The bronze sculpture In Harmony has been in its new home in Schorndorf for a few weeks. It makes me very happy to see her there. It lies in a private garden, here still on a temporary base.
Creating a large bronze sculpture is always an adventure for me. I can work on the model in peace and at my own pace. I keep stepping back and sometimes take a week-long break to go to work with a fresh perspective. Towards the end I become a perfectionist and spend days smoothing the surface.
When the model is finished, I give it to the foundry. Now others are doing the work and I come to watch them from time to time. That sounds good. Nevertheless, it is not easy for me to hand over the work on “my” sculpture to someone else.
In the foundry , the bronze sculpture In Harmony is cast in several parts and then welded together. The surface is then sanded. At the very end, the bronze is patinated. This is the most exciting part for me.
Freshly cut bronze has a reddish-gold hue. Due to environmental influences, it develops a dark brown, sometimes green patina over time. Patination involves treating the surface of the bronze with various chemicals to achieve a specific hue. By subsequently sealing the surface with wax or varnish, an uncontrolled change in color should be avoided.
Patination is an art. With chemicals and heat, new reactions are constantly being brought about in the bronze in numerous work steps. In this case, a dark green patina was created, which in some places almost mysteriously reveals the original golden brown color. It underlines the radiance of the bronze sculpture In Harmony optimal.
Only recently did I pick up the second cast of the bronze sculpture Two Points from the foundry. And it already found a new home again. Even if I'm happy that it is now pleasing someone else, I still miss it in the studio. This seemingly simple shape has a very special charisma.
It's a long way from the first drafts to the finished sculpture. The following photos of the making of the bronze sculpture Two Points show only a small part of this path.
Design in plaster
I put a layer of plaster over a core made of styrofoam. The shape of the sculpture has already been found, but the surface is still very roughly worked.
I keep applying plaster of paris and sanding it down until the shape is really right. When the plaster model is finished, I use it to create the negative form.
The mold consists of an inner, soft silicone form and an outer support form made of plaster of paris. It is made around the model. Its most important property is therefore that it can be removed from the model without destroying it. In this case, two parts are sufficient. I take the negative mold and model to the foundry to have a bronze cast made of the sculpture Two Points .
Raw casting of the sculpture
The production of a bronze cast is very complex. First, a wax model is created with the negative form. The sprues are attached to this from wax. Then the wax model is repeatedly dipped in a kind of thin clay soup and dried for several days. When the clay gets fired, the wax flows out, leaving a cavity in which the bronze can be poured.
Surface treatment of the bronze casting
After casting, the clay must be knocked off on the outside and inside. Holes have to be cut in a closed shape like this so that the clay on the inside can be removed. Then the holes are welded shut again. I took on the surface treatment of the bronze sculpture Two Points with file and sandpaper. I like to work by hand because it gives me a better feel for the smoothness and tension of the surface.
Patinating the bronze sculpture Two Points
For the final surface treatment, I bring the sculpture back to the foundry. Patinating is an art in itself. With the help of various chemicals, the bronze reacts and changes its color. In this case, the Art foundry Kollinger brought out a beautiful red-brown color.
At the end of a long life was featured at the online exhibition On being by Sculptors Allinace in New York. For the panel talk about the exhibition, I tell you how this piece was created: where I found the wood, how I designed the shape, which tools I used and which supposed disappointment ultimately defines the special character of the sculpture.
The wood was given to me by friends. Their cherry tree had lost a branch. They had already sawed into firewood when I discovered it. At the beginning I design a new sculpture with a small piece of modeling clay. Then I saw the wood into shape with the chainsaw, using the clay model as a template. At one point the piece comes to life. I put the model aside and let the lines and curves of the wood guide me. This part of the job is what I enjoy most because it is no longer my mind but my soul that takes the lead. At the same time, however, the most exhausting part of my journey is with a new piece.
I switch from chainsaw to file and then to sandpaper. I love running my hands over the smooth surfaces and following the lines of the piece. This pleasure always seduces me to strive for perfection. In this case, the perfection was destroyed when the wood dried, as small cracks opened and distorted the smooth surfaces. At first I was disappointed, but soon this became the feature I value most about this piece because it reminds me of an old person.
Life inflicts physical and emotional wounds on us. In other places it grinds us smooth, makes us gentle. Everything about a person is a testimony to his life. The way we run, the way we hold our heads, the arching of our backs, the wrinkles on our faces: all of this tells of the difficulties we faced, how we dealt with them and how we live today.
So the name for this piece came naturally: At the end of a long life it shows both wounds and smoothness, like we do as humans.