Forest Hills artist and neighbor Deborah Lacroix (‘Part Geometry And Part Poetry’: The Art Of Deborah LaCroix) is hosting a public viewing at her studio gallery (4625 30th Street NW) on Sunday, April 19th from 2 to 4:30 p.m. There you’ll see some of her newest creations: Six small bronze sculptures.
LaCroix tells us about the process of casting the sculptures from wax figures:
Over the course of this winter, I made repeated trips to the Wegner Metal Arts Foundry located in Fredericksburg, VA to participate in the casting of some of my wax figure sculptures in bronze. Wax figure sculptures are inherently vulnerable and casting preserves them for posterity. The “lost wax” bronze casting procedure proved to be a very exciting and also exacting process.
The first trip was simply to deliver the work and to discuss in general my artistic expectations, including the wax casting, the limited edition total, possible patinas and mounting. (And of course, cost!). The foundry then proceeded to fabricate the first of two molds – a silicone mold from each original wax sculpture which was then used to make the wax castings– precise duplicates of the originals.
Once the wax casting was pulled from this mold, it was my turn again on a second trip to “re-detail” each duplicate. Then for the second mold, each duplicate then underwent a repetitive dip into a liquid ceramic shell material, ranging from fine to course, with dryings between each dip. This created a ceramic shell for each duplicate which was then fired in a kiln by the foundry in order to create a second hollow ceramic shell as each wax casting was melted from its shell.
Then came the next step. When the ceramic molds were removed from the kiln, the molten bronze, at 2100 Fahrenheit, was immediately poured into each shell. After the castings cooled, the foundry broke away each shell to reveal each unfinished bronze sculpture. The foundry then sandblasted each bronze to remove any shell fragments and to ensure an even bronze finish for the patina.
My third trip, which required an overnight stay due to the number of sculptures to be completed, involved my participation in the choice and application of the patina chemicals to achieve the desired color quality and highlighting. The final steps were to heat wax and polish each sculpture and to complete any necessary mounting on marble. Voila!
Public viewing details:
“Six Small Bronzes”
Sunday, April 19, 2-4:30pm
LaCroix Studio Gallery
4625 30th St NW
Washington, DC 20008