Thursday 24 August 2023

#798 "They're Always Chasing Me"

 "They're Always Chasing Me"
8.5"H x 18"W x 8"D
Ed. 35

#797 "Pig O' My Heart"

Pig 'O My Heart
16H x 13W x 10D
Ed size. 35

#796 "Bunnies and Blooms"


"Bunnies and Blooms"
11"H x 12"W x 8"D
Ed. size 35

Sunday 13 August 2023

#795 - Installation of 399 Monument

 I get to live with the sculpture for one day before installation as the seal and wax cures.

Early in the morning of installation day the sculpture has been loaded onto the trailer and ready for delivery to the National Museum of Military Vehicles (NMMV) in Dubois, Wyoming.

`Waiting for us on-site is Dan Starks, the creator and CEO of the museum.

Much time was spent setting the monument in place on the prepared pad as Dan wanted #399 to be facing westward toward the Grand Teton range where she and her cubs reside. Note the original clay maquette that is being used to carefully place the cubs in relation to the protective sow.

Stainless steel pins are welded to the steel armature inside the monument. The sculpture will be lowered and the location of the pins will be marked on the concrete; these precise points will first be drilled into the concrete with a smaller drill bit to serve as pilot holes for the larger concrete-cutting bit to do its work. The installation team made use of compressed air to remove the extracted concrete dust from each of the 24-attach points for the bear and the cubs.

The holes for each of the 24-stainless steel attached pins have been prepped and next the sculpture will be delicately lowered into the epoxy-filled holes. After the epoxy cures, #399 will be permanently secured in her new home. 

Note: The sculpture is pinned into place six inches above the concrete pad. This ensures plenty of space for top soil to be placed under the sculpture and completely cover the pad. Natural landscaping of the raised berm site comes next.

Notice how different the patina appears at different times of the day. This creates ever-changing and dramatic impressions upon the viewer.  My favorite time of day to experience outdoor sculpture is early morning or late afternoon . . . the shadows are more pronounced and form is strong and well-defined.

Installation complete! Can't wait to see the landscaping and will post again upon completion. Dan Starks, 
the Grizzly 399 Foundation, and donors were dream clients to work with. . . Thank you!

Sunday 6 August 2023

#794 - Final Quality-Check and Patina

At this stage, the bear has been sandblasted and I am inspecting the welds, seamlines, and chasing before patina.

Fit-up, welding, armature, chasing, and the final sandblasting have been completed. The patina is a permanent color that is applied to the bronze. The surface of the sculpture is heated and treated
with chemicals which react with the copper in the bronze. Various colors can be obtained by using different chemicals; for instance, ferric nitrate gives golds, rusts, and reddish tinges, while liver of sulfur produces browns and blacks.

In the above image, a foundry technician applies liver of sulfur to the sculpture;
one of the few chemicals that does not require heat during application.

This image shows a wash-down after liver of sulfur and scotch-brite scrubbing.

After liver of sulfur is applied, the sculpture is scrubbed back with scotch-brite pads to reveal high points and enhance the patina. The scrubbed areas accepts the ferric nitrate as heat is applied. Note, one technician is blasting with propane heat and the other is spraying ferric nitrate.

After the sculpture cools, seal is applied to protect the sculpture surface.

After the seal cures the sculpture is waxed, and after the wax hardens the sculpture is buffed imparting a time-honored luster.

#793 Metal Assembly, Metal Chasing, and Sandblast

The bronze panels, devoid of ceramic shell, are taken to the sandblasting room where they are cleaned.

The bronze sprews are cut off from the panels and returned to the pouring floor where they will be melted down for future use.

Before fit-up and welding begins, the bronze panels are placed on the floor and the enormous sculpture is assembled like a jigsaw puzzle.

Note, the panels were numbered in clay and are visible in the cast bronze.
These numbers will be ground off or "chased" as the work is completed.

The clay model devoid of some of the clay is in the background to assist in fit-up.
The panels are assembled, fit-up, and tacked together with welds.

The welds will be ground off or "chased" as the monument nears completion. During chasing, the metal chaser will blend and integrate the weld marks . . . leaving no trace of seam lines. As the welds are chased away and blended into the surrounding metal textures, I spend many hours in the foundry. The metal chasing step in the process is very important to the artist: The integrity of the surface and what was modeled into the clay must flow seamlessly. A metal chaser is a highly trained technician and must be sensitive to and aware of the sculptors modeling techniques.

Looking past the original clay model, which damaged during mold pull, note the heavy steel armature emerging from the bear's feet. Bronze is over 95% copper and the soft metal is not strong enough to support itself when cast in large, heavy monuments. Therefore, a steel armature must be placed inside the sculpture to provide structural support. Imagine a garment hanging from and supported by a coat hanger and one can envision the armature procedure.

Notice the steel bar inserted in the leg. One panel has not been welded in place to allow the workers access to the steel armature inside the sculpture.

#792 Sprue, Shell, Burn-out, Cast, Metal Pour, and Removing Shell - Grizzly 399


The sprewed wax panel is heavily incrusted in a thick, hardened 
ceramic shell and ready for the next step, which is the wax burn-out.

The shells are put in a furnace. The wax is melted or "lost" as it escapes and drains away.
The French name cire perdue or "lost wax" bronze casting derives its name from this step in the process.
Below, notice the spout or trough that emerges from the furnace: As the wax begins to melt inside the ceramic shell, it drips out into a bucket and momentarily catches fire.

During the wax burn-out, the ceramic shell which encases the sprewed wax panel is put in a furnace. The wax is melted or "lost" as it escapes and drains away.

Below, notice the spout or trough that emerges from the furnace: As the wax begins to melt inside the ceramic shell, it drips out into a bucket and momentarily catches fire.

The empty ceramic shells have been returned to the furnace to heat up while bronze ingots are melted in a crucible. The temperature of the liquid bronze must reach 2180 degrees before it is ready to pour.

The heated and glowing ceramic shells, devoid of wax, are removed from the furnace, then placed and stabilized in a sand pit . . . the bronze pour begins.

Below, molten bronze is poured into the ceramic shell, filling the space vacated by
the wax as the centuries old cire perdue or "lost wax" bronze casting process continues.

The ceramic shell, filled with bronze, has cooled, is broken off with a hammer and removed from the solidified bronze.

#791 399 Grizzly - From Mold to Wax

Mold completed! Pulling the rubber and plaster mold away from the original clay model.

Inspecting the rubber mold and plaster mother mold.

The pile of over 70 molds for #399 monument!

Pouring and sloshing the 180-degree liquid wax into the mold.

The wax has hardened and we are now peeling the wax copy away from the rubber mold.

Spruing and gating the wax copy; the sprus or gates will serve as the channels through which the molten bronze flows into the panel. Future posts will describe the shell encasement, burnout, metal pour, assembly, and patina.