The Process - lost wax process
Once I have created the original sculpture, usually in clay, the process of turning this original into a limited edition bronze begins. My pieces are cast by the “lost wax method”.
The original piece is cut up in sections for the casting. Each section has to go through the process described below.
First a mold is made, referred to as the "mother mold," directly from my original clay sculpture (pieces), using coats of liquid rubber or silicon, then backed with plaster or fiberglass. The Mother mold is opened and the original clay is removed. This clay can be reused. The mold is now ready for the next step.
Hot wax is then poured into the latex rubber "mother mold" in many coats. For each coat, wax is poured in and out of the mold, cooling for a short time, producing a hollow wax copy of the original sculpture. The latex mold can be used again, to make numerous wax copies. For each bronze a complete wax sculpture is needed.
The wax pattern is carefully removed from the latex mold, inspected, and any flaws are painstakingly removed, or "chased" by hand.
A wax pouring cup and wax shafts (known as "sprues") are attached to each part of the sculpture. These will ultimately serve as channels for the molten bronze to flow through. A second mold, a rigid ceramic shell, is formed by dipping each wax duplicate repeatedly in a vat containing liquid slurry and then coating it with silica sand. This process takes several days in a climate controlled room. Once the ceramic shell has dried, it is hardened by firing it in a kiln. The heat causes the wax to melt, leaving a hollow negative to receive the molten bronze that will be poured into it. Thus the name “Lost Wax”.
Molten bronze is poured into the cup, which flows through the sprue rods attached to the sculpture and fills the lost space made by the wax. The bronze must cool completely, and then the ceramic shell will be broken off to reveal the bronze sculpture within.
The individual pieces of the sculpture are welded back together. The imperfections and weld lines are "chased" out, and the texture is restored for final finish.
The last step is the coloration of the bronze sculpture through the application of heat and different chemicals. This produces a permanent colored finish called "patina," and completes the transformation of the sculpture into a piece of lasting fine art.