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


Jo Castillo said...

A bunch of work, eh? Foundries do art as well. We saw some of our friends when they were vented and ready to go. A very interesting process. Yahoo on the progress!

Kelly Borsheim said...

Yes, in my experiences, many people who work in foundries are actually artists who not only want to create sculpture every day, but also receive good prices on bronzes of their own designs (because they are in a position to use the equipment and work after hours in the foundry).

Each sculpture has its unique form and problems and therefore each one must be considered for its shape and thicknesses for casting into metal. Nary a dull moment!