Newsboy-Preparing The Small Sculpture For The Foundry

Oct 25th-Nov 1 2004
Sculptor Bridgette Mongeon has documented the entire process of creating a figurine of a newsboy and a life-size bronze sculpture. Watch the artist work through these posts. In this blog, she has also included information for students and teachers. In the previous post, we watched the artist Finish The Small Newsboy Sculpture.

If you are lost and want to go back to the chronological running list of posts, follow this link.

What a week this has been. I was very busy. Once the small sculpture was completely sculpted, I had to prepare it for the foundry. This means making a mold and cleaning up waxes. Let me explain:

With every limited edition bronze, a mold is made. This mold is created in many steps. First I study the sculpture figuring out how the mold will come off the sculpture or how the wax will be removed. This foresight comes from experience. When I figure this out, I separate those areas with metal shims.

After separating the sculpture, I start to paint the sculpture with rubber. It is important to get the rubber in each crevice and detail without any air bubbles. After the rubber is painted on, a mother mold of plaster is put on the sculpture. This holds the rubber in place. You may notice that I cut off the right arm of the newsboy so that it would help with my mold making process. The paper he is holding is also separate as well as the papers that are on the ground. For each of these, I made separate molds. Once the mold is complete, I take it apart. There is usually no saving the original; it is destroyed in the demolding. (If you are an art student reading this journal, please check back to the main web site. I hope to provide free online classes in mold making, sculpting, and casting. I am working on them now. Or you could sign up for the newsletter, to be sure that you are notified.)

When the mold is complete the wax is poured hollow with three coats of hot wax. For each metal sculpture that you have in an edition, a wax is needed. The small newsboy sculpture is an edition of 100. So, I will eventually pour 100 waxes, but I will only do that as needed, as orders are placed. My goal was to have 4 wax newsboys by Friday, but I had three other projects that I was also finishing up and the dog sculpture that also needed a mold made and then a wax. When the mold is complete the wax is poured hollow with three coats of wax.

When the wax comes out of the mold, I work on cleaning them as well as putting some extra detail into the wax. By the end of the week, I only had two newsboys and one wax dog. The dog was the other sculpture going to the foundry.

I should mention that not all artists make their own molds and pour waxes. Many send this part to the foundry. I do it for a couple of reasons. Time and convenience- it saves me time to work the waxes in my own studio and take them there, instead of working at the foundry. There are also many artists who don’t work their waxes. I don’t really “like” to work wax, and many times I have apprentices in the studio doing this type of work for me. I do like making sure of the details in this process.

I packed each of the sculptures very carefully. I also packed a third sculpture in the car; it is a portrait bust of Nolan Ryan’s grandchild that I hope to deliver to Round Rock, just north of Austin.

Even working until late at night all week, I could not get everything that I wanted done. By the end of the week I only had two wax newsboys, the dog, and the Nolan Ryan sculpture. I had to abandon the 4th project until my return to the studio.

We headed for Austin. Saturday we delivered the sculptures to Ruth Ryan’s office and then went to tour the Capitol building in Austin. I wanted to see the grounds where the life-size sculpture “might” go. Remember, it still has to pass legislation to be put on the capitol grounds. There are several sculptures on the grounds. I took some photos and had the opportunity to tour the capitol building. I don’t have any say as to where the sculpture should be placed, but I thought this grassy area on the north side would be perfect. As I watched the people coming in and out of the capitol building, I thought, “this is where a newsboy would stand to sell his papers.”

While in Austin I also visited the Elizabet Ney museum. Elizabet Ney was a sculptor 1833-1907. She lived and worked in Texas, just before the time period of our newsboy. She has two sculptures in the state capitol building, Stephen Austin and Sam Houston. Her studio, the museum, is just north of this downtown area. It was a great treat for me to see her work.

Next week I will get started on sculpting the life-size sculpture. The trip to the capitol, watching the small newsboys go off to the foundry, and visiting Elizabet Ney’s museum all have increased my inspiration and anticipation for next week’s work.

Before we go on to the life-size sculpture, let’s do a Review of the Process.

The cost of the small bronze newsboy sculpture mounted on a wooden base is $1,350. If you would like to purchase a sculpture please fill in the contact form. A deposit of 1/2 or $675. is required. The balance will be due upon notification that the sculpture is ready for delivery from the foundry. You can send your check to:
Bridgette Mongeon, PO BOX 10562, Houston, Texas 77206. Or you can pay by e mail through pay pal.

• How did Elizabet Ney have an effect on the history or art education in Texas? Search the Elizabet Ney links for a clue.

• It was unheard of for a women to be a sculptor in the time period of Elizabet Ney. She was greatly admired by many in Texas. In many ways, she paved the way for other women sculptors.

• Elizabet Ney lived on a plantation called Liendo, outside of Hempstead, Texas. What effect did General Custer have on the Liendo plantation?

• If our newsboy is set in the period of 1929, who was the governor in Texas at that time? Here is a hint.

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