Thursday, October 13, 2016

Wax Sculpting Foundry Pietrasanta Italy



Dear Art Lover,
     Yesterday I went to Pietrasanta, Italy, to work with the waxes for my new bronze sculpture in progress, "Rock Towers and Frogs" / Torri di sassi e Rane [in Italian].  I am grateful to my many neighbors who help me get to the nearest train station.  I can take the buses, but the hours are not always convenient for the train schedules.  Besides in Pescia, the bus station and the train station are about a 20-25 minute walk away from each other:  Not exactly convenient.  
 
Artist Kelly Borsheim chases her own sculpture waxes, Italy
Here I am chasing my own sculpture waxes, Italy. Foto Da Raymondo
Raymondo chases a wax sculpture part in bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy
Raymondo chases a wax sculpture part in bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy
     I am also grateful that I can walk to the foundry in about 10 minutes from the train station in Pietrasanta.
Once there, I was introduced to Raymondo in the wax-working department.  He is really kind and even spoke with me later about my knee injury, the “interesting” situation with doctors (and a professor) about healing [Raymondo was an avid rock climber and hiker until a recent injury], and other fun stuff.   

     He got me set up at my own little work space and explained to me how this foundry does a few things.  Each foundry works in different ways and I am always delighted to see how.  He knows his work and he also gave me advice on how to transport my molds when I move them from Texas next year.  He also took this shot of me working on the elephant ears of my new composition.

     It was fun to have the wax in my hands again, with the torch’s constant flame nearby. The guys had the radio playing.  I am always astonished at how often American or English-language music is played in Italia.  But a smile widened on my face as I heard the cute Italian man working two stations away from me lower his voice to sing along with Johnny Cash.  What other song could it have been but “Burning Ring of Fire.”  So cute to hear the voice get lower and lower to sing in an Italian accent, “down, down, down…”  Man, you cannot make this stuff up!  Later, the other men chimed in when the radio play Frank Sinatra’s version of “New York.” Of course, you know that crooner is well-known in Italia!

     Raymondo also allowed me to stay working through lunch, while all the men left for an hour break.  So, I snapped these shots of my surroundings as I snacked on apples I had plucked from my landlord’s trees the morning before.  I was grateful for the extra time since I had to leave early to be able to catch a ride home last evening.  
bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy wax sculptures,plasters and molds
bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy wax sculptures,plasters and molds

bronze foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy wax sculptures,plasters and molds
  
     After lunch, I got called over to watch Simone create the wax sprues for the leaves I had finished prepping.  One neat little trick they do there:  Each leaf had a number written into the wax to help the foundrymen know exactly how to reassemble my sculpture once it is in bronze.  I had asked Raymondo if I needed to fill that in with wax now, knowing that it would be difficult to reproduce the surrounding texture in metal later.  Simone showed me that his work included filling in the number just before spruing, so there is no confusion or error.  He replaces the inscription with a small wax button with the same number scratched into it.  The button is more like a thumb tack.  Once the piece is in bronze, the tack is very easy to break off and only leaves a small hole instead of a scrawled number.  Brilliant!  In the photo you may be able to make out the light brown circle just inside the right-most leg of the “bridge” of the sprue he has wax-welded onto the spine of the elephant ear.

Simone creates a wax sprue for later bronze casting
ID thumb tack is inside of sprue leg on right
Simone creates a wax sprue for later bronze casting
Simone creates a wax sprue for later bronze casting



















     
     The rest of the images are pictures of my waxes that still need to be chased (cleaned up/sculpted to a finish).  The Lost Wax Method of casting bronze is a many-stepped and complicated process.  But bronze allows me to create slender extended parts (that the stone medium does not lend itself to) and metal was perfect for this project.

     You may see images of the intended composition in clay, wax, and foam here.  Also, please note that the lower special pre-casting price offer continues through 1 November 2016.  Contact me if you would like to enjoy Rock Towers and Frogs in your own home. Thank you!


    
Peace,
Kelly


P.S.  Happy Birthday, Danielle! 
Wax parts frog cattails rocks of future fountain
Wax parts frog cattails rocks of future fountain

Wax working tools on stand above torch under a suction fan
Wax working tools on stand above torch



















Wax sculpture parts await chasing for bronze casting
Wax sculpture parts await chasing for bronze casting

3 comments:

Jo Castillo said...

Wow, Kelly! So much work.

Joan Tavolott said...

I hopped over here from Jo's blog. I feel like I just had a lesson in wax sculpting. Great read!!!

Kelly Borsheim said...

Thank you, Jo and Joan. The commission arrived after about two months of negotiations. The original sculpture in foam, wax, and clay took about three months and I think some of that was due to being in a foreign country and not knowing what is available here, as well as my not having a car. I ended up using spray insulation foam, for example, since that was all I found at a hardware store that my neighbors brought me to while they ran their errands.

Bronze IS a lot of work and it is also why it is discouraging when people ask for a discount on bronze. Most of the time the artist makes very little, if anything, on the first one and must sell more copies to start breaking even and earning.
But I am grateful to have this commission and also learning new things in my adopted country.
Thank you for reading and supporting the arts!

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