Casting bronze

Bronze is a challenging material that requires a measure of fierce control. It is a low tech, high skill craft.  It takes the most part of a year to bring a piece to life. 
Charlie uses a basic form of lost wax casting or cire perdu. He first creates the work in clay.
From the clay he takes a mould of the basic form. This mould 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. 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 rehearses all the movements, ‘the dance of the pour’. The bronze is poured into the shell and once cooled, 2-3 hours later, the shell is smashed open to reveal the bronze sculpture. The sprues, risers and pouring point are removed.


Patination is developed on the surface of the bronze by burying the sculpture, the soil reacting with the metal to create a unique final finish.

The process is slow but the bronze will wait patiently in the ground.
Until it’s right, until it’s time to face the air and sun again.
Each time is different and each place is different.

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