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MASTERPIECES IN THE MAKING

As Australia's Premier Sculpture Gallery we are often asked how a bronze sculpture is created.

We sought the participation of one of Australia's top sculptors and the widely acclaimed Perides Art Foundry to create a photographic record of a bronze sculpture through the whole process of creation.

To create a bronze sculpture, the work is generally created in clay or wax.

"Innocence" in the process of being created in clay.

The most commonly used method of casting is a rubber mould/s made of the sculpture. The making of mould/s allows for the creation of more than one bronze (Limited Editions).

Into the mould, hot wax is brushed and poured to form a hollow wax pattern identical to the original model. For every bronze made there must be a wax pattern. After wax gates, vents and channels are attached, the wax pattern is ready.

The wax is dipped into a slurry over a period of approximately five days allowing drying time between each dip. The mould is built up to a thickness sufficient to hold molten bronze. The wax pattern, now encased in the ceramic shell, is then placed in a 700 degree C kiln and the wax is melted out, leaving a hollow ceramic shell ready to receive molten bronze.

The mould is allowed to cool and after inspection for cracks is reheated. At the same time bronze ingots are melted (1100 degrees C) and poured into the ceramic shell.

After cooling, the mould is removed with hammers and a sand blaster. The gates, vents and channels are removed and the casting remains. If more than one piece is involved in the sculpture, the parts are welded together and the resulting seams removed with careful grinding and sanding.

After a final sand blasting the bronze is ready for the final finish - the patina. Patinas are created by applying liquid chemicals to the surface of the bronze. Colours of patinas can vary according to the way the patina is applied and the chemicals used.

After patination several applications of wax or sealer are applied to enrich the colour and protect the bronze.

With all the processes required to create a finished bronze, you can appreciate that each sculpture in the edition will have small differences and its own idiosyncrasies with the wax, the ceramic shell and movement of the molten bronze right through to patination. Hence all dimensions are approximate.

With a large or complex sculpture the artist will usually design a maquette to a smaller scale of the proposed larger work. This allows the artist to manipulate and experiment on a small and convenient scale.