View Full Version : foundry experiences?
11-08-2006, 05:12 AM
For those of you who have your work cast at a foundry, what have been some of your worst, or best results? No specific names or places, but I'm curious about your more memorable relationships with people producing your work. If it were possible for you do all the work yourself, would you?
11-08-2006, 09:04 AM
My situation is different from most others in this Forum. But so far nobody else responded.
I had bronze sculpture castings done three times only at one foundry. My problem is that there are no lost wax bronze foundries locally, and I have to fly to a neighboring country to have it done. Emails help as pictures can be sent and feedback sent back quickly.
I had attened some lessons locally on this technique, and this helps with my understand when I arrange to have casting jobs done at a proper foundry. If I have the chance, I still would not do it myself, being old, and lack space. But I wish there are such foundries locally.
11-08-2006, 11:23 AM
I cast a few in college and since there were only 2 guys in the class I was always on one end of the crucible during the pouring, so I have been intimatly involved with every step of the process. It is a lot of hard work with the modeling of the wax being the easiest and most enjoyable. My work was mediocre at best and since the time it took kept me away from my steel constructions I wasn't real happy with it at the time. With the perspective of time I am glad to have had the experience and personally think all who have work cast in bronze or other metals would be better off with some experience in foundry work.
11-08-2006, 02:41 PM
I was the sculpture departments Lab Assistant back in college, which meant that I helped to run the foundry. I have been personally involved with over 30 pours (it's become hard to keep track over time). I know the process quite well and I have had some near catastrophies involving old crucibles and what can best be described as a "Lava Monster". There were other incidents involving the kiln. I had someone running the burnout on a piece I had worked on, and one evening they were bumping up the temperature to 1000 degrees, well the kiln was a bit testy and they weren't aware of this. They were supposed to stay until they saw that the temperature had stabalized. By the time the next person got there to check on it, the temperature had spiked to 1600. (We used investment casting as opposed to ceramic shell) My mold had basically recalcified to something like old brittle chalk. When I went to pull it out of the kiln, one whole side crumbled away. The bronze was already in the furnace and there were no other molds ready to go at that time so we had to pour out all the bronze into the ingot molds and call it a day.
I stopped doing my own foundry work when I ran the numbers and figured that my time was more valuable than the cost of having a foundry do the work. I am still quite hands on with the foundry process. I chase all my wax work and don't let anybody at the foundry put tool marks in my wax. I also do some of the chase work when I feel that the workers aren't quite getting the result I want. And I do some of the patina work, usaully just to show the patinuer what I want. I think if I were to do some direct wax sculpts, maybe anything that could be cast solid, I might do it myself again, but for now, I like using a foundry.
Hi guys, I live in spokane wa. I'm having trouble finding a foundry that will do artists work, I found one person who says they will make me a mould but at present not set up to cast anything. He quoted me for just making the mould(no casting) 400-700 dollars, my piece is a foot tall (a figure) and pretty basic, nothing real intricate, dose this sound about right in price?
Today I found a gentlman in one of the local foundaries who says he has done allot of artists work and would be happy to cast whatever I got, he as well said he would cast using a mould that I made or had made somewhere else, the only thing is he dosent do bronze he dose aluminum.
I am wondering if this might be cheaper in cost then the bronzing?
Dose anybody know if aluminum is a worthy substitute?
I know so very little about this end. never been in a foundry.
02-03-2007, 06:43 PM
Bret - Costs will vary across the country, but for comparison, I have had several molds made the last couple of years, in the range of about $500, but they were of male or female torsos, about 20 inches tall. These were well-made, plaster molds over "rubber" (flexible polymer) negatives. By this scale, your price is a little high.
On the matter of aluminum for figure casts, I don't like it. I cast one or two "abstract" practice pieces in sculpture classes years ago, and the material is OK, but I don't think it has nearly the appeal or value of bronze. And, somebody elsewhere on this forum has said, when you consider all the working costs - mold, casting, finishing and patining - bronze and aluminum are about the same.
02-09-2007, 07:15 AM
My quote on the 11 inch piece below is this:
1) Mold: $514.06 - This includes Sales Tax on materials (State Law)
2) Full Service Cast / Walnut Base - $756.25 )does not include mold)
The shadow base will not be this deep, it will be cut down to less than an inch and mounted on an oval Walnut base.
02-19-2007, 03:56 PM
I'm just breaking into bronzes and outside of the work I did during the foundry class I took in college, I've only made one bronze sculpture with a foundry (hopefully the first of many). It was released a few months ago.
The worst thing about my first foundry experience was the cost to get the first casting out. All that upfront money I had to borrow. Wow, even the ground work in researching, corresponding, choosing, and deciding on a foundry was difficult. I was going to have to drive out of state (or so I thought) but then I located a fine art driven foundry in my area of Los Angeles.
Putting my original clay sculpture into the foundry's hands was a bit tricky. It had just taken me almost a year to sculpt the original, a great horned owl with all the detailed feathers and such. But they assured me they were professionals, and they were just that, they did a beautiful job.
There were a few unforeseen problems as I learned a lot, like making sure the owl was positioned correctly on the habitat. They held the sculpture together while I made the decision, and tac-welded it into place at my direction. I didn't realize until later that it was little off, the next one will be better.
As for doing all the work, noooo way. The not only does the foundry have all that experience, but they have the facility and they have to deal with all that physical labor, the toxic fumes, the expensive materials and the losses (the first marble stone base cracked while still in their hands). Not to mention the responsibility of handling the whole process while making deadlines etc.-it's what they do best, and sculpting is what I do best, I rather spend my time doing just that.
I do have to say though, I much rather do the patina if I could. I went for all the natural coloration of the owl in my patinas and drove the foundry's patina artist crazy. All through the process he was not only rushed (trying to make a deadline for me), but he had me over his shoulder constantly referring to photos and trying to direct him (with his 20 some years of experience). Toward the end of the day, and at his supervisor's permission, I got in there myself and quickly "powered it out". I think I could definitely do the patination if I had the time and equipment, not that he didn't do a fantastic job, I just know the animals better.
Now I'm back in the studio making the next piece, and looking forward to the opportunity to work with the foundry again (orders/ commissions hopefully).
02-20-2007, 10:51 AM
The sculpt looks amazing!!! congratulations on doing such a fine job. I also live in Southern California and I use American Fine Art Foundry in Burbank. They've cast my work for the last four years, and they also do all the casting for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. I've had a lot of luck with them, but I'm curious as to who you used out here.
02-20-2007, 02:23 PM
Thanks for the compliment! We have the same foundry. From what I can tell, American Fine Arts Foundry is the best in the area! The mould cost for my owl was pricey, around 2K, but it was a 21" rather complex sculpture and justified according to the foundry. I've asked for a quote on another sculpture that is half the size of the owl, and their price quotes seem to be climbing.
The foundry said they would use an existing mould as long as it was functional for their process. There's a great deal of texture in my work, and pieces take a long time to make, therefore, I wouldn't want to try and make the mould myself. Since I don't have much investment funds, I'm hoping someone out there knows of a trustworthy mould maker in the Southern Cal area who's capable of producing a quality mould for less...I'd appreciate any leads or advice!
02-20-2007, 04:42 PM
It does seem that their mold prices are getting a bit higher. Your work seems far more complex than mine, but I have a good relationship with Angel. He and I share the same heritage, we are both Salvadorian. I think that this has helped to keep some of my quotes a bit lower. I am capable of doing my own molds, I just don't like the proccess. I have left my molds in the capable hands of Nick. I was refered to someone in L.A. who did mold and wax work (no casting) but I looked for their card and can't seem to find it. I remember him telling me that he used to be the lead patinuer at American, but he left to persue his own business. He told me he would give me a better qoute than they did and use fiber glass for the mother mold. I've looked and looked but can't find his card. Sorry.
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