Hot Shoppin’

Late last night, under the cover of darkness, bronze was being heated to 1800 degrees in the depths of Insalaco, which we sculpture majors call the Hot Shop. This area is the home to every hot working tool that the studio has at its disposal, including kilns, welders, anvils, a multitude of hammers, a gas forge, coal forge, and, of course, the forge used for superheating metal.

Deep inside the forge, within an insulated crucible, an ingot of bronze was slowly becoming molten and liquid in order to use it to pour into a mold. The kilns were on, the sandbox was ready, and everyone had as much heat protection on as possible.

A bronze pour is much like Christmas in the sense that there is a whole lot of anticipation involved. After waiting about 45 minutes to heat the metal, 30 minutes of set up, the pour itself seems a bit lack luster, lasting roughly 30 seconds.

Afterwards there is a lot of clean up involved. The entire studio has to be put back together and then comes the cleaning of your bronze. There is almost always excess metal involved, called flashing, that can sometimes be difficult to be removed. Though if all goes as planned, after all is said and done, you’ll come out with an amazing piece of sculpture.

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