There are many who
practice Art Casting and create Artistic Casting works. Learn about the history
of Artistic Casting and the way that you can practice Art Casting.
casting is an ancient method of creating statues and sculptures that has been
in practice in Meso-America,
Ancient Egypt since 2000 BC. The Greeks practiced it, so did the Romans, and
pretty much any civilization with a strong interest in art.
Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper that has been used to make weapons and
sculptures since its discovery by man. Bronze is able to fill in the fine
detail of molds making it very desirable to artists. When art casting, bronze
is the alloy of choice since it is both beautiful and easy to work with. There
are few examples of bronze statues left from antiquity since the alloy became
scarce and many of the statues were melted down for weapons and other
sculptures usually for new emperors or victors.
The Lost Wax Casting process is the preferred method used when art casting.
This process was used in ancient times to create bronze items. Small foundries
like the type found in backyards, personnel workshops, and garages are able to
use the Lost Wax Casting process with a certain amount of professionalism.
Commercial foundries and professional art companies use the Lost Wax Casting
process as well to create custom items and monuments. The process remains,
essentially, the same since the ancient craftsmen who first pioneered the
method. When used in commercial manufacturing or jewelry making, the Lost Wax
Casting process is called Investment Casting.
Art casting is one of the more enjoyable reasons to fire up the furnace and get
into metal casting. While most think metal casting to be strictly limited to
hobbyist and historical re-enactors, casting is a popular skill and craft used
by a wide range of people for varying reasons. Artists see the need to have
metal casting skills as it allows the artists to have direct control over the
process instead of out sourcing it to a commercial foundry. Commercial foundries
that specialize in custom pieces will often charge outrageous prices for their
services. Art casting on your own is often times economical and just smart.
The Lost Wax Casting process is rather simple when compared to other casting
methods but it can be time consuming and attention to detail is important. The
artists will start with an original piece sculpted from wax. The original can
be made of other substances like clay or even metal but wax seems to be the
easiest to work with. The original will be used to make the mold. If the piece
to be cast is large, multiple molds will be needed. This is common in art
casting and completely possible with the use of shims and keys that will allow
placing the pieces together after the casting process easier. Most molds will
be made out of latex or other materials to help transfer the fine detail into
the mold cavity.
The original is often destroyed during the mold making process upon removal.
Molten wax is poured into the mold until the desired thickness is achieved.
When dry, this wax copy is removed and chased which rids the piece of
imperfections and is used to combine the pieces. You will place paths for
the molten metal on the wax copy. You will also place a cup or funnel at
the top of the copy. This process is called spruing and is done in wax.
A ceramic shell is placed around the copy. The shell isn't really ceramic but a
sand and liquid silica combination. You will repeat this step until the
shell is thick enough for the piece. You will then heat the item which will
melt the wax inside. The wax runs out of the shell through the paths placed
Then comes the part for the molten bronze. The bronze is poured into the top of
the hollow shell. When cool you are going to remove the shell carefully to
reveal the finished product. The bronze sculpture is chased, painted, and
finished up however the artists choose.
Art casting can be done with any metal or alloy. If you are going to use the
Lost Wax Casting process then you do not have to stick with bronze. Try other
metals until you receive the perfect look for your piece.