I have never seen bronze being poured for sculptures before so this was very interesting!
The teachers doing the pour are Jon and Nathan. We were told to keep a decent distance from them for safely reasons as a pour can go wrong with bronze “exploding” or spattering a good distance as it goes into the moulds, hence the reason for all the safety gear.
The little moulds which they are pouring into are made up of a plaster mix that was previously poured into plastic piping. The piping was in two sections and held together by strong tape to allow it to be pulled off the plaster before the bronze pour. Inside the plaster moulds were our sculptures. Mine was made up of a little wax component sitting on a box made of bark with small gum nuts as an addition. The little sculpture was constructed using hot glue.
When the sculpture was ready it was glued to a stand made of foam and a plastic cup with a straw on it to be used as an air line to help prevent an air bubble occurring when the bronze was poured. The sculpture was then placed into the plastic piping and the plaster mix poured in around it. When the mix was air dried for a couple of weeks, the plastic cup was removed and it was placed into a kiln for all the original sculpture to be burned out leaving the moulded shape created by the plaster mix. The process of burning out all the original sculpture was one of over four days in the kiln. They were then then taken out and allowed to slowly cool off in the open air. As you can see by the multiple moulds on the ground, the kiln was stacked up with quite a few works for this pour.
The now empty area left by the sculpture being burned off was ready for the bronze to be poured into. Most of the pouring for our sculptures was done on the one day which was a lot of physical work done by our teachers in addition to their normal teaching and administration duties. (thank you Jon and Nathan)
I am now looking forward to the plaster being broken off the bronze when it is set to reveal my little bronze sculpture all ready for me to tidy up and clean.