Wednesday, July 27, 2011
It's a hot July day in Indiana, not just hot...humid. Here I am; long sleeves, trousers, apron, rubber gloves, mask. I've been at this for hours. The gas mask is percolating with my own humidity. The air is toxic with fumes from Cupric and Ferric acid generated from the propane torch that roars in my head like a jet taking off...and I am in bliss.
About a year ago, I decided I wanted to create bronze castings of my burl work. My burl carvings are so time consuming and the burl so scarce that I wanted to see if these sculptures of mine would translate well into bronze. The castings have far exceeded my original expectations....and so has the effort required to make it happen. A year ago, I was totally ignorant of the bronze casting process. I had never given much thought as to what the process, the effort required. My ignorance was probably a good thing...what is that old saying about fools go where others fear to tread?
The foundry that made the castings for me could not apply the patina I desired due to safety concerns with the toxic chemicals of the formula I selected. I wanted the bronze to appear as much like the original burl carvings as possible. I was left with only one choice, learn as much about the process of bronze patina as I could as quickly as I could. Again, here treads a fool....but I've discovered something of myself. If I'm not learning something, I'm bored.
Not to bore you with all the details, the process of patina went like this;
Buy a book. Consult the experts. Order the equipment. Choose a patina formula. Order the chemicals. Create a work space. Bone up on chemistry. Experiment. Practice.
Take a leap of faith. Slow down. Concentrate. And some days, the magic works.
I'll post images of the finished bronze soon.