My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Birth, death and resurrection…

There is a saying amongst sculptors of the old school, that clay is the life, plaster the death and bronze the resurrection.  This refers to the stages involved between the initial clay sketch and the final bronze cast.  Actually there is third stage between the plaster and the bronze, that being the making of the wax impression from which the foundry take their cast.

Here again are my Leeds figures with the French boules player in the foreground.  Work has begun on taking the plaster “waste mould” from the clay.  The standing figures have already been “flicked” with an initial coat of plaster.  When dry, more plaster is added until the mould is many inches thick.  The Frenchman awaits his turn.  The brass shims that you can see along his arm and elsewhere enables the finished mould to be divided into sections. 

The term “waste mould” is an apt name, for the clay is destroyed when the mould is separated.  In turn the waste mould itself is destroyed when it is chipped away to reveal the plaster “master cast”. The process has not changed in five hundred years.  It behoves the sculptor to get down on his knees and pray that both mould and cast have turned out to perfection, for otherwise many month’s work is irretrievably lost.

I will stop there, for otherwise my description is likely to degenerate into gobbledygook! 

No comments:

Post a Comment