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The Workings of a Bronze Foundry

Artists working with sculptures often choose a bronze foundry to complete their works of art.  The artistic expressions that they sculpt are usually done in a temporary type of cast first.  The rest of the process is difficult and requires the right team of skilled artisans that can work together to bring about the finished product in a long lasting metal or material.

Many people may have seen these beautiful sculptures in museums, parks, school yards, court houses and many other places and never really pondered the process that it entails to create such a work of art.  So how do the artisans at a bronze foundry take the artistic impressions that are made and turn them into the larger-than-life pieces that are seen all over the world? 

First, the artist sends their sculpture to the bronze foundry in a temporary model that is usually made of clay or plaster.  These materials are ideal for making a sculpture model because it is easier to work with when it comes time to create the finished metal product.  Once the model has been made and delivered, the founder will then use some sort of an elasticized product to make a mold of the artist’s model. Next, this mold will be used to make a cement copy of the model that is fire resistant and serves as the core of the piece.  Long pieces of metal, usually iron, are put into the cement model so it will remain in place during the last stage of the process.  Through an erosion process, the outer layer of the core is removed and this creates a gap between the mold and the core.  Next, piping hot wax is used to fill in the gap that was created.  The mold is then taken off of the piece which reveals the wax covered core.  It is at this point where the signature of the artist as well as the founders stamp and the number of the cast is imprinted.  Another mold of clay is then made so that it will thicken and allow the wax to recede away from the mold.  Once this happens, the resulting mold that is left behind is covered with cement.  The mold is fired and the extremely hot bronze at the foundry is poured.  The piece is then allowed to cool and the cement is removed.  The sculpture is then polished and it is ready to be viewed. 

Perhaps the greatest part of a bronze foundry is that the artisans who perform the foundry services have the capability to recreate any of the artist’s works once they have received the initial plaster model. This allows for the piece to be made from the plaster model no matter how big or how intricate the design may be. 

To make a bronze sculpture is actually a work of art within a work of art.  Not only is the person who created the work an artist, but those who turn the plaster into a shimmering and shining sculpture are artists as well.

 




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