by Jan Hass
One of my favorite days in Germany was visiting the foundry where some of our bronze pieces are made. It was amazing to witness the process from the pressing of the molds into the sand to the final touches when the metalworkers sand and polish the pieces into their final artistic state. It takes three years of apprenticeship to learn the trade.
Once an artist renders a new image to be made into bronze, a clay casting of the piece is made and will be used in the process of creating the bronze piece. Sand is hammered into a frame with the clay mold inside. The clay mold is then taken out, leaving a hollow. Narrow pathways are dug into the sand, connecting the hollows so the molten bronze can be poured into place.
After cooling, each piece is tumbled to remove excess bronze, especially the places where each piece is connected to the pathway where the hot bronze flows. Metal craftsmen and women sand each piece and then polish it, leaving light and darker spaces, encouraging the light to shine differently on certain areas of each design.
It is a well-oiled machine, as this bronze casting technique has been passed down through generations. When you hold one of our bronze art pieces in your hands, know that over a dozen people have been part of its creation. Someday, when you pass this artwork along to your family members, you can share the story and the energy of the people who helped create each heirloom piece of bronze art.
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Jan Haas is a self-care coach, author and artist. She enjoys walking with others, sharing tools to help them illuminate their brilliant selves.