The wolf lifted his head and howled. The three smaller wolves quickly followed his lead and added their voices to his. If one was listening carefully, notes of sadness and loss flittered in between the strong chorus of triumph. This kill was costly.
Two female wolves and three cubs parted the foliage at the edge of the small clearing. Two wolves lay dead near the similarly unmoving mountain lion that had intruded on the end of a long hunt. One of the females came forwards and licked at the leader’s torn ear. The cubs watched, soaking in all of the movements of the older wolves, learning from the teachers whose lessons were literally so vital that failure to learn meant death.
His torn ear aside, the alpha was obviously filled with pride. The meal before them would fill their muscles with strength and the survival of the pack was assured for some time to come. Sniffing the air before him, he feasted first, as was his right.
This was my first bronze cast. I chose the wolf as my Zuni fetish as the wolf represents teaching. Like the wolf I hope to teach through my actions as well as my words.
I first sculpted the wolf from micro-crystalline wax. After getting the shape primarily finished by hand, I used wood and metal sculpting tools to refine some of the details. My goal was to retain some of stylized nature of original fetishes.
After smoothing out the wax to my satisfaction, the piece was poured in the same investment as several other classmates. We broke the bronzes out of the investment and began to clean them up. I used a hacksaw and a variety of files to finish the surface of the bronze. To smooth out the wolf’s coat, I used a Dremel with a scotchbrite wheel. I wanted to keep some roughness in the finish. I buffed the wolf out some more on a wheel and applied a black patina.
He ended up with a nick in his right ear. I kept it.