About my process

Some questions that are frequently asked of me:

What does ‘unique bronze’ mean?

When applied to a bronze casting it means “the only one.” All my bronze sculptures are unique casts.

Many bronze sculptures are editioned, a mould is made of the original sculpture and via that mould a number of wax replications of the initial object are made.

What process do you use?

I use the lost-wax process of casting. When I have finished creating my sculpture in wax and wood I take it to a foundry to be cast in bronze.

At the foundry they create a ceramic mould around the work, then goes into the furnace, where the ceramic shell hardens and the wax and wood burns out and is “lost”.
Next, molten bronze metal is poured into the hollow mould. By this means the image is replicated in bronze.

Each bronze formed this way is termed an “original” and “unique” as the wax model no longer exists. Each one is the only one of that particular subject or design. My tree sculptures originate with small found branches, each of which is distinct and irreplaceable.

My work, the wax models that go to the foundry bypass the initial mould step used in editioned bronzes. That mould permits the creation of multiple identical castings. Here there can be only one.

Do you cast your own work?

No, since 2015 I have worked with Craig McDonald and the Garage Art Foundry in Elphingstone.

My kind of non-traditional work has presented challenges for them when casting but despite this they have cast all my works with minimal problems.

My work has given us both cause for a lot of problem solving in order for success. I have had to learn how to design and create works that avoid some problems that have occurred and so too have they in the casting process.

It is still a bit of a gamble each time, with unique works, if they don’t cast properly it may be impossible to repair and then all the time and effort gone into making the work is lost.

I am happy to report this has never happened, luckily bronze is a very forgiving medium and many casting flaws can be repaired or I can work with them. But really thanks to Craig’s expertise and patience, it is a great collaborative partnership and I highly recommend them.

Do you patina your own work?

Yes, once I pick my work up from the foundry I like to work back into it with some electric and hand tools to put my mark back on it and feel in touch with it again. Once I have done that I apply the patina.

Patina is the surface colour treatment of a bronze sculpture created from a chemical change in the surface of the bronze when different chemical solutions are applied to the surface of the sculpture along with the catalyst of heat.

The alchemy behind the variety of colours which is possible with a patina on bronze is so extraordinary with different chemicals producing different colours.