Though most of my work now involves painting and printmaking, I studied sculpture at the City and Guilds of London School of Art. I have worked in various materials, including modelling in clay for casting in plaster, ciment fondu, resin or bronze, carved stone and welded steel.
Steel lends itself to an occasional hobby of mine – designing mazes – as seen in the apple maze sculpture.
Some of the pieces shown here include cast or engraved text. The words are my own. (For more diversions into writing see my blog ideas melt like snow.)
The method I use most frequently is modelling in clay (or wax/plasticine for smaller pieces).
To support the clay, an armature is constructed – this is a kind of skeleton made of wood or metal – on to which the clay is applied. To create a permanent sculpture, a plaster or rubber mould is made of the finished clay model.
Casts can be made in plaster, resin or bronze. The latter involves several additional stages, usually carried out at a specialist foundry – production of a hollow wax cast, which is then ‘sprued’ up and coated in a ceramic shell. (Sprues are wax rods attached to the sculpture which will form a network of ceramic tubes through which the bronze runs and the air escapes – they are also called ‘runners and risers’.)
The wax is melted out of the shell, into which molten bronze can be poured. Once the bronze has cooled and solidified the ceramic shell is broken off. The bronze cast then has to be fettled (sprues removed etc.) and patinated.
This is a complicated and highly skilled process, which is why bronzes are expensive. However, bronze is a beautiful and long lasting material.