How are Bronze Statues Made
To create a bronze statue, you first have to work out what or who you want to make. You then need to create the mold using clay or 3D computer design. The final step is to then make the bronze statue using the old-casting or hot-casting method. Both methods use different materials for the final product. In this article will explain the main ways to do all of this.
Making the Mold
Let’s focus on the statue of a person. Our subject is James Dean, the iconic Hollywood actor. To make the mold we will show the process of a Clay Sculpture and 3D graphic designer. The artists will only have 1 main image to refer to and several other images of the side and back of the subject.
The Clay Sculpture is first set up on wires to align with the image. The example will be a miniature size of the life size person and will be approximately 1ft. or 30cm high. Clay is added to the main parts of the wire before the real detail begins. A clay artist needs to be incredibly talented, have a great eye for detail and have a steady hand. A clay sculpture like the below image can take a 100 hours or more to get the mold and detail correct.
The 3D graphic designer will work from different images to create the mold on their computer screen and put them together. Skill and concentration are again needed to include all details of the face and body of the subject. This process also takes hundreds of hours, patient and expertise to create the 3D mold.
Making the Bronze Statue
There are 2 main methods to bronze the statue, cold-casting and hot-casting.
Cold-cast Bronze or Bonded Bronze, is a less expensive way to make a sculpture. It is a mixture of polyester resin. Bronze powder is then painted onto the surface of the statue to enable the resin to achieve the appearance of bronze.
Cold-cast bronze is created by pouring the resin mixture directly into a mold. This method of creating sculptures bypasses the lengthy lost wax casting process and is, therefore, an inexpensive alternative to hot-cast bronze. In general, cold-cast bronze does not have the strength and longevity of hot-cast bronze. Cold-cast statues will look identical and feel very similar to solid bronze statues, it will also be quite heavy. To tell the difference, a Cold-cast bronze statue will be warmer to hold and can be scratched with a key. Cold-cast bronze is a great option as a less expensive statue.
Hot-cast bronze refers to metal that is melted at extremely high temperatures and then poured into a mold. The lost wax method of casting is a highly skilled, complex, time and labour intensive process. Every part of the process requires incredible skill on behalf of the artisan. This, combined with the cost of the raw material (copper and tin), is why the price of a bronze sculpture is more expensive compared to Cold-cast Bronze. Bronze hot casting is the ideal collector's item.
There is a lot of hard work, time and skill that goes into make a bronze statue. Both clay and 3D design can create great molds and cold-casting and hot-casting will determine the overall quality and final cost of your statue.
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