Bronze casting, using the lost-wax method, has remained the same since it was invented over 4000 years ago during the bronze age; a wax sculpture is modeled, encased in a mould, melted away, and replaced with liquid metal. Very little has been changed or modified. Only in the last century have small refinements been introduced; for instance the invention of synthetic materials means that silicon rubber moulds can be made to produce multiple wax models. Also, the restrictions of tin trading during WWII led to the invention of silicon bronze, a bronze with better flow and other beneficial properties. Even more recently, ceramic shell has been introduced into foundries, an extremely reliable material used for the investment.
In various places around the world, for example in India, the original methods are still used- I have a desire to step-back alongside these artisans, and re-discover how to cast bronze using natural materials. Why? When advancements have been made to improve the process? There are a number of motivations- The harmony of working with the natural world around us, using clay and sand from the earth beneath my feet, the satisfaction of knowing the resulting cast has been held by that which the earth can provide, with no need for processed, chemically bound, synthetic materials. The contrast in the carbon footprint of ordering ceramic shell vs digging up some clay from the river at the bottom of the field... The knowledge that whilst mixing a bucket of earthy clay and plant husks with my bare hands, I am repeating an action carried out literally thousands of years ago.
Romanticism aside, it is a significant investment to purchase all necessary modern foundry materials, heightening the appeal of learning to cast bronze with that which can be sourced around us.
And so.. I am starting this blog so that you may follow my footsteps on a venture to develop an effective method of casting bronze using natural materials.