Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Making of a Monument

 Wow, I can't believe it's been a year since I posted on this blog! It certainly isn't because nothing has been happening. Jeff has done a lot of projects this last year.

 The biggest in size is this Eagle that he did for a charter school in Victorville CA. I thought I would use it to give you a very short glimpse of how a bronze monument is made.


The top photo is the first step. The school had the idea that they wanted the eagle to evolve from a natural piece of wood. After a few different tries, this is what Jeff came up with that they accepted.

Once that was complete, he enlarged the piece to fifty four inches tall. The finished clay is pictured at the left.

Then the fun really begins. Our new friends from Billing Bronze came to the studio and made molds.

 

First they start with several layers of white mold latex, sectioned off with shims. Then each section is covered in plaster and fiberglass mesh to make a stiff "mother mold." That is what you see Rayne doing here.





Once all the sections are plastered, they are numbered to avoid confusion later when the parts are taken to the foundry, cast in wax and then more molds are made on the wax which is then burned out and replaced with bronze.
After that, the bronze pieces are welded together and the welds are ground down to the original texture that was on the clay. Then chemicals are sprayed on at high temperatures to create different colored patinas.

 


And here it sets on an aerie at its' new home.










I hope this gives you some idea of how a bronze monument is made. I haven't been very detailed and I skipped a lot of steps. The making of a bronze is very labor intensive and costly. The more others understand this, the more they can appreciate the great public art pieces that are found throughout this country. Nothing good comes easy . . .

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