The first step in creating a successful commissioned work is to plan out the scope of the project with you, our patron. We work together to create sketches and scale miniatures (available for purchase) using resources such as photographs. It is here we will discuss materials, timeline, and financing.
After receiving your approval to begin, we construct a steel frame, called an armature, to which we affix a foam core. After sealing the foam core with latex, we’re ready to begin applying hundreds of pounds of hot clay to the frame after which we spend countless hours molding and sculpting every tiny detail.
When the clay sculpture is finished, we begin the process of creating a mold of the statue. The clay is covered in layers of polyurethane or silicon rubber which captures every minute detail. Plaster is applied to the exterior of the mold as a ridged “jacket” to help the mold hold its shape. Once the mold is dry, the clay is removed.
The next step in our process is to create a positive wax replica of the original clay sculpture using the molds. We go over every inch of the replicas, repairing any imperfections such as air bubbles or “short pours.” This process is referred to as wax chasing.
Once we are satisfied with the quality of the wax replica, we proceed to create a ceramic shell by dipping it into a mixture called slurry. The ceramic dries to form a hard, durable mold that can withstand the temperatures of molten bronze. This is often referred to as investment casting. The wax replica is then melted out of the ceramic.
Solid blocks of 100% USA bronze are heated to temperatures nearing 2250˚F so that liquid bronze can be poured into the ceramic molds. Once liquid bronze is poured into the ceramic shell, it is left to cool for several hours before being removed from the mold.
Once cooled and removed from the ceramic cast, the final raw piece is welded together. Sandblasting remnants of the ceramic mold and fixing texture is a delicate process. Surface coloring is then applied using a variety of chemicals and heat.