  I had asked Raymondo if I needed to fill that in with wax now, knowing that it would be difficult to reproduce the surrounding texture in metal later.  Simone showed me that his work included filling in the number just before spruing, so there is no confusion or error.  He replaces the inscription with a small wax button with the same number scratched into it.  The button is more like a thumb tack.  Once the piece is in bronze, the tack is very easy to break off and only leaves a small hole instead of a scrawled number.  Brilliant!  In the photo you may be able to make out the light brown circle just inside the right-most leg of the “bridge” of the sprue he has wax-welded onto the spine of the elephant ear.

Simone creates a wax sprue for later bronze casting
ID thumb tack is inside of sprue leg on right
Simone creates a wax sprue for later bronze casting
Simone creates a wax sprue for later bronze casting

     The rest of the images are pictures of my waxes that still need to be chased (cleaned up/sculpted to a finish).  The Lost Wax Method of casting bronze is a many-stepped and complicated process.  But bronze allows me to create slender extended parts (that the stone medium does not lend itself to) and metal was perfect for this project.

     You may see images of the intended composition in clay, wax, and foam here.  Also, please note that the lower special pre-casting price offer continues through 1 November 2016.  Contact me if you would like to enjoy Rock Towers and Frogs in your own home. Thank you!


P.S.  Happy Birthday, Danielle! 
Wax parts frog cattails rocks of future fountain
Wax parts frog cattails rocks of future fountain

Wax working tools on stand above torch under a suction fan
Wax working tools on stand above torch

Wax sculpture parts await chasing for bronze casting
Wax sculpture parts await chasing for bronze casting

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