Bronze

Bronze castings are one of the most durable art forms in existence. Used for both art and weapons, bronze artifacts created more than four thousand years ago are still found in museums around the world.

The first step of creating bronze statuary or sculpture begins with a sketch.  The artist then creates an original sculpture of wax or clay. Then a flexible mold is made from the artist's original. This mold captures every detail of the artist's original work, and is one of the most critical phases in the bronze process. 

The mold is then used to form a wax figure. Molten wax is poured into the rubber mold, producing a perfect copy of the original sculpture. The wax is then coated with a liquid refractory ceramic. Several layers are applied, creating a stable mold, which is allowed to cure for several days. The piece, now coated in ceramic shell, is fired in a kiln. This bakes the shell and eliminates the wax, leaving a cavity in its place. Thus the term "lost wax." 

The ceramic shell is removed from the kiln and molten bronze is immediately poured into the form. The bronze is poured at a temperature of 2100° Fahrenheit. Bronze is an alloy of 95% copper, .02% lead, .02% tin, .06% zinc, 4% silicon. 

After cooling for several hours, an artisan sands and polishes the sculpture and the bronze is treated with chemicals and heat to provide the desired color. The patina is sealed under a wax coating and becomes a permanent part of the sculpture.

St. Dominic Prayer Gardens

St. Dominic Prayer Gardens

Brookfield, WI

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