Wednesday, 8 June 2011
I spent this morning at Castle Fine Art foundry in Nailsworth. This is where most of my bronze is cast, and the picture here is of myself putting a few final touches to the metalwork on a piece called L'homme de Chene. This piece of a curled and seated man was originally sculpted in acorn cups that my sister Sarah collected for me from a tree in France - hence the title. A mould was then taken and a bronze edition started.
Each bronze requires quite a bit of involvement from me even after the original has been delivered to the foundry. I travel up to check at the wax, metal and then patina stage. In fact, this process is one of the pleasures of my work. What this picture doesn't show is the many craftspeople who got the bronze to this stage - each of them so skilled and patient - so that I can check it and add some finishing touches. It's working with them that makes each trip to the foundry so satisfying, as well, to be honest, as a welcome change from the solitude of the studio. I often wish, as people stare at a price on a bronze in the gallery, that they could see the hours and hours of work that goes into each one by these craftspeople, and the hours and hours of training and experience that took place even before that to make the work possible.
So there is that pleasure - of the people and the timelessness of the craftsmanship. But there is also a pleasure just in the bronze for its own sake. So heavy, so durable. A material that humans have worked for millennia. Transforming the impermanent - wax or acorns - into the permanent.