March 1-7, 2005
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 learned a little about cleaning the waxes that we got from the foundry.
If you are lost and want to go back to the chronological running list of posts, follow this link.
Now that the waxes that we worked on have been gated up by the foundry, and degreased, they are ready for the dip. There are two slurries, a thick and a thin one. The first dip is in the thick slurry. The color of the slurry is just something that is added to help the foundry craftsmen see the drying process of each dip. Once the piece is dipped in this liquid it is then sprayed with fine sand. These first two coats of dip and sand are to hold the detail of the piece. The dip room is kept at a certain temperature. If the temperature fluctuates in the dip room it could affect the shell that is being built, and then when they try to pour metal into this shell it could crack. You can only imagine what a problem that would be, molten bronze going everywhere.
Two coats are not enough; there must be several more coats of shell. The latter coats are for strength and have stucco in them. There are a total of 5-12 coats with 1-2 dips per day. It took a week to dip our entire sculpture.
To the left you can see the upper torso and several pieces of the newsboy on the shelf. These photos give you a good look at the pour cups and the gating. Do you see the shoe? You can see how the bottom of the shoe has been cut as well. The photo to the left shows the upper torso. It appears they have cut off the newsboy’s head and arms as well. These photos show only the beginning of the dip. Once these dip pieces are ready. They will go to the furnace to be burned out and the metal will be poured.