The Traveller, oil painting by Sean O Dwyer
Wednesday evening I got the chance to work with painter, sculptor and now bronze casting enthusiast Sean O Dwyer as he starts his Bronze on the Boyne project.
My friend Sean is at a well developed stage in bringing this to life. Although a well established artist and teacher, he feels that this project could bring a lot to anyone wanting to learn the skill.
The project brings the participant from making a small clay sculpture into learning how to make a mould, preparing a wax and investing in a unique form of ceramic, into finally casting and finishing the piece in bronze.I tried to capture much of the experience on the phone camera, but a low battery didn't help. However, I got to see parts of how a project like this is done:
- A mould is prepared ready to take the molten bronze
- Pieces of bronze are chosen for melting and are cut down to size
- A furnace is lit (heated with butane) up to approximately 1200 degrees with the crucible holding the bronze inside
- When molten, the bronze is poured into the mould and allowed to set. This can take about 30 minutes
As with his previous casting, Sean is eager to document this process, which meant Niamh and I worked together on videoing the project, which hopefully will make an appearance on his blog soon.
I finally worked out how to Qik from my phone (there you go Damien!) so I conducted a short interview and talk about the project with him:
Speaking as an artisan - istic ignoramus, I found the entire procedure fascinating. The tireless preparation that goes into getting things ready for the pour, the delicate balance between the correct heat and time of pouring, the procedure of getting the molten metal from the furnace to the mould is all so integral that you'd have to wonder how artists created such works in our own Bronze age, lasting nearly 2,000 years from about 2200BC.
More work needs to be done, but the learning is just as interesting. I look forward to being educated more about the process and being involved again. Plus, I like wearing the safety gear ;-)
You'll find Sean online at www.seanodwyer.com and you can read his blog here.