My sculptures begin with a three-dimensional vision, an internal blueprint that stays with me throughout the entire creative process. Although my hands are the tools to make a sculpture, ninety percent of the work comes from my mind. Once the sculpture mirrors my initial vision, I know I have successfully fulfilled my mission. Expressing detail is also very important. I feel the need to captivate my audience. Intense detail encourages a closer and more in-depth look into my pieces. My hope is that my work inspires a sense of creativity.
After finishing the details of the clay sculpture and hollowing the entire piece to within one inch of thickness, it is fired in the kiln. I then use copper, bronze, or silver paint to add dimension. The way the light hits the painted sculptures accentuates certain details, shadows, and highlights that would not have been as clearly visible, if at all visible, without the paint. On occasion, I apply the use of mixed media and add actual organic parts of the animal to the sculpture that were once instrumental physiological features essential to the animal's survival.
My last and final step is to cast each piece into 100% hot cast bronze or aluminum. This process takes place at a foundry, a workshop that specializes in casting different metals. It can take anywhere from six weeks to four months to produce a single piece.
For a more in depth look at what happens at the foundry, see below:
First, a rubber mold is made for the fired clay sculpture. The rubber consists of two pieces and a thick ceramic shell. Both molds are mirrored indentations of the original sculpture. Hot wax is then poured into the depressions of the rubber mold and then poured out, evenly coating the interior walls of the mold when dried.
A thin ceramic shell is applied to the mold by dipping the mold into a heat resistant liquid and then coating it with a heat resistant sand or stucco. After the ceramic shell is completely dry, the piece is inverted and placed in a kiln at 1800 degrees causing the shell to become strong. (As seen below).
Molten bronze or aluminum, heated to 2200 degrees, is poured into the cavities of the shell. This dissolves the wax and takes the shape of the original wax replica. After a cooling period, the thinner, protective ceramic shell is chipped away and sand blasted, revealing the metal casting. All pieces are one hundred percent aluminum or bronze.
The final step is to give the bronze or aluminum sculpture an aged look, known as the Patina process. This is done by using various chemicals and/or an application of a heavy flame to control the lightness or darkness of the bronze or aluminum.