The Lost Wax Process, Part 1

the material

In my sculpture class, I am making a bronze casting.  To do this, I first made a wax mold of the figure I want to cast. The wax is very hard to move and alter, allowing it to hold its shape in a mold. I also found that wax is very forgiving, unlike clay. When you make a form in clay, you cannot move it and alter its shape for too long because the more you work with it the weaker it becomes; if you add to more clay to a piece, you must make sure you make a secure bond, other wise it will crack in the kiln. Wax is much different, you can add wax to it without worries, alter the shape as long as you want, and also it never dries out. I still prefer clay over other materials, but wax wasn’t difficult to learn.

IMG_4303IMG_4304My mold

For my mold, I wanted to create an organic, flame-like form. The piece is a positive mold. It has negative space and movement. The center is hollow and the structures form around the hollow space. My hope is that the bronze, because of its shinny/shimmering surface, will pick up light from its surroundings and reflect it back inside the hollow space. I also like the idea of the positive forms making a negative shape in the piece’s center. This was my first time working with wax, and I feel strong about the form I made.

Creating the mold

To cast bronze, you must make a mold of your piece in plaster. By making a liquid plaster substance that can be poured around the wax mold, the plaster can dry and harden to create a negative mold for the bronze to be cast in. To make the negative to pour the bronze into, the mold must have a pour cup and vents. This is to make it easier to pour the bronze in the mold and to allow the gasses to escape during the pouring process. After the plaster mold is dry, it can be placed in a kiln to melt out the wax and plastic. The wax sculpture and the plastic cup and straw will melt out of the plaster and all that will be left is the negative mold made of the created form. A negative plaster model is what I have currently made. I am waiting to pour liquid bronze into the negative mold to create the bronze sculpture. I will be sure to show everyone the finished piece once it is finished.

Have you ever tried making a sculpture using the lost wax technique? Tell me about it in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “The Lost Wax Process, Part 1

  1. Thanks for commenting! I can’t say I LOVE doing the lost wax process, but I Have been enjoying it. I’m working on the clean-up process now, and it is exhausting. When I finally removed all of the plaster from the bronze, it looked pretty good. I stil have to polish and work on it more, but I’m pretty happy with the results thus far. I will be sure to write about it when it’s finished, and hopefully you can tell me what you think :). Can you give me any tips, since it’s my first time?

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