Began Summer 2012 – Completed Fall 2012
This was my second bronze project, following the hand molded wolf fetish. Our assignment was to create a bowl. I did not want to go with the standard round shape, so I decided on a stout square bowl with angled sides. Having the sides angled outward made me think of a pyramid shape and so the idea of creating and Egyptian style scene on each side intrigued me. I have always liked herons and cranes. I looked up some old Egyptian art and found a picture that I used as the inspiration for my overall designs. I wanted each panel to be part of a complete scene, so I used the style from the original artwork to show the heron flying, landing, walking, and eating.
The first step in the process of lost wax bronze casting is to make a wax model of your design. I poured a 6in by 24in flat strip of wax about 1/2 in thick and divided it into four equal pieces. I then began to subtractively sculpt the reliefs into the wax plates, while also additively building the bodies and wings of the birds in order to create more depth. Once the wax plates were sculpted, I melted the corners together, added a bottom and began the venting and gating process.
I made two bowls and once gated and vented, they required face coating. Once the face coating was dry, I placed them in chicken wire and tar paper molds for investing.
After the investment hardens, the whole mold must be placed in a kiln for a week to melt out all the wax, leaving a hollow cavity to pour molten bronze into. The bronze is heated in a forge to over 1200 degrees and then poured from a crucible into the mold. Once the bronze cools, the mold is broken away and the face coat and residual investment is removed.
After cleaning, cutting off all gates and vents, the hard work of finishing the surface takes place. I completed two bowls. One bowl has polished highlights and a green patina on the inside. The second bowl was polished along the edges and corners as well as the birds.