Our Sculpture Process

figure armatureWe are proud of our artists and all the pieces they create here at Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt & Amrany. We’d like to share with you a peek behind the curtain on how we create some of our statues.

Sculpture Process

First Stage: Armature and Rough Cubistic Form

Through the use of proportional charts, a basic skeletal armature is created. Pipes are welded together to create the armature. Once the measurements and pose is satisfactory, plywood is secured over the metal frame. A webbing of screws and aluminum wire is formed to serve as a net for the clay to hold onto. The clay is then built up larger than the measurements in order to work reductively. During the reductive process, clay is removed and the gesture of the form is reviewed again. The figure is now in a rough cubistic form.

Second Stage: Sculpture Refinement

At this stage, our artists begin to refine the shape and start to add the folds of the clothing and the shape of the body beneath the clothing. The portrait is sculpted by using reference photos of the head taken from different angles. The sculpture is near completion at this point.

texture applied to figureThird Stage: Sculpture Detail Completion

In Stage 3, details are added such as patches, clothing texture, laces, etc. The portrait is also refined by using a grid system to compare the clay figure with a photo of the person. At this point, many clients may visit the studio to give approval, although some may give their approval via emailed photographs.

Forth Stage: Creating the Mold

After receiving the client’s approval, the mold making process begins. The figure is strategically divided into sections. Four layers of liquid rubber are applied to the figure. When the rubber has cured, the plaster mother mold is created. The mother mold is the plaster piece that holds the rubber liner. Once the plaster is completed, each section of the mold is disassembled and prepped for delivery to the foundry.

Fifth Stage: Bronze Casting

Once the figure arrives at the foundry, a wax cast is created out of each piece of the mold. After each wax is de-molded from the rubber liner, the artist goes to the foundry to revies the product and touch up each wax piece. Once the artist gives their approval, the wax is gated (allows venting for the bronze) and the piece is dipped several times into a ceramic slurry. Once several layers of the ceramic have dried the shell is placed into an oven. In the oven, the ceramic shell hardens and the wax melts out. At this point, the bronze is poured into the ceramic shell. The bronze is allowed to cool and then the shell is sandblasted away, leaving the bronze piece. Each bronze piece is reviewed for approval. When the approval process is completed, the individual pieces are welded together, recreating the entire figure. The artist returns to the foundry to inspect the seams created by the welding process to ensure that the texture is recreated as originally sculpted.

Sixth Stage: Bronze Patina

This is the last stage of the process before delivery. The patina or pigment is applied to the bronze and then the entire sculpture is sealed and waxed.

Check out the gallery below to see the entire process for our Ernie Banks statue.

Ernie Banks Gallery