Bronze is a general term covering a variety of copper-based metal alloys and has been the choice of craftsmen around the world for centuries. The UKAA Bronze range captures the precise definition of its original sculptures using the traditional "lost wax" technique to capture the timeless appeal of both classic and modern art.
Using the ancient lost wax casting process allows the artist to maintain the integrity of their work and to reproduce an exact sculpture of the highest quality.
P R O C E S S
Historically, the original sculpture was created in wet clay, which when dry became the master.
All subsequent waxes were taken from this master, enabling a negative mould to be produced.
Thanks to advances in technology, the modern way to produce a wax from the original is to first produce a latex mould, and from this a wax image. The great advantage of this technique is that you can determine the thickness of the wax and hence that of the finished bronze. This is particularly important when determining the weight of a large piece. After hand finishing, the wax is covered in a fine ceramic emulsion to form a shell, further applications of a very strong ceramic plaster are then added to form a final rigid mould. Once “safe” the mould is heated in a kiln to approximately 1100 degrees F, thereby melting the wax and driving off all moisture. This leaves a cavity in which the molten bronze can be poured.
Hence the term “lost wax” casting.
P A T I N A
Patination is the enhancement of bronze by the application of chemicals to produce different colour finishes. The closely guarded secret of acids and chemicals used in the workshops produces some of the finest and most spectacular finishes to be seen on bronze today.
H E L P F U L T I P S
Indoors – bronze ages slowly and only needs an occasional dusting with a cloth or brush, with an application of wax polish periodically.
Outdoors - for water features and statues kept outside, more attention is required, depending on situation. Clean debris with a brush and soapy water; NEVER use strong chemicals, solvents or abrasives, as this will certainly affect the finish. Once clean, allow to air dry then apply a coat or two of wax polish with a boot brush. When using cleaning agents, always be aware of effects on plants and aquatic life.
R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S
Furniture wax produces good results. However, our preference is Kiwi shoe polish (dark brown for the darker patination – not tan as this can create a red hue - and clear for the green/blue colours).With outdoor features, any debris or ceramic deposits caught in the more complex areas of your sculpture can be teased out with a soft lead pencil. Apply wax generously, working into features and folds. When dry, buff thoroughly with a brush or cloth. Water features may benefit from a second application and more frequent attention, especially in hard-water conditions.
M A I N T E N A N C E
If left without any protection bronze, like most metals, will oxidize with time. It may darken, turn green or show streaks of yellow/white depending on the climatic environment. Although many people like the look of aged bronze; you may wish to keep your statue as near to its original look as possible.
Occasionally, small deposits of white ceramic may ‘bleed’ out of the bronze; this is natural and will stop in time. These deposits are easily cleaned away following the tips above.