Monthly Archives: April 2012


I’ll set the scene. It’s bronze pour day. The furnace is on. Suited up and ready. Camera, action! We have problem with a breakout of one mold…

…but after that we pour everything else.


Cool, knocked the shell off:


Cut off the sprue system and clean up with hand files.


I’ll need to live with them awhile to consider how to finish them. The raw fired coloring is nice but I don’t think it will keep.





Something else twisting

I began something recently, not smoke not water, something else I’ve been thinking about for many months. It comes from the spiral idea which you see in Twisty and Henry (Twisty II). I’ve had it in the vision of my mind, only I hadn’t figured out how to build it exactly. I’ve been waking up in the night and turning this form over in my mind, trying to discover the way to do it, while I fall back asleep. Thank God I’m not one of those people who lays awake at night unable to sleep. This I do just for my own amusement. So I saw finally how I could build it out of parts, basic shapes which would assemble into the piece, how many and what they’d be like. I’m beginning with modeling clay to rehearse how this will work. I’m not sure yet if this finally result in a wax for bronze, or a formal clay model from which to make a good mold, or what. I don’t have much in the way of prepared sketches either. The form is too complicated for me to draw well, so I need a process of sculptural “sketching” to work it out.

Here are some parts, as we say.



I can tell already that this will never free-stand, so I supposed I’d have to make an armature of some kind.


And now,




The molds are set in a kiln to burn out the wax. We say burn-out , not a melt-out because the kiln gets crazy hot, as you’ll see. This guarantees all the wax is gone from the mold – which is important because were any left behind when the bronze was poured in, it would cause something like a small explosion. Also, the extreme heat “fires” the mold into a harder substance better able to support the heat and weight of the bronze. (Pictures by Howard)


This kiln is made from an old electric clay kiln which Howard refitted to run gas and expanded a bit with extra firebricks. Most of his gear is home built of the highest design and workmanship.


“successful burnout today – extreme wind today helped to disperse the black smoke”



Water, smoke, and fire

Yet not finished, The SPLASH series is designed and awaiting casting. The designs, based on a graphic, necessarily have a two dimensional aspect. I would want to, in another design, more fully describe a three dimensional completeness, which is possible if the design proceeds from a three dimensional source.

I want to capture in sculpture the formless motion of physically elusive elements like Water, Smoke, and Fire. By studying the fluid shapes of these ephemeral forms, I think I can realize the movement and flow apart from the material itself, then, capture those qualities in a material form.

Difficult? Yes. But my mind and intelligence want to do it. If you have a Flying Horse, you don’t use it to plow a field.

Ten coats

More dips,



Ten coats total, including top coat of clear without sand.



The cups with the tops cut off. The paper cup will burn away and the wax behind it will melt out when it is placed in the burn-out kiln, leaving a hollow shell mold into which the bronze will be poured. Eventually, the shell will be broken away, leaving the bronze, one-off. This is the part that has confused many people. I hope it has become clearer now.