How is A Sculpture Crafted from Bronze?
Bronze is a very common medium for artists who enjoy sculpture. Yet, as you can probably imagine, bronze is too hard for artists to work with on a consistent basis. The bronze sculpture process is a highly-detailed process involving several steps. While bronze sculpture buyers may be familiar with this process, most people have no idea. With that in mind, here is more information on the way a bronze sculpture is crafted.
A) The initial stage
At the beginning, the artist will sculpt the masterpiece. This piece is the one from which all of the duplicate bronze sculptures will be made. In creating the master, the artist usually works with a material that is much easier to carve, such as wood, clay, or a similar material. This lets the artist have the freedom to make minor adjustments without going through the effort of actually sculpting bronze—a highly challenging process.
B)Making the mold
Once the master sculpture is finished, it is then painted over with a specialized rubber coating. This rubber coating will eventually become a mold for use in making reproductions. After the rubber dries, it is peeled off. Sometimes it is created in two pieces; sometimes more. The number of pieces in the mold will largely depend on the size and complexity of the finished sculpture.
C)Filling the mold
After the mold has been completed, it is filled with hot wax. This is not the same kind of wax that you might use for canning or waterproofing; rather, it is designed to fill in every crevice in the mold in order to make a faithful reproduction.
D)Coating the wax piece
After the wax dries, the rubber mold is removed. This leaves a piece of wax that is identical to what the finished sculpture will look like. The artist will inspect the wax to ensure that it faithfully reproduces the original. If there are any corrections necessary, this is when he or she will usually make them.
The piece of wax is then coated, layer by layer, with a ceramic covering. Once the ceramic covering is complete, the entire thing is fired at an extremely high temperature—sometimes as high as 1500 degrees. This process hardens the ceramic and burns away the wax. What is left is a ceramic mold.
E)Filling the ceramic
The ceramic mold is then filled with molten bronze. Once the bronze cools, the ceramic mold is broken and peeled away. If necessary, the sculpture is sandblasted to remove any pieces of ceramicthat stick to it. If the sculpture is being fashioned from multiple pieces, at this stage they are assembled together into the final product.
F)The finishing touch
Finally, a bronze patina is applied over the entire sculpture. The purpose of this patina is to give the bronze a weathered appearance without actually needing to wait the decades this would otherwise take. At this point, the final piece is finished, and ready for display or sale to bronze sculpture buyers.