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!


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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Marble Carving Ballerina

Dear Art Lover,
     I cannot go to the stone quarry in Vellano, Italy, every day.  Two days in a row of carving stone is too much for my knee, which never seems to heal!  But also, I have other projects and obligations in this period and am trying to find a balance among them.

     However, I have started a new carving on a piece of green marble I bought in Pietrasanta when I dropped off my new bronze sculpture at a foundry there.  Each day or half day at Cava Nardini makes me happy.  I mean, such lovely views! Many times there are also wonderful clouds and sunsets. The light changes plenty for interest.

Direct stone carving, drawing on stone, green marble in Cava Nardini
Stone carving in progress - new start
sunset over Valleriana, Tuscany, Italy as viewed from Cava Nardini in Vellano

     I often try to choose a stone that I have never worked with before.  This green marble with white inclusions in the cracks is beautiful, but as Marco Nardini describes:  It is like glass… chipping and shattering.  It is better to grind such a stone than to carve it.  I had hoped the cracks were superficial You will see in at least one of these photos that the quality of this stone may be difficult to manage.  Dead stone or stone separated with such weaknesses must be removed and I will have to redesign based on what is left in the stone.  However, if I pull it off, she will be lovely. 
Examining cracks in marble for stone carving
Cracks are even more evident once the carving started.
Vellano, Italy, Cava Nardini, Tuscany, mountains, hills, clouds, changes in light
I am always fascinated by the light changes over the hills.
      I am carving an abstract ballerina with fabric flowing up over her head.  It is a challenge to design and carve flowing curves in a rectangular cut stone.  I want to make it so that when I have completed her, your brain will not see the original shape of the rock, and instead just enjoy her current form. And, you may recall that colorful stones look rather pasty until they are polished.  This rock is a lovely not-quite-as-dark-as-forest green with white marble hightlights.  She is busy enough in pattern that I want to create only simple shapes to show off her personality.
direct carver, stone carving, drawing on stone, design
Direct carving:  drawing design on the stone and then cut.
     Oh, the image of the tree jutting into the sky is a castagna tree, or chestnut.  During and after the symposium in July, we sculptors were enjoying plucking plums.  This past Sunday in Vellano was a festival for chestnuts.  It is so amazing to eat food in its own season.  I find it is a way to celebrate change, and unfortunately be a way to become even more aware of the passing years.  And our weather has turned cold this week.

view, Tuscany, Castelvecchio, Valleriana, Italy, Cava Nardini
Lovely subtle light changes as the day ends
Castagna Tree, Chestnut Tree, Vellano, Tuscany, Italy, Cava Nardini
Castagna [Italian] = Chestnut

Stone quarry, stone carving, mountain view, Tuscany, Vellano Cava Nardini
Cava Nardini, Vellano, Tuscany, Italy

P.S.  Happy Anniversary to Amber and Alex! 


This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.