Casting bronze using the lost wax method is an ancient practice. Also known as "cire perdu", some of the earliest examples are thought to be over six thousand years old, dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. This technique has stood the test of time, producing enduring works of art that continue to captivate audiences today due to the combination of craftsmanship, precision, and the inherent beauty of bronze.
Lost wax bronze casting offers several advantages over other casting methods. Firstly, it allows for the creation of highly detailed and complex sculptures that would be difficult to achieve through other means. The wax model can capture even the finest details, resulting in a faithful reproduction of the artist's vision.
Additionally, lost wax bronze casting produces sculptures with exceptional durability. Bronze is a strong and long-lasting material, making it ideal for outdoor installations and public art. The casting process ensures that the bronze is evenly distributed, minimizing the risk of weak spots or structural flaws. Each casting is an individual piece of art, with slight variations that add to its charm and exclusivity. Collectors and art enthusiasts appreciate the craftsmanship and uniqueness of lost wax bronze sculptures.
The process Charlie uses starts with him creating a clay sculpture. Each piece has been inspired by a famous Celtic legend, one of the many stories told round a fireside, handed down from generation to generation. From the clay sculpture, Charlie then makes a mould of the basic form which is used to create a wax version of the sculpture. He adds sprues, risers and pouring points to ensure that the bronze can flow fully around the piece. Layers of molochite are built up around the wax and when a suitable depth has been achieved, Charlie heats the molochite shell to melt out the wax. The now hollow shell is placed in sand with just the pouring point visible. The sand holds it in place and also provides protection in case the shell breaks during the pour.
Charlie heats the bronze to around 1200 degrees Celsius in a furnace he built himself. Before the hot work begins he carefully rehearses all the movements. This process is known as ‘the dance of the pour’.
Charlie pours the molten bronze into the shell and once cooled, 2-3 hours later, he cracks the shell open to reveal the bronze sculpture inside. It's an exciting part of the process. The sprues, risers and pouring point can then be removed.
Behind each sculpture created using the lost wax method lies a fascinating and ancient process. They serve as reminders of our rich cultural heritage and the power of art and storytelling to transcend time and connect people across generations. Click here to see our full range.