30 kinds of wonderful: 11. Bronze.

OK, so I’m doing this thing where I’m counting down to my 30th birthday with 30 kinds of wonderful. If you need to catch up, just start here.
Now let’s go!

11. Bronze

Nothing made me feel more like a “real” sculptor than realising my work in bronze. It was a process that I described in incredible depth at the time. (Here, here, here and here).

This is an extremely abbreviated version of the process.

After being (ahem) hospitalised after attempted to inject hot wax into eggshells with a syringe (cough), I settled into the process of moulding and casting, creating plaster and silicone moulds and eventually winding up with this delicious looking egg carton and eggs cast in chocolate coloured wax.

At the foundry, my yummy choco-wax eggs were coated in ceramic and fired in a kiln to melt out the wax and form moulds.

The bronze was heated in a mediaeval looking set-up and poured into the ceramic moulds.

Here is my egg carton mould filled with glowing molten bronze.

And here are my eggs, in the process of having their ceramic moulds jackhammered off them.

Finally, after a lot of sand blasting, polished with a dremel, sanding by hand, and finally a brisk rub with baby oil, the sculpture was gleaming golden bronze!

I then returned to the foundry to get the patina (silver nitrate) applied. The sculpture was heated with a blow torch and the chemical solution was brushed on.

After a final application of wax the sculpture was completed at long last. What an amazing feeling!

What I really love about sculpture is the deep physical connection I have with my finished pieces. I tend to caress and cradle my sculptures when they’re complete, I guess because there’s such an extended period of bonding time in their construction.

As such it always saddens me that so few sculptures in galleries allow people to touch them (although I 100% appreciate why…). The next time you walk past a bronze sculpture in a public place, go and give it a pat. Feel the warmth of the sun and how it gently heats the metal. Feel for the subtle traces of the construction process – the weld lines, the texture created in the initial moulding/modelling process. Feel what the artist’s hands felt for so long. For me this is a very special feeling. My particular favourites tend to be by Henry Moore – there is something so sensual about his sculptural forms.

To be continued tomorrow.

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~ by Niccola on January 13, 2012.

2 Responses to “30 kinds of wonderful: 11. Bronze.”

  1. Fabulous! I love this!

    • Thanks! I just visited your blog and your photos are amazing. Coming from sunny Sydney, I envy your frozen ponds…

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