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THE LOST WAX PROCESS

 

These sculpts are produced using the “lost wax” process for casting the bronze pieces.  This process is especially well suited for the casting of intricate works created by highly skilled sculptors.

First developed in ancient China and Egypt, the basic principles of lost wax casting remain unchanged, though new materials and process refinements have improved the quality of the results achieved by modern day foundries.

The sculptor creates an original model from wax, clay, or another material.  A master mold is made by surrounding the original with a semi-soft material which takes the exact shape of the original, and the master mold is supported by a rigid outer shell.

Once the original is removed, the master mold can be used to create wax duplicates of the original piece.  Each is carefully cleaned and adjusted by the foundry to ensure that all the details of the original concept are properly recreated.

The wax ‘positive’ is then surrounded by a ceramic shell which is heated to a very high temperature.  The heat first melts the wax model – thus the term “lost wax” method – and also hardens the ceramic shell into a strong mold.  The cavity of this mold is then filled with molten bronze.

When the bronze hardens, the ceramic mold is chipped off to reveal the individual bronze casting.  The casting is then trimmed, polished, finished and mounted on its base.

This process is repeated for each sculpture in each of the limited editions offered here.  Each owner is therefore assured of a Paul Fairley sculpture that is a unique, beautiful and original creation, part of a sculpting tradition that is as old and as durable as civilization itself.

Full details of the process and its history are provided on Wikipedia’s Lost-Wax Casting page.

The foundry for Paul Fairley sculptures is Artcast Inc.