A foundry produces items that are created with the use of molds. The same process has been used for centuries, with only a few modifications in foundry technologies. This ancient method of producing high quality, long lasting, detailed artwork is as valuable today as it was at its inception thousands of years ago.
Unlike wood, clay, and stone, metals do not readily lend themselves to carving and sculpturing. An artist cannot be expected to take a piece of metal and start chiseling away in order to create a masterpiece. Metals need to be melted in order to be reformed. A foundry is designed to accommodate the unique properties of metals. The melting points, brittleness factors, and other special physical and chemical properties of these alloys are considered in the process of producing a sculpture. A defined process is used. It involves casting the molds in a unique series of steps.
The first part of the process involves pattern making. In early years, this was usually performed with a wax substance. Today, an establishment may use wood, a soft metal, or a resin that is then placed in sand molds. When patterns are created, they are usually made in two parts. Sand casting is one of the most common methods used. The sand is mixed with another substance, such as water and, sometimes, chemicals. This mixture will allow it to be packed into a mold form. After a pattern is created, the mold and core-making portion of the process takes place. This includes casting. Casting involves liquid metals that are poured into the prepared molds. The metals are melted, depending on their physical properties, in any number of various types of furnaces. After the metal has cooled and hardened, it is separated from the mold. The alloy that is usually used for art pieces is copper. This separation is performed by either a machine, or it is done manually. It all depends on the size and delicacy of the project. The runners and risers are then removed and placed in a recycle bin. These will be melted down to be reworked again into another mold. The piece is then cleaned so as to remove any jagged edges or debris. The final steps include machining, chemical applications, or painting.
The artwork produced by this method in a foundry is valuable for displays in museums, homes, and in public meeting places. Metal statues preserve the memory of significant people and the historic events that they helped form. Other metalworks that are found in public parks and buildings provide an ambiance that speaks of that area’s personality and culture. These marks of culture are important to society’s continuation. They are center pieces that tell the story of what characteristics a society treasures and promotes.
A foundry is a place where common metals are transformed into magnificent works of art. The technologies used by this industry have evolved over time, but it still produces significant pieces of artwork in modern society as it did for those of ancient times.