Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Celebrating a Process, and a Journey!

3-part main mold of the two figures.
Celebration, the wax, was off to the foundry on Thursday, August 2.  Almost six weeks to the date of receiving the molds, I finished "dressing" the waxes and Madd Castings, Berthould, Co, made their monthly run to Santa Fe to deliver "metal" and pick up waxes. Tricky business in the height of the summer heat!  The three parts above, edges coated with petroleum jelly to release stray wax, are brushed with melted (180 degree) wax, the edges to be trimmed carefully before the parts are fitted and bolted together.  One part, the back, rests on the wax pot, a temperature- regulated turkey roaster. Once bolted, hot wax will be poured in, moved about, and poured back out, until  1/4" wax is achieived. This is a very heavy mold, and was designed so it can rest easily upside down. The seat mold was finished only 2 days before deadline, so the last days of dressing were a definite push.
The waxes have flanges at the seams, and flaws (air bubbles, etc.) that have to be corrected - this part is "dressing the wax" and as the final result will be the bronze,  it has to be made as close to perfect as is possible.
Unmolded, undressed waxes
Bodies, sans parts
 To the left is the work to be done after unmolding. - seams cleaned up until invisible (using hot tips and heated wax tools), arms, legs and head positioned and reattached, flaws corrected. Final work is done with screens, mesh pads and a wax solvent. and last a signature (in my case, initials) draw on the wax in a discreet part.
 Below is the wax, ready to go...
Final Wax, ready for the foundry.l
This is fine and time-consuming work - I choose to do it, because I can make the subtle adjustments needed to make a beautiful work of each one in the edition.  The arms, legs, head are attached, with each adhered carefully to the body so there is no inaccessible space where chasing tools cannot work
( in a long consult with my chaser, we decided what would be necessary to make a piece that will be cast as one - no spare parts to be attached later.)  The white spots in the wax are the disclosing wax used to fill the tiny scratches, holes, for a uniform bronze surface. The bench will be cast separately.
Leaving all the other work needed for each piece is also a personal choice - understanding the complexities of mold-making, chasing and patinaes, the equipment and experience needed, it only makes sense at my point to hand it to an expert.  Many sculptors turn a clay over to the foundry, often for good reason, with the piece to be completed by others at each stage - a much more expensive alternative, with less control -  I could not manage to do even the waxes on pieces much larger than my scale.
I am especially pleased with the expressions of the face, and the dynamism of the pose, as he helps her onto his lap. At this point it is everything I hoped for!! A cause for Celebration! 

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