Wildlings Creation

My Wildlings are cast in silicon bronze, using the ‘lost wax’ process. It is a common misconception to think of bronze casting as ‘mass production’. In fact, each sculpture is made by hand from beginning to end and each piece differs from the other. Sculpting the original model waxes, takes me anywhere between 3 to 6 days, with birds being the most time consuming.

A silicon rubber mould is taken from the original. The original model wax then needs to be carefully cut out, deliberately creating jagged edges in the rubber, so the parts will ‘interlock’ well.  A casting wax is then poured into the rubber mould, which when cooled and released usually shows imperfections like partition lines and bubbles. Touching up (chasing) these blemishes is delicate and time consuming, as all the intricate details need to be retained.

The ‘touched up’ waxes then repeatedly get dipped into a liquid clay ‘investment’, which when dry gets fired in a kiln. The investment becomes ceramic and the wax melts out, hence the term ‘lost wax method’.

The molten bronze is then cast into this negative shell. Once the bronze has hardened and cooled off, the ‘investment’ shell is broken away. The sprues are ground off, the piece retouched and then carefully sand-blasted.

The patination process follows next, which involves heating the bronze with a blow torch and applying specific chemicals, repeating the process until a satisfactory colour is achieved.

In the final stages I hand-colour each ‘Wildling’. Studying these creatures and their habitat through books and documentaries has allowed me a growing understanding and insight into their behaviour. Because Australia’s birdlife is spectacularly colourful, I believe that a classic, monochromatic brown patina doesn’t do them justice. Therefore the whole series needs a rich palette. This also gives me the chance to enhance the creature’s individuality.

The next step is to seal off the patina with a lacquer to prevent oxidisation of the bronze. The bronze will gradually darken over the years and with tender caresses develop highlights and give the Wildling a deep, warm glow. Once I’m satisfied with the finish of the Wildlings I engrave them with my signature, which verifies that you have purchased a sculpture made by me.

Each Wildling is limited to an edition of 50.