The Process

In 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.

The 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.

Once the concept has been formulated, the next step is to sketch out my idea, or to take photos of someone modeling the pose.

Since 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.

Once the armature is built, it is time to start applying the clay.

Once 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.

First a silicon rubber is painted onto the piece in layers until it is about ¼" thick.

Then a plaster or fiberglass "mother mold" is made to help the rubber mold hold it's shape.

The silicon mold is cut off of the clay. The clay is then discarded or recycled for use in another sculpture.

Wax is then poured into the mold, creating a copy of the original sculpture.

The wax is then inspected and touched up before it is approved by the artist and is ready to be cast.

The "approved" wax copy is then dipped into a ceramic mud until it is covered in a shell.

The 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.

At this point the bronze is heated to around 2100 degrees and poured into the cavity of the shell left hollow by the wax.

The bronze is cooled and the ceramic shell is broken off to reveal the rough bronze positive of the sculpture.

Any flaws in the cast of the rough bronze are then sanded, welded and sandblasted until it looks like the original sculpture.

Once approved by the artist, the sculpture is now ready for the patina.

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.

Once the patina meets the artist's approval a coat of wax is applied to seal the surface and protect the finish of the sculpture.

After the wax is applied, the sculpture is mounted and ready for delivery.