Here are some images of my newest sculpture, titled From hoof to tray. I’m working on grinding, filing, and sanding all the components so I can take it through the paint stage. This sculpture was particularly difficult to finish because it was fabricated in fits and starts, with many new elements added along the way. However, as I near the finish line, I couldn’t be happier with the results, and I am certain this piece will be a great capstone to my Color Coded series.
Here is footage of the excellent bronze pour I conducted with my sculpture grads last Friday. For anyone unfamiliar with metal casting, here is some background on this process.
Bronze casting begins with artists creating a wax sculpture, also known as a pattern. The pattern is first encased in a mold made of plaster and sand mixed with water. Next, the mold is heated in a kiln for two days. This traditional method of bronze casting is known as “lost-wax casting”, because the original wax pattern melts out of the mold as it is heated, leaving a hollow cavity that will be filled with molten metal.
In preparation for the bronze pour, metal is melted in a furnace. As the metal is becoming molten, the hot molds are taken out of the kiln and placed in a sand pit near the furnace. Before casting metal, everyone dons protective gear to protect against the extreme heat. Teamwork is essential in a bronze pour, so once everyone is suited up, the team goes through a dry run of the procedure.
When it’s time for casting bronze, a crucible filled with molten metal is lifted out of the furnace with tongs. The crucible is then placed into a pouring device called a shank. Two team members operate the shank to pour metal into the molds, while another person uses a chain to raise and lower the device. After all the molds are poured, the crucible is placed back into the furnace. Once the molds have cooled off for a day, they are broken apart to reveal the castings and students grind, file, sand, and polish the bronze to create finished works of art.