If you have ever found yourself gazing at bronze sculptures and wondered exactly how artists create these pieces, then you will enjoy reading our post today. The art of bronze casting began thousands of years ago and was actually referred to as the Bronze Age. The Bronze Age was a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, whether producing it through the process of smelting and alloying, or trading for bronze from other areas. James Nance Sculpture Studio in Loveland proudly creates handcrafted bronze sculptures that are distinctive and unique. Contact us today to learn more.
It Begins With Clay
All bronze sculptures begin with an idea. Often, the purpose of the sculpture is to honor someone, whether that person was in the military, or a person of historical importance. Once the idea has been discussed, the artist begins to draw what they visualize for the sculpture. The drawing is then taken to the clay where the artist begins to shape and cut the clay to bring the drawing to life. Most bronze sculptors choose to make the original out of clay. The clay they choose to work with often speaks to a personal preference rather than any specific factors inherent in the clay. The three types of clay are water-based clay, oil-based clay, and self-hardening or low-fire clay. The more a bronze sculptor works with clay, the more they will learn which clay is best for them and the work that they create.
Making the Mold
After the clay sculpture has been completed, the artist must then analyze the piece for any imperfections, or details that need to be added. Once the clay sculpture has had all of these items attended to, it is ready for the molding process. A rubber mixture is typically what is used for the mold. The artist will apply the mixture to the clay original in coats, with each one taking approximately 24 hours to dry. Special attention must be paid to avoid the formation of any air bubbles during this painting process, as they would be trapped and cause an imperfection in the final piece.
Creating a Wax Replica
Typically, the wax is kept at 220 degrees Fahrenheit so that it stays in liquid form. The artist will use a cup to slowly pour the wax into the mold as it is rotated in order to achieve a thin coating on all surfaces. Each successive coat of wax, for a total of four coats, is cooled slightly from the original 220 degrees. The goal is that the final coat of wax will have created a thickness of approximately ¼ inch. The item that comes out of this part of the process is called a wax positive of the image. For larger sculptures, the wax can be brushed on, but the brushing must begin with the deepest hollows to make sure that any drips are avoided.
The art of bronze sculpture is a truly unique process with roots in ancient history. James Nance Sculpture Studio in Loveland takes great pride in the work that is produced both for private collectors, as well as public displays. Contact us today to learn more about this art form, and order your piece today!