Sculpture Creation

Process of making the “Drewdanze” sculpture.

The model, Andrew Hill, could only hold this pose for about 5 seconds, so it took some creative work between the two of us to get this accomplished.

This is the start of the 1/3 life-sized clay sculpture. I had to deconstruct some of my work in order to sculpt the head, torso and pelvis separately.

I was having difficulty getting my head around this extreme pose and this elemental approach was helpful. Once I had the primary structural elements in place I could add the muscles. This shows the abs attaching to the pelvis and the rib cage. I needed the individual ribs defined in order to get the abs in the right place.

I put the sculpture in the normal head position to make sculpting the head and face easier.

I put the sculpture back in the correct position to finish sculpting.

A coil of rope was sculpted at the base for support.

I learned that my plan for the base was not structurally sound. So, I had to come up with some way to mount this sculpture.

Andrew standing by the sculpture on his final day of posing.

Since I wanted a freestanding sculpture, I had to provide at least two points of support. I made the rope into a loop to accomplish this. I also liked the design of the loop.

Creating the rope loop support meant that I had to make the sculpture as light as possible, hence the choice of aluminum. This piece would not have been possible in bronze, because bronze is three times as heavy as aluminum.

The finished clay sculpture!
It took about three months to complete the clay sculpture, but there was still another three months of work by multiple artisans to get to the finished product.

The molding process.

The clay sculpture is covered with multiple layers of silicone rubber. The first is so thin that it can pick up a fingerprint. Shims were added to create two halves of the mold. The total thickness of rubber is about 1/8”.

The plaster jacket holds the rubber in place.

Creating the wax positive.
A thin first layer of wax was painted into the mold and then the mold put together. The subsequent layers of wax were poured into the mold, building up a thicker wall of wax with each layer.

Here is the wax replica after being removed from the mold. The multiple layers of wax create a hollow piece with the walls about 1/8” thick. The wax sprues were removed and mold seams cleaned up. The sprues were necessary to allow the hot wax to flow freely throughout the entire mold.

The wax replica gets dipped into a ceramic slurry mixture and sand is sifted on to this wet surface. About eight layers of this mixture are needed to create the ceramic mold. (This is an example of the process, not my sculpture being dipped.) The ceramic molds, with the wax inside, are shown hanging to completely dry out.

Ceramic molds are placed in a furnace and the wax melted out. This is the “lost wax” process. Molten metal is poured into the ceramic molds right after they are removed from the furnace.

These are the aluminum pieces of the Drewdanze sculpture after being poured, but before being welded back together.

This is the reassembled sculpture in raw aluminum. The bottom section of rope and the base was fabricated out of steel and aluminum. Patina was applied, which adds color and gives the piece a bronze appearance.

The finished sculpture!