LOST WAX CASTING
The lost wax casting method is a centuries old process of molding metals - still utilized today because of it's ability to transfer exceptional detail from original to copy. It is a multi-step, labor intensive method which requires every piece to be hand detailed and finished.
The process begins with an original clay sculpture which is to be duplicated in bronze. This clay sculpture is coated with multiple layers of a rubber like material which dries to form a flexible, removable mold that can be reused. The detail on the outside of the original piece has now been transferred to the inside of the reusable mold.
This rubber mold is now encased in a plaster form to keep it rigid. Molten wax is then poured in thin layers into this mold and allowed to dry. When removed from the flexible mold, it is an exact copy of the original. At this point, artisans can work with the wax copy to ensure that the detail of the original piece has been transferred.
This wax copy is then also repeatedly dipped and rolled in a silica/sand solution which dries to form a clay like mold. When dry, this silica mold is heated to extremely high temperatures that transform the silica into a ceramic mold. During this process, the wax itself melts and drains out through specially placed spigots - thus the term "lost wax". Consequently, this wax/silica step must be repeated for each piece that is reproduced.
The hot ceramic mold is now filled with molten bronze which fills in where the wax was. Once the bronze has cooled and hardened, the ceramic mold is chiseled and chipped away. The finished piece is now cleaned, detailed, and finished by hand with an applied patina color.