From inception to the final completed piece, each stage of the Lost Wax Casting process invigorates me. The smell of melting wax, which consistency I want to work with. Dripping; mixed up like porridge; malleable in your hand; hard and suitable for carving; melted by blowtorch; incised or scraped. Wax is a very versatile medium. Each condition opens up endless opportunities.
The options for a variety of mould-making approaches allow for the technical side of my personality to focus. Coming to terms with the art of spruing and venting. Understanding where the wax pours in and travels around the mould and where the air and gasses escape. The recipes for Ludo and Ceramic Shell and how their application can affect the outcome of the casting.
Watching the ferocious burning of the furnace and terrifying pour of the glowing hot melted Bronze into the moulds – the adrenalin flows and your skin prickles with the excitement of the outcome. Time and much patience needed as the natural cooling process takes place.
After much hammering, picking and wire brushing, the piece begins another section of its journey as the mould clothing is removed to reveal a rather raw, naked disfiguration of the intended sculpture. “Crumbs” one thinks! A lot done and a lot more to do!
Metalworking chasing, sawing and filing – hours of it! Power tools do help, but the closer you get to the finishing surface and texture – it is the sensitivity of the hand that will demonstrate the craftship.
The finishing ‘patina’ (surface colour) of the sculpture, applied by heat and chemical variations is another fascinating aspect of this process. Closely akin to the glazing of a ceramic pot, it can make or break the totality of the finished piece.
At last, as the piece nears completion, the presentation structure or context in which the sculpture is to be viewed – considered all through the sculpture’s conception is put in place. Outside or inside, supported by a base, hung or wall mounted, the health and safety aspects as well as the visual impact and appreciation of the sculpture requires considerable attention.
At times it is so hard to let the sculpture go. You have spent so much time and invested so much effort – it of course becomes part of you. But as each ending allows the possibility of a new beginning, a new challenge – its vision and strides to attain it become my personal journey.