Bronze is a material that sculptors have been working with for over 5000 years. It resists wear and tear and corrosion. This allows works made with this kind of material to last a long time. Working with bronze is time consuming and requires a lot of skill. Working with bronze follows three main steps in all.
Of course, the artist’s inspiration is the essence of any artistic work. In relation to what the artist wishes to create, a mold must be constructed as the first step in the creation process. Most often, the sculptor designs a wax statuette that is an exact replica of the sculpture to be reproduced. Various works follow to create a mold that can receive the molten bronze. This is called the “lost wax”. It is the creation of a wax model similar to the piece that the artist wishes to create. This step allows the artist to know the thickness of the bronze needed and to know the modification to be made to the mold. The mold undergoes some modifications before being able to receive the molten bronze.
The second step is to melt the bronze and pour it into the mold. Since bronze has a 65% copper alloy, it produces a nice color during the patina. Melted at over 1000°C, the bronze is poured into the holes of the mold in just a few seconds. This maintains the consistency of the material throughout. Since the mold is designed so that air is evacuated during the passage of the molten bronze, it has no difficulty in penetrating every corner of the mold. To pour the material into the mold, the caster often uses a funnel designed for this purpose. When the bronze is finally ready, the artist removes the form to remove the sculpture.
The third step requires a lot of work from the artist. It is at this time that he proceeds to the chiseling, the rebuilding, and the optimization of the work. He proceeds to the elimination of excess elements such as vents and pouring paths. During this stage, the artist uses several tools such as the file, the riffler or the electric grinders. By using these materials, the artist brings out the originality of the piece. The artist also proceeds to the polishing which plays enormously on the rendering of the surface of the sculpture. He may use chemicals to remove the paint and grease from the sculpture or to add color to it. This step can also be done by the caster with the artist’s instructions.