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Mold Making and Casting

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The use of a foundry and casting metal has been used in the art world for centuries. The Romans, Egyptians, Americans, etc. have all used this process of making a mold and creating sculptors, along with other forms of art.  Although there are a few common types of metal used for this, there is a wide variety in which to choose from.  A place that specializes in this process is called a foundry and casting things for art is something they do a lot.  When most people think of art, they think of either a painting, or a sculptor made from marble, they rarely think of pieces constructed of metal. 

Cast iron is a favorite because of its durability.  There are other characteristics of this metal that people love as well, such as the fact that it has a low melting point, it won’t be altered or deformed easily, and its water proof.  This makes it a very sought after material for everyone, not just artists.  For a person considering a large sculptor, this would be perfect because of the harsh weather conditions that it will face.  Knowing that the piece will withstand the forces of nature is a comforting thought.    When using a foundry and casting metal for a sculpture, the artist wants to make sure it will be around forever, or as close to that as possible. 

By far, the most popular metal used by an artist is bronze.  Bronze can be seen all over the world and has been used since the very beginning.  It is strong, durable, and the color is just fascinating.  This is also desired among artists because it has a tendency to expand a little bit before it settles.  This means that, while inside the mold, it will expand and get into every little corner.  This allows for even the tiniest detail to come to light so the viewers can see everything. 

As mentioned above, using a foundry and casting metal is nothing new.  Even thousands of years ago people did this to create their wonderful bronze sculptures.  A foundry could be found in many people’s back yards.  The most utilized method of this process was called the “Lost Wax” process. 

This process begins with the artist making a model of what they have in mind using clay, wax, or whatever material they desire.  A mold of the model is then made so an exact duplicate can be created.  This mold can be made of plaster or even fiberglass.  Next, wax is poured inside so that there is a wall of coating.  Then the wax is removed, but could be used for making more copies in the future.  The piece will then have special pathways created to that the melted down metal can quickly fill the mold.  After it has been sprued, and the metal has been cooled off again, the extra pieces around it that made it possible to be filled up need to be taken off carefully. 

Using a foundry and casting metal in order to create a work of art is something that has been done for thousands of years.  It doesn’t look like it is going to end anytime soon either.   


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