I have often wondered how a bronze sculpture is made. Unlike Michelangelo’s statue of David, which is made of marble, you cannot carve bronze. But you do carve or create your sculpture in other material and then cast it in bronze. This takes multiple steps, and you have to make a mold without ruining the original. Here are the basics of the process, in 9 simple to understand steps.
The instructor will Photoshop your favorite image for the design as a template for each project. Materials are provided and two finished pieces are yours to keep. Good manual dexterity and attention to detail are helpful for this class. The registration deadline is January 14. The cost is $120 for Arts Council members and $145 for non-members.
Is a hand made piece unique? Not necessarily. The jeweller might have a cast piece which he is copying. I am often asked to copy a grandmother’s piece of jewellery so that it can be given to a second daughter.
The foam original will be replaced by the molten metal unlike the Lost microfusione acciaio where a wax mold is made of the original and then coated with a ceramic shell in preparation for the molten metal. Luckily, most foam is pretty inexpensive so the loss of the original shouldn’t pose a significant financial loss, just an annoying creative loss.
After the wax is made, the sprue attached, the investment poured, and the entire product baked to drive out the wax, molten metal is poured in and the steam unit pressed on top. Steam thus created pushes the metal down into the mold. After a time is waited for the metal to cool and solidify, the casting is put under water and the investment material dissolves away.
However, in the period between 1960 to 1980, the tourism boom in the country resulted in widespread smuggling of antiques. In the 1980’s, due to more awareness, as well as efforts by international organizations like UNESCO, this was controlled to a large extent. In fact during this period some priceless antiques were even returned to Nepal.
You may not be able to create everything you see, but advance skill jewelry magazines offer ideas as well as information on technique execution. Lapidary Journal and Metalsmith are excellent magazines to peruse for ideas on how your body of work can grow using basic metal work skills.
A hint of David’s fear shows in his furrowed brow. But because his head is some 16 feet in the air, the brow is not readily discernible. You also deny another of Michelangelo’s intentions. Portraying David in the nude emphasizes his vulnerability, rendering him all the more valiant. It was Michelangelo’s avowed aim, after all, to replenish the spirit of all who see David.