|Bronze casting is a multi-faceted procedure. There are over a dozen distinctive steps in the process from start to finish.
Modeling of the clay. This call never dries and can be re-worked an unlimited amount of times. Austin spends from 600 hours to 2,000 hours on life size and just over life size wo
|In model making, the artist creates an original model from wax or clay. This is followed up with mold making, where a fiberglass or plaster case is made. The mother mold is important for supporting flexible material and is kept for future use to recreate the original as needed.
Then, a special layer of wax poured or painted into the interior of the mold, referred to as wax pouring, coats the mold.
|From there, a ceramic shell is created. Each piece is dipped into a slurry of silica sand. This process is repeated several times; along with giving bigger pieces receive thicker shells.
Burnout comes next, which involves de-waxing the wax sculpture.
|Testing/Patching/Preheat is where the pieces are tested to see if water will flow out. The shell is then reheated in the kiln to harden it and remove all traces of moisture. After reaching the desired temperature, molten bronze is poured in. This is called metal pouring. Once the bronze is cool, the ceramic shell is hammered, chiseled, and is released by sandblasting.
Next, welding joins the pieces together that were just cast. This takes quite a bit of time and is a very skilled and process.
After welding, metal chasing comes next (similar to wax chasing). This is where grinding tools are used to grind down each weld. This is one of the most grueling processes of the sculpture making process.
Finishing touches include patina and basing. It includes chemical coloration of the surface of the bronze which is then sealed with a coat of wax or lacquer. Today, you can use just about any color under the sun. (This is one of Austin’s favorite steps as this is what people will see for generations to come.)