Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lost Wax Casting - my thoughts (Cross post, also posted on

This summer has presented me with my first exposure to the lost wax process under the instruction of Oscar Garcia at the art students league. It is a fascinating thing, making something out of super lightweight, soft, fragile wax will become a heavy, durable, metal object. It is not really the wax object at all, but a copy of it, made from the impression or space left in the mold that the wax used to occupy. You can read more about the process on wikipedia.

When my sculpture came out of her mold, I was sorely disappointed, I thought she had cast badly with pits, bumps, and flashing all over the place. Also her hair did not cast completely, it was totally missing from the part that was supposed to be behind her neck, only the hair on her head and the hair on her back casted well. As I began to learn more about bronze and look at fellow classmates work, I could see that my piece was indeed cast very well, with intricate details like the fingers and faces well preserved for the viewer. I also found out through working on the piece how easy it is to chase away the imperfections and polish the piece to gold brilliance. I personally was able to beat some strips of bronze down flat, twist them with pliers, and have the technical instructor weld them onto the piece which you can see in the pictures below the before where hair was missing, and the current which is still being worked on but at least her hair has continuity. This is my first bronze sculpture, I am very excited about future possibilities with larger projects and perhaps even public commissions (hey, you gotta shoot for the stars I say).

Click the images to see texture!
The piece has just come out and is a mess, all of this had to be chisled off.

Below is the work cleaned up, polished a bit, but still missing the hair.

Here some hair has been welded on, but much work went into making it look better, I am still working on her, she is not finished by any means.

At the studios at the art students league with dremmel tool.

The work of art as currently stands, with the sprue connecting the feet finally sawed off. She will be worked on for the next couple of weeks. The piece holds masks. Although she is seemingly an allusion to the Janus masks of theater comedy and tragedy from ancient Greece, the masks actually symbolize the many faces we "wear" when we need to put on different personalities depending on the situation... I mean, who is the same in an job interview as they are with their mother at home?


Tammy and Rob said...

She is looking gorgeous already Pedro, can't wait to see her when she is finished. Great job and yes keep shooting for the stars my friend!!!

thebutterflypeople said...

Thanks guys! If your Virgin was made of this stuff, she would have never arrived damaged!