The Art of Bronze Casting

      The art of bronze casting goes back to ancient times.
The Chinese were thought to be the first to use bronze, an alloy
of copper, to make artifacts and weapons.

      The Ancient Greeks and Romans made statues and weapons
of bronze many of which we can see in museums today.

      Bronze melts at a temperature of more than 2,000 degrees
Farenheit. In liquid form it is more viscus than water, seeking
every detail of a mold. It gives you sharp edges and life-like
detail. When polished it can look like gold or be given a patina of
almost any color. And occasionally it can be handpainted.

      I work with Art Foundry Carpino of Houston, Texas. They specialize in art casting only, using modern methods and silicon
bronze, a beautiful and very strong material.


                                                            Madoc All Dun clay model.
Madoc All Dun • First a model is made of
clay or resin to size. Once the
clay model is approved by the
client it is taken to the foundry
where a rubber mold is made of
it. Sometimes multiple molds are
made and the sculpture is cast
in pieces that are welded together after casting.

• Next they pour a special wax
into the mold to create a hollow
reproduction of the sculpture with the walls of the sculpture being
no more than 1/8" - 1/4" thick. At this point I go to the foundry to
approve the wax and see that all the details are correct.

• The foundry then adds gates and sprews necessary for a
successful casting. The gating will allow the bronze a path to flow
in and out of the mold evenly.

• Next a ceramic mold is made around the wax sculpture and its
gates and sprews. This is the "lost wax" process. The ceramic
mold is fired in a kiln and the wax evaporates leaving all the
details of the sculpture inside.

• The molten bronze is poured into the warm mold. This is the
most dangerous part of the process. A spill of bronze can go right
through a steel toed boot.

• The mold and the casting must cool for 24 hours. Then the
foundry sets to work on removing the sculpture from the mold.
The ceramic mold is destroyed in the process. That is why they
made a rubber mold of the original model. (Just in case things
don't go as planned.)

• The sprews and gating must be
removed and any defects in fhe
casting repaired. Skilled artisans
with cutting torch, chisell and
sand blasting bring the
artwork to life.

                          US Dressage Finals
                           Perpetual Trophy
                           after casting with
                           gates and sprews removed.

• Next a patina can be applied. A patina is an acidic mixture
which when applied with heat bonds to the metal and protects the
bronze against corrosion.

US Dressage Finals Trophy
• The patina can be a uniform
color, usually brown, or the bronze
can be hand painted with oils or
acrylic paints in a realistic manner. Either way the metal must be
sealed against the elements to
prevent corrosion.

• In the final step the sculpture is
mounted on a base. Often wood or
stone (granite or marble). The
base material comes from a
different supplier and must be
ordered in advance to be ready to mount the sculpture. The wood
or stone must be drilled and the bronze screwed securely into

• As a finishing touch a brass plate identifying and naming the
piece can be added. If it is to be a trophy, multiple brass plates
and engraving may be necessary.

The whole process of creating a bronze can take 6 to 18 months
or longer. In addition to the artist, a group of skilled artisans at
the foundry make this all possible. And the skills of a wood
worker and a stone cutter who make the bases. All these people
come together to create your portrait or unique trophy bronze.

Call Olva at: 281-373-9304 or email to discuss a bronze portrait.
See page on prices and ordering for more information.

• Click here to see Limited Edition Bronzes for sale.
• Click here to see Horse and Rider Bronzes for example.
• Click here to see Limited Edition Resin Castings.
• Click here to see Works in Progress.
• Click here to see Pencil Originals for sale.
• Click here for information about Pricing and Scheduling for a bronze portrait.

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Last update: 20 September, 2022