The Sculpture Process

FROM CLAY TO BRONZE

To craft a custom-built monument or sculpture from one’s mind to the finished bronze product involves a number of steps. All of our bronze is fabricated in-house at Buccacio Sculpture Services, which is exclusive to the Southern New England area. The techniques and process’s to create a bronze has not changed since the Renaissance, although some of the materials are now different. A well-made bronze sculpture will withstand the test of time no matter which outdoor environment it resides.

1. SKETCHES

Prospective ideas are first put to paper in order to visualize the design. An approved sketch then becomes a small clay model, which is created understand the design in three dimensions. The third dimension gives the artists another perspective to consider when crafting the piece. Contrary to other studios or art companies, Buccacio Sculpture oversees the entire process of creating a work of fine art from design, modeling, bronze casting, finishing, and installation to dedication. The whole design process is executed solely in our studio. Exclusive to the Southern New England area, we provide these design services for any individual or organization as a single project or we incorporate the design process into the scope of a larger project.

2. CLAY MAQUETTE

Then a third model is created one third of the size of the final sculpture. It is important that this model have accurate proportions to be studied by the artist to insure no small mistakes are made. Any imperfection will be magnified in the larger final form. Using the measurements from the scaled model, we create a steel armature. The armature is made of strong steel tubing that acts like a skeleton to help support the clay. Once the steel is sealed with shellac, we build the clay inside the armature. Since the clay is actually an oil-based wax medium it will never dry like water-based clay. The full-scale model is slowly built up with this clay and the surface detail is meticulously sculpted to completion.

©CLAYSCULPTURE- BUCCACIO SCULPTURE SERVICES LLC
©BUCCACIO BRONZE SCULPTURE VIETNAM MEMORIALS
©BUCCACIO BRONZE SCULPTURE SPECIAL F/x SERVICES
©BUCCACIO CLAY MAQUETTE SERVICES
©BUCCACIO BRONZE IRISH POTATO FAMINE MONUMENT
©CLAY MAQUETTES - BUCCACIO SCULPTURE SERVICES LLC
©SPECIAL F/X SCULPTING - BUCCACIO SCULPTURE SERVICES LLC
©BUCCACIO BRONZE SCULPTURE SPECIAL F/x SERVICES
©CLAYSCULPTURE- BUCCACIO SCULPTURE SERVICES LLC

3. MAKING A MOLD

Once completed, the full-scale clay model is primed for a mold. Liquid silicone rubber is used, which is brushed in layers over the clay surface. It becomes a perfect flexible solid when a catalyst is added. In addition, a mold made of reinforced plaster will keep the rubber in position when it is being removed from the model. The plaster mold is made to house multiple pieces, and the rubber is cut to fit in each individual part. The rubber mold is a negative and it is used to make a positive wax cast.

The wax is brushed and poured into the molds to a thickness of about a quarter of an inch. After the wax is removed from the rubber mold, it is touched up and another series of molds are made to form an imprint of the inside and outside of the wax model. These final molds are made at the foundry and when completed are moved into a burnout oven. The heat of the oven is so high that the wax gradually melts out of the bottom of the molds, which is where the term “lost wax” comes from. Then the molten bronze is poured where the wax was inside the armature and it picks up all of the surface detail from the surface of the final mold. Once the bronze has cooled, the mold is broken apart to reveal the final pieces of the sculpture.

THE FOLLOWING IMAGES ARE OF THE VIETNAM MEMORIAL FROM CLAY TO MOLD TO BRONZE:

4. MAKING THE BRONZE

All sections of the sculpture are cleaned and the flashing, vents, and seams are closed. The individual parts are then welded together and the surface of the bronze is fully finished. Heating the metal and applying several coats of chemicals to the piece is what helps the artist reach patina, or rich color of the bronze. Finally, coating the bronze with Incralac and wax protects the surface. The techniques used to make the final sculpture are so involved, they often take months to years to complete.

BUCCACIO NEWSLETTER

Menu